Creative advertising is best defined by the sales it helps you achieve. And no-one outlined the merits of creative advertising better than David Ogilvy.
In his book "Ogilvy on Advertising." One of the most referenced books on advertising of all time. David makes the observation.
"Do you want glowing things that can be framed by copywriters? Or do you want to see the goddamned sales curve stop moving down and start moving up?" ~ DO
How creative your advertising is or is not is best defined by how effective it is in driving new sales, customers and or revenue.
It is also the question he asked of himself and his clients for most of his career. And in 2020 this issue is just as relevant today, as it has always been. The most creative advertising is advertising that results in sales.
Because as he also references "if an ad does not sell, it is not creative."
A reasonably simple principle but overlooked by a lot of agencies. A creative ad is no longer subjective, as we can measure its effectiveness to the bottom line. And an ad that grabs your attention, and moves you from your couch to make a purchase is most definitely a creative ad.
Let's be honest, when we are searching or scrolling, we often do not have a bias for action, but rather entertainment. Sure there is a small percentage every day that is ready to buy, but the rest of us are merely window shopping.
So an ad that moves us from this state to take action is undoubtedly creativity in its most elegant form. And when advertising campaigns have this effect, they are worth every cent.
Social media has changed many of the fundamentals of advertising. Social media advertising is providing a level of clarity on attribution and performance not previously possible.
We now have ad performance scores coming from platforms like Facebook or Google. Scores are telling us how our audience is responding to our campaigns in real-time.
Pixels on all of the platforms are tracking conversions on our websites. So we know the real-time the effect of our spend, and we are now even able to capture the long-term impact this way as well.
Or rather, what is the lifetime value of the client we acquire via different channels.
Automation in some of the platforms is allowing us to stop ineffective ads when they strike an individual metric.
Saving our client's advertising spend on non-performing assets in real-time. Imagine being able to stop a television ad automatically when the majority of consumers started to change channels when they saw it?
This is what is possible with digital advertising. You can even see what hours we are likely to see conversions increase.
We can test different advertising ideas and ad campaigns without significant expenditure. Unlike print ads of the past, we can withdraw ad campaigns easily and test again.
For any brand wanting to be successful in 2020 and beyond, the only thing that matters is attribution.
What are we spending and what is the return? Data now determines how creative your advertising is.
The consumer's attention has shifted to social platforms and how they consume advertising has also changed.
Depending on the format of the ad, you have anywhere between 1 to 8 seconds to gain their attention and influence them. And wouldn't you like to know if you are achieving success on this basis?
Creative advertising has moved from subjectivity to data-centric attribution.
And if you want to compete in today's market, it is critical you not only understand the shift but master the skills required to win.
Disruption comes in all types of forms. If your competitors know social media platforms better than you? Expect to be disrupted.
Even if their product is inferior to yours.
It is often a sad reality that not always the best product and or company wins. It is often the company that knows how to spread their message more effectively and turn this into revenue. When they double down on this strategy they accelerate both their revenue and market lead.
As an example did you know that Oreo was not the original biscuit? A biscuit called Hydrox was. I guess with a name like that they were always going to do it a little tougher, but they had a 4-year head start on Oreo, which was inspired by the Hydrox biscuit.
But none the less Oreo become the market leader in the US, then China, and finally India, dominating the three largest consumer markets in the world.
Their ability to use creative advertising to drive sales has been part of their DNA since 1912. They know how to be part of the conversation.
Because if you are not part of the conversion in 2020, you can not be part of purchase consideration.
At its most basic principle, creative advertising is ensuring the action you want the consumer to take, is taken.
Using the tools we have available as marketers in 2020 makes our job collectively a lot easier. Not using them, sets us up for failure. And in a world that is moving so fast, failure is not an attractive option.
After all, as David said, the most creative advertising is the advertising that moves the "sales needle up." And if your advertising is not doing this, it is time to change your advertising.