That word, “creative.” How often is it used, misused and abused in the world of marketing? Too often, according to Tom Denari of the Young and Laramore Advertising Agency. Over time, the word creative has lost its gloss as agencies everywhere attach the creative label to all sorts of work, some undisciplined, some un-thoughtful and some that have no business being pitched as creative at all. As such, Denari says he now hates the word though not the people who are truly creative.
Back in a simpler time, Denari recalls the word creative being a somewhat backhanded compliment, referring to work that was not “strategic,” another of his pet peeve words. Then all of a sudden, “creative” was the euphemism for edgy, artistic spots that were more likely to win awards than sell products. Now, if the ad world were willing to discard the word “creative,” they would quickly progress to real world discussions on “engagement and effectiveness.” He would prefer to see agencies going for a surprising message that is relevant, believable and is consistent with the brand’s voice.
Others agree with Denari’s point of view. It’s possible to be creative and win awards but not connect with the customer. And when all is said and done, advertising really needs to work for the customer rather than advertising industry insiders. As for Denari’s own agency with clients ranging from Angie’s List to Proctor and Gamble, to Red Gold Tomatoes, Red Wing Shoes and the YMCA, the wheels of creativity are still turning. One particularly interesting angle was used for Delta Faucets where he presented the arguments for the new faucet designs from various points of views. A disgruntled loofah worries, a toothbrush observes and a plantain ponders the meaning of the new faucet designs. Well, maybe it’s not so much that they’re creative than they’re relevant and consistent?