Creativity is irrelevant at best – and, at its worst, it gets in the way of everything. Today, all you really need is a good product, then you just tell people the facts and use brilliant targeting.
Not if you ask Lucy Jameson, Co-Founder of creative studio Uncommon London. A fellow marketer (performance marketing) once confronted her with the view – and during ITV Showcase she was determined to disprove it.
So, how did Lucy do it?
First, she shared findings by marketing consultant Peter Field. Analysing thousands of advertising case studies from the IPA Databank, he found that creatively awarded campaigns deliver 11 times more share growth than campaigns that hadn’t been creatively awarded.
"At its best, creativity can do this brilliant thing of locking brands into people’s brains."
For Lucy, creativity goes way beyond a ‘nice to have’. She referenced James Herman’s book, The Case for Creativity, which even cites a correlation between creativity and share prices. Within the book, he found that companies awarded Advertiser of the Year or Creative Marketer of the Year outperformed within the US stock exchange index by a factor of 3.5.
And for Lucy, there are three key ways for brands to achieve this.
“Our minds; our emotions, can actually change reality,” she says. “I think the reason they can do that is because in effect, we are not very rational people.” With only 10% of our cognitive activity attributed to rationality and logic, the remaining 90% is the emotional subconscious – and creativity, she says, is what speaks to the emotional part of our minds.
She used her own experience running blind brand taste tests to explain her point. Often, respondents would vote brands they had an emotional connection with more highly on taste than when they tried exactly the same brand unknowingly. Feelings and emotions are so powerful that they can literally change how our minds perceive brands.
“Fame is like emotion on steroids,” she says. Heightened emotion can also lead to fame, which helps brands to be remembered – and loved – for generations. “I think what’s interesting about it is that fame creates bandwagon effects too,” she says. As “pack animals”, she believes we’ve evolved to save time and ultimately copy others when it comes to picking favourite brands.
One way to create fame, she says, is to respond to something that is being debated within popular culture. And so, she referenced OVO Energy’s dramatic It’s Time To Power Your Life advert, which was released following U.S. President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. She said the campaign’s results were sudden and dramatic, with web hits rocketing as soon as it aired. It worked, as energy switches increased by 43% and the company attributed a 10% sales uplift to the campaign.
In today’s “sea of sameness”, it’s never been more important to stand out. We have reached “peak stuff” and people now spend money to block the very content they spend their lives creating. “If you can get your brand to look different and disruptive, it will grow,” she says.
She used the following example of Brewdog’s TV advertising campaign, which simply displayed the word ‘advert’ alongside a photo of the product. The entire campaign including both creative and media, which included a 30-second TV spot and Out of Home advertising, cost around £400,000. “It shows that you can do something super disruptive, really cheaply,” she says. Context is also key, and Lucy attributes some of the ad’s success towards the fact it was placed centre-stage in a popular TV slot rather than being displayed purely on social feeds.
The best campaigns rely on more than just stats
Creativity outperforms non-creative advertising
Creativity helps brands to be remembered
The best ways to ensure your brand is remembered is to strive for emotion, fame, and difference
10% Cognitive activity attributed to rationality and logic
90% Cognitive activity linked to emotional subconscious
Times more share growth for creatively awarded campaigns
3.5 Times better performance in US stock exchange for creatively awarded campaigns
Sales uplift from OVO Energy advert which utilised fame
£400k The cost of Brewdog’s recent advertising TV and Out of Home creative campaign