Tom O’Keefe, Executive Creative Director, North America at Draft FCB has a simple enough answer for creativity in the context of advertising.
How do you define creativity in advertising? We define it as “simple enough” — the art of being simple enough to be understood, complex enough to be interesting.”
What does this mean for you? It means that we have to remember this is not just art for art’s sake, but art with a purpose – to compel and sell somebody. We have to be cognizant that our audience isn’t seeking our message or particularly interested in it – so we have to be respectful of their time (and that attention span) and still reward them with something provocative, entertaining…maybe even make their day a little better. I believe the best ideas are always the simplest in any expression, but especially in advertising. The simplest ideas are fearless in what they stand for, what they are saying and in their lack of pretense. “Here’s my idea… I hope you like it because there’s nothing else here to hide behind.”
There’s a boldness and a confidence in simplicity. We often cite Hemingway’s six-word story as inspiration. As the story goes, he was once challenged to write a story in six words and responded with “For Sale. Babies Shoes. Never Worn.” All the emotion, tension and story arc with a beginning, middle and end in six words. We believe that advertising should subscribe to that same impactful brevity.
What recent work to you admire? The work that really caught my attention lately is the Will Farrell Old Milwaukee stuff. Basically, it’s an ad campaign that parodies advertising in a way that makes it feel nothing like advertising as we know it. If I had to give it a handle, I’d call it “Pirate Advertising” … and it’s brilliant in its naiveté. Will Farrell knows nothing about advertising, but knows enough to make a viral campaign that a young target can’t get enough of — and I believe will sell a hell of a lot of beer. It also speaks to the power of brand, when somebody like a Will Farrell puts his brand on the line for the ultimate test and elevates a tired, old brand like Old Milwaukee to pop culture relevance almost overnight.