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Don't be afraid of cre­ativ­ity

The Australian - The Deal - - News - An­drew Bax­ter An­drew Bax­ter is CEO of Publi­cis Aus­tralia @an­drew­bax­ter3

Cre­ativ­ity is an emo­tional force the great mar­keters have al­ways known how to use. This month’s Cannes Ad­ver­tis­ing Fes­ti­val is a show­case of that. But it’s a sub­jec­tive area, not un­der­stood by many se­nior lead­ers and board mem­bers, who want more sci­ence and more cer­tainty.

Yet ev­ery day, those same se­nior lead­ers and board mem­bers, as con­sumers, re­act emo­tion­ally to the cre­ativ­ity they see. Cre­ative work, as a means of mar­ket­ing, per­suades them to buy one prod­uct or ser­vice over an­other. And that’s be­cause 95 per cent of pur­chas­ing de­ci­sions are made not ra­tio­nally but from our un­con­scious minds and our in­tu­ition. Daniel Kah­ne­man, the psy­chol­o­gist who won a Nobel Prize for his work in be­havioural eco­nom­ics, says that your in­tu­itive sys­tem “is more in­flu­en­tial than your ex­pe­ri­ence tells you, and is the secret au­thor of many of the choices and judg­ments you make”.

The up­com­ing an­nual Ad­ver­tis­ing Ef­fec­tive­ness Awards, known as the “Effies”, are the other awards most cov­eted by mar­keters, the ul­ti­mate proof that a cam­paign has worked. The list of Aus­tralian win­ners has you nod­ding know­ingly: the NAB “Break Up” cam­paign, Tourism Vic­to­ria’s long-run­ning “You’ll love ev­ery piece of Vic­to­ria”, “Share a Coke”, AAMI’s “Rhonda and Ke­tut”, the Aus­tralia Day lamb cam­paigns with Sam Kekovich, Tourism Queens­land’s “Best Job in the World”, and Bond’s “Boobs”.

These fa­mous Aus­tralian cre­ative cam­paigns worked, de­liv­er­ing big sales and ROIs. In a study by the UK ad­ver­tis­ing in­dus­try body the IPA, fame cam­paigns and emo­tional cam­paigns were the two types that drove the most ef­fec­tive re­sults. Some 72 per cent of cam­paigns deemed fa­mous and 68 per cent of emo­tional cam­paigns were ef­fec­tive, against 59 per cent of ra­tio­nal cam­paigns.

Yet for the past decade, the short-term out­look of many se­nior lead­ers, has led to ra­tio­nal and con­ser­va­tive strate­gies that have re­sulted in in­cre­men­tal ROI at best, and not the long-term, size­able growth that can be gained from fa­mous and emo­tional cam­paigns. There is cer­tainly an ap­petite in many com­pa­nies to tap into the power of cre­ativ­ity to drive growth. The ev­i­dence of those who have al­ready done so is there to see. For the oth­ers, the quicker they over­come their fears about cre­ativ­ity and their mind­set of short-term in­cre­men­tal­ism, the quicker they will un­lock the re­wards of cre­ativ­ity in their busi­ness.

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