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Making the Case For Creativity in a Cookie Cutter World

In a crowded, monotonous media landscape, only true originality makes a splash.

You might associate creativity with a black and white arthouse film or a pile of dirty laundry that elite critics have identified as “modern art.” But before you turn your nose up at the current state of hifalutin artistic expression (or buy into the craze and purchase a highly-priced photorealistic portrait of Samuel L. Jackson), may we propose an alternative?

Perhaps creativity is actually a much more, dare we say — pedestrian concept. According to James Hurman, creativity boils down to originality, engagement and execution. The simple act of solving a problem can constitute a creative act. The same goes for the acts of evoking an emotion, constructing a compelling narrative or putting a new spin on traditional storytelling.

Great filmmaking, of course, hinges on those three elements. The best films tell original stories that inspire engagement, understanding and action.

The Hook: Originality

Originality is what initially sets your film apart from the crowd. There is so much noise in modern communication — literally and figuratively — that you have to look, feel and sound a little different to get noticed. Combine familiar elements in an unexpected, innovative way to capture the attentions of your target audience.

The Impact: Engagement

Once you’ve hooked your viewer, a strong narrative arc will keep them engaged — even if the film is about something as mundane as changes in internal compliance policy.

The best storytellers know that delivery is more important than content. A creative narrative is inherently memorable, and will be key to garnering shares and compelling viewers to take action. Hurman notes that advertising campaigns that had received rewards for creativity were also 11 times more effective at increasing market share than those that hadn’t won.

The Clincher: Execution

Now it’s time for the most important part: the execution. Even if you excelled at the first two phases, all of your hard work will be undone if you fall flat on execution. Bring your originality in sync with a compelling storyline, constructing a strong, engaging film that will stick in viewers’ minds.

Creativity and Marketing

Even in today’s hyper-saturated digital media environment, a creative campaign can still cut through the white noise and make a lasting impression on your target audience. Consumers are swayed by an impactful campaign as much as they are by the benefits of the product itself — a creative ad for a fidget spinner can stick out just as much as an ad for something you actually need. Of course, the more personally impactful the product, the greater the attention paid. But for the most part, marketing messages are measured by the same yardstick.

Advertising and communications professionals understand this truth. In his foreword to The Case For Creativity, Keith Weed, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer at Unilever, is clear about the importance of experimentation: “Leading brands and agencies have known for years that more creative work delivers better results than ‘safe’ and rational advertising. What has been exciting in more recent times is the emerging proof of this.”

Stephan Vogel, Chief Creative Officer for Ogilvy & Mather Germany, plainly agrees: “Creative advertising is more memorable, works with less media spending and builds a fan community faster.”

It’s pretty simple: in a world full of the same old static, do your company and your audience a favor by striving for a fresh take.


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