What Creativity means in Advertising


N. Priya
Senior Lecturer
M. Revaty Vishal
Asst. Professor
MBA Department
Shirdi Sai Engg. College


Have you heard a quote somewhere that said, "We do not separate advertising from life."

Creativity is a very subjective term. Who can really say what is creative, for we all have different opinions on what we individually think is creative. Some people believe creativity is an engrained concept that you are born with it. Other people believe it is a talent that can be learned and taught. We personally believe it is a little of both. The essential elements of creativity are really imagination and inventiveness disciplined by routine skills. Your imagination is something you are born with, it can be large and wild or it can be small and constrained. Inventiveness is something that can be disciplined, it can be taught and learned with practice and skill. Put those two concepts together and anything is possible.

In advertising, agencies live and die by creative communications. Creativity is one of the reasons clients justify advertising and their choice of agencies So what exactly is creative in advertising? Some creative commercials are effective, some effective ads are creative, and other ads are neither creative nor effective. Creativity and effectiveness ultimately join in the consumer's minds rather than remain separate. We must then ask, what is efficiency? Well, efficiency of an ad is determined by the correct combination of its impact and retention. Impact being the ability of an ad to attract attention and retention being the ability of an ad to stay on viewers' minds. We can thus say with certainty that an advertisement needs to be creative to succeed. Its creativity needs to be effective in both its impact and retention. I found the quote at the beginning of the page and thought it was just great. Although creativity in advertising is an important factor, one must remember to not be creative just for creative sake. The creativity must also be effective. Successful creative strategies result from pinpointing an idea, a nuance, an insight, or a nugget of information gleaned from research or sometime from an intuitive understanding or quickness of human nature. The true role of the strategy is to make that intuitive leap which defines the relationship between the brand and its user.


Creativity versus Innovation

As this is an advertising study on the subject of "Creativity" it is only right there should be some advertising efforts to create greater understanding on behalf of the subject "Creativity" itself. For many the word 'creativity' has what may be called a touchy –feely nature to it, not really suitable for the hard world of business. Yet, mention the word 'innovation' and suddenly the act of creating new ideas takes on a more credible resonance in certain quarters, such as the business media and various government-backed development agencies.

Professor Simon Majaro of Cranfield School of Management defines innovation in this manner in his book Managing Ideas for Profit (Majaro, 1992): 'Creativity is the thinking process that helps us generate ideas. Innovation is the practical application of such ideas towards meeting the organization's objectives in a more effective way.' But this means all ideas are creative. In reality, many ideas will be rejected. Using the working definition of creativity, it would recognize that, to be 'creative', the idea must offer some form of added value.

Innovation can instead be defined as the 'adoption, adaptation, or implementation by a third party of someone's creativity (ie an added value product)'. When appraising a painting, one does not say: 'artist is being innovative.' Should another artist adopt some element of this work , such as its style, subject matter, materials or techniques used, then the original work can be said to be innovative; it has inspired the application of some creative element of the original work by a third party. Thus, creative thinking in a disciplined manner can play a real role in innovation. "Creativity and innovation are normally complementary activities, since creativity generates the basis of innovation, which, in its development, raises difficulties that must be solved once again; with creativity…It is not possible to conceive innovation without creative ideas, as these are the starting point." (European Commission 1998).Innovation results when creativity occurs within the right organizational culture. The right organizational culture is one that provides through creativity processes (creative techniques) the possibilities for the development of personal and group creativity skills. We can define creativity IMT as the establishment of skills by implementing creativity generation techniques.


Creative Thinking Skills Can Be Learned!!

What can I do to Increase my creativity??

The first task in becoming more creative is giving you permission to do things creatively. The second is overcoming your personal blocks to creativity. For some people, being creative involves trying not to be embarrassed by their own ideas; for others, it is a matter of being aware that things can be done in many different ways. Some people are self-aware or confident enough to have fewer inhibitions and can just let their creative natures work. Surround yourself with people who love and support you and you will be even more creative. Spend time meditating on your own worthiness, reading about other creative people and creative solutions, concentrating on the positive power of your own creative forces - these activities, combined with a belief in your own intuition and creative abilities, will help improve your confidence.

Action Steps

Here are a few additional things you can do to improve your creativity:

  • Study books on creative thinking techniques and put them into practice
  • Attend courses on creative thinking and put the ideas into practice.  Keep a daily journal and record your thoughts, ideas, sketches, etc. as soon as you get them. Review your journal regularly and see what ideas can be developed.
  • Indulge in relaxation activities and sports to give the mind a rest and time for the subconscious to digest information.
  • Develop an interest in a variety of different things, preferably well away from your normal sphere of work. For example, read comic books or magazines you wouldn't normally get. This keeps the brain busy with new things. It is a common trait of creative people that they are interested in a wide variety of subjects.
  • Don't work too hard -you need time away from a problem to be creative after periods of intense focus. It really helps to think of creativity as a skill or set of skills. By practicing, one can get better at using them. So whenever you have a chance try and do mundane things in novel ways - it will make them more entertaining and you will get more used to expressing your abilities.

Practicing at overcoming irrational inhibitions will also help to improve your creativity. When you're at a standstill, and you witness somebody with a vital and flowing creative force, it can be intimidating. The thing that's easy to miss when you're caught up in the magic of somebody doing something effortlessly that seems impossible is that it doesn't happen all at once. Anything can be achieved by breaking it down into its component parts. Creativity requires patience and a willingness to work for a creative outcome rather than simply wait for enlightenment. Still, it is important to creativity to happen. This can be encouraged by setting up an environment that encourages creative output, a comfortable space within which you feel non-threatened and able to create.

A program to improve your personal creativity might include the following steps.

First set a measurable goal.  Some goals might be: to generate 10% more solutions within 6 months to come up with  an original solution for problem "X" within 2 weeks to practice generating ideas bybrainstorming (for example, "find at least 100 ideas for a new pen")  to find a new and effective way to relate to my children that results in them wanting to spend more time with me.

Second, set up criteria to indicate whether or not you have or are reaching your goal. Typical criteria are:

      a) the ideas are novel (in that particular context)

      b) the ideas are useful, they solve the problem or meet the challenge

      c) the ideas can be implemented within an appropriate time and budget

    Third, read and learn about creativity techniques which are one of the sections of the Creativity Web. This information can be gathered from books, conferences, other people, software products and the Internet. Spend time with people who you believe are  creative and ask them how they did it. There are many paths to creativity. 

    Fourth, surround yourself with people who love and respect you; people who encourage you to take risks.

    Fifth, celebrate your progress in reaching your creativity goals.

    Finally, begin thinking of yourself as a creative person. Surround that identity with beliefs about your creative abilities. Learn the skills of creativity, act creatively every opportunity you get and find environments that support creative behavior.

Creativity is increased by acknowledging that it exists and by nurturing it. Create a sensory stimulating environment, increase awareness of that environment and provide sufficient quiet time to allow that ensory stimulation to be translated into external reality ... a poem, a bridge, a meal, a song, a quilt, a business report, a game, a dance, a garden.

Flood yourself with information in your chosen area of creativity then deliberately expose yourself to information outside your area. Respect and care for your creativity as you would a child. Attend to your needs, listen to your creative inner voice, and spend time with yourself. Manage stress in your life as much as possible.

Practice meditation or some kind of peaceful, relaxing activity such as handwork or quiet exercise. Avoid becoming too entrenched in your routines. Don't allow your beliefs to distort your perceptions. A useful technique is to deliberately and consciously attempt to integrate opposites at every opportunity within your own mind. Develop the attitude that your creative work is important even if others do not share your belief; allow such judgmental attitudes to be their problem, not yours. Practice using affirmations and reframing (seeing things from another angle or in another context) to de-program your self critical habits.


Creativity is not a gift of some sort, it is a state of being ("un etat d'ame", as they say in French). Learning a creativity- increasing technique of some sort will give you some tools and help you, but will not automatically change your point of view about yourself and your creativity; your belief and value systems about creativity and creativity myths must change as well.

Reference Books

    • Creative Advertising    Mario Pricken
    • Ogilvy in Advertising   David Ogilvy

Search Engines

    • www.google.com
    • www.angencyfaqs.com

N. Priya
Senior Lecturer
M. Revaty Vishal
Asst. Professor
MBA Department
Shirdi Sai Engg. College

Source: E-mail August 27, 2010


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