Anjali Ramchandran, Head of Innovation at PHD Media believes advertising is about being useful, entertaining, educational or a means of connecting people.
How do you define creativity in advertising ? I think creativity in advertising is doing something interesting that speaks to one of what I have come to believe are the four brand pillars of communication (props to PHD and John Willshire who were the originators of this): being useful, entertaining, educational or being a means of connecting people.
What does this mean for you? It means making people participants in experiences that add to their lives in some way. I think brands are learning this lesson pretty quickly (versus the old media model that is now pretty much dead and gone) because they have to. The web has levelled the playing field and made everyone a content creator – there are 1.2 billion social media owners today, i.e all of us – and so from a small designer in interior USA that gets their idea funded via Kickstarter to a charity that is leveraging a partnership with an innovation consultancy, good ideas can truly come from anywhere.
Creativity is also about cross-pollination of ideas; Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy, the founder of the Aravind Eye Hospital in India, built a huge successful healthcare group over the last 35 years (and running) that largely performed operations on the poor for free, but the origin of that idea was his desire to build ‘a McDonald’s for healthcare’.
I spend less of my time looking at what marketing and advertising agencies are doing and more on paying attention to start-ups, design consultancies and social innovators, because very often they work within constraints that forces them to think differently. If you have a multi-million dollar budget, you’re not always going to make your work a do-or-die thing. I’m not saying it’s impossible – far from it – but I think there are lessons the ad industry can definitely learn.
It’s a great place to be at the moment though because there are so many opportunities. If you’re really creative, you don’t have too many pillars to hide behind – the chances are that there will be ways to get your ideas made. Translating creativity into a form that convinces clients it is the right thing to do for them – that’s more difficult.