Affects of Creativity in Advertising 1 Can Creative Marketing take it Too Far? Affects of Creativity in Advertising Olivia Dames University of Mississippi Dr. Alice Myatt November 7, 2014 Affects of Creativity in Advertising 2 Abstract Companies use advertising to increase sales and introduce new ideas. While marketing these ideas, companies often try to use originality to stand out from their competitors. The affects of creative advertising on a companies marketing campaign are either extremely successful or absolute failures. Companies often struggle with coming up with a fresh idea. They must keep in mind that their advertisements must come across to their audience in the same way the company wants to portray their product. After analyzing textual information, including academic journals and video, it is clear that there is a fine line between successful and unsuccessful creative advertising. Marketing campaigns that show success usually use methods that attach to the emotions of the audience. On the other hand, unsuccessful advertisements are normally too over the top for audiences to understand and therefore are overlooked. Affects of Creativity in Advertising 3 Can Creative Marketing take it Too Far? Affects of Creativity in Advertising Introduction The world of advertising and marketing is continuously growing and evolving to fit what companies think will appeal to their consumers. A trend often seen in today’s advertising is the use of creative strategies to capture the attention and receive the business of their audience. There is risk involved in spending marketing budgets on an original ad campaign, however. Although this strategy has proven on multiple accounts to be widely successful, it has also proven to be the downfall for companies who misuse or simply overdo their marketing creativity. There is a fine line between inventive ideas being understood and being negatively perceived which has a lot to do with the risks and benefits of innovation and efficiency, the affects of humor in advertising, and the use of emotional branding. Naturally, a company that creates a new product or idea is believed to have an edge over their competitors. Innovation in marketing is used to set companies apart from what their opponents are all doing. It is important for a company to find a new approach to marketing because, “brands that are viewed as innovators earn innovation credit,” and, “innovation credit is a form of brand equity” (Barone 120). This idea suggests that atypical marketing strategies that move against the norms make competitors who follow these ideas seem less trustworthy since they were not the originators of the idea. For example, when thinking about electronic tablets, Apple’s iPad is the first one that comes to mind. Apple’s initial innovation in creating the iPad makes their product seem the most legitimate when compared to Affects of Creativity in Advertising 4 competing tablets. In addition to a company’s innovative skill, their use of creativity versus efficiency also affects their legitimacy in the eye of the consumer. When an ad is merely efficient and doesn’t utilize creativity to capture the audiences attention, according to studies, “our results suggest that what advertisers would consider a waste of money or effort is viewed positively by consumers, and that consumers make positive inferences about a brand when they perceive excesses in spending and effort” (Modig 149). Originality in a companies marketing approach has the ability to persuade consumers greatly. When most consumers see the effort and expenses that were likely to go into such a creative idea, they are more likely to be intrigued by that company than a company whose advertisement showed little to no signs of exceptional effort. The proven appeal of creative or exciting marketing shows that, “advertisers should be mindful not only of what they say, but also how they say it” (Modig 149). Overall, the benefits of innovation and creativity outweigh the risks and companies who exhibit these characteristics have shown success in doing so. Method The method I used most often in researching the topic of creativity in advertising was textual analysis of both academic journals and videos. The background information I acquired came from multiple journals that focused on marketing and advertising. I then watched an online documentary called The Persuaders (2004) about how companies use advertising to their advantage or disadvantage. The video also taught me about the tactics many companies use to lure in their audience. After watching, I did some further research on two companies Affects of Creativity in Advertising 5 that were used as examples in the movie. Nike and Song Airlines are the companies I researched further and found videos on YouTube that gave insight into each of their marketing strategies and how it affected their overall sales. Once these sources were found, I was able to watch and replay the videos to take notes of specific examples that could support my claim. Results Today, in the twenty-first century, the marketing world is thriving. Advertisements can be seen on any surface at any time, so much so that they have become hard for us to notice in some cases because every ad seems to blend in with the next. Companies use big advertising because they want to stand out but in order for them to, “break through the clutter, they simply create more clutter” (The Persuaders). In previous time periods, advertisements consisted of explaining a product and how it is better, nicer, cleaner, and smarter, than its competitors. In today’s society with so many advancements in technology, everything works and has the potential to be better, nicer, cleaner, and smarter so ads must take a different approach and companies turn to what is called emotional branding. Emotional branding is, “an invitation to an identity” that “builds stories and mystery” to connect with a person’s emotions (The Persuaders). One company who has done an exceptional job at using emotional branding is Nike. Nike is known as a trustworthy and popular brand that has, over the years, created a sense of loyalty with its customers. The company creates ads that tell stories of heroes, but instead of these heroes fighting external battles, they are fighting an internal battle against themselves and their own laziness. When someone in a Nike commercial fights the Affects of Creativity in Advertising 6 internal battle whether or not to get out of bed to run, they “Just Do It.” Nike’s ads represent what they see in their customers and “tap into universal human feelings” to make what could just be a commercial into a personal story (Nike Brand Strategy). This example of emotional branding has been an extreme success for the Nike brand since they launched their “Just Do It” campaign (Nike Brand Strategy). On the other hand, some companies that attempt to break through the norms fail in doing so. Song Airlines, for example, was an up and coming airline with big plans to become a chic way to travel. When their marketing team got together to launch the company’s first campaign, they decided to focus on creating a new culture for flying instead of the airline itself (The Persuaders). Although this idea had potential to be successful, it was marketed poorly. By trying to stand out from competitors, Song Airlines’ commercials, “neglected to mention the product’s purpose and thus many shoppers were confused as to what exactly it was that they were selling” (Vaz). The airline’s commercials had no mention of planes, airports, airfares, or flying. In trying to stand out, Song Airlines only confused customers about what their company was (The Persuaders). The airline closed after only three years and this failed business is now one example of the fine line between creativity and disarray in marketing. Song Airlines was overall, “too focused on who they were rather than what they were selling, and on what the product meant rather than what it actually did” (Vaz). In order to direct the focus of an ad to what the product means, the product must be present or known, such as Nike. Overall, emotional branding is a risk that many companies take that can either be the downfall or peak of their marketing campaign depending on its approach to both the product and the audience. Affects of Creativity in Advertising 7 Discussion Creativity in marketing is all about setting yourself apart from your competitors. Though there are many ways to achieve this goal, one of the most successful strategies is the integration of humor into a brand. In order to stand out, companies must take risks. According to Wang, in the marketing world, “advertiser creative risk is the advertiser’s willingness to embrace the uncertainty in performance outcomes associated with unconventional and untried advertising campaigns” (p. 44). There is obviously uncertainty involved in any attempt at connecting with an audience’s sense of humor, but when done correctly, this can be an extremely affective technique. If successful, the presence and strength of humor in an advertisement sparks memorability in consumers and the use of humor, “enhances initial attention, aids brand recall, and holds attention and recognition” (Cline 55). Being able to not only capture an audience’s attention but also hold that attention is pivotal in the marketing world, and the use of humor often helps ads achieve that goal. However, it is possible for the jokes of an advertisement to distract from the product itself, which is what makes the integration of humor into marketing so difficult. Amidst a funny line or two, advertisers must still make their product memorable, which based on a study about humor strength and humormessage relatedness on ad memorability, “it appears that strong humor is not its own virtue; it must be connected to the brand claims to facilitate recall” (Cline 63). Similar to how a small group of friends may have ‘inside jokes’ in which only they fully understand, it is possible for companies to have the same affects with their humorous ads. If the majority of the target audience does not understand the punch Affects of Creativity in Advertising 8 line, then that company has not only failed in attempted humor, but also in selling the product at hand. Knowing your target audience and getting an outside opinion on a seemingly funny, creative idea can help companies avoid the awkward ‘I don’t get it’ reaction that some consumers may have when seeing or hearing the advertisement. Simon Knox, author of “Creativity in Marketing Management- A Unified Approach,” proposes the importance of bringing in outside ideas to the creative circle suggesting that, “personnel from outside the company can also be introduced into the group to stimulate the thought process” (Knox 254). I think this idea is very important in insuring that the audience will understand the humor, the main point, and of course be able to recall the product or service itself. As mentioned, the pursuit of creativity in marketing is risky and, “originality is inherently intertwined with risk and uncertainty, as highly original campaigns may be poorly perceived or even incite negative market responses” (Wang 42). Not only is it possible for an audience not to understand the humor of an ad, but they could also see the message in a different, more negative light. For these reasons, I find it is important to integrate outside ideas into a marketing plan before releasing it to consumers. In conclusion, although the risks of using humor and originality in advertising exist, when performed correctly, the inclusion of humor and creativity in advertising can be remarkably successful due to it’s ability to capture audiences attention and aid brand recall. Creative marketing, because of the risks involved and because of the potential of such an approach being misunderstood, must be used carefully. The use of innovation, humor, and emotional branding can be perceived differently than the Affects of Creativity in Advertising 9 company intended and therefore change the direction of the ad, or the use of these characteristics could help grasp the attention of the consumer and make the brand more memorable. Product or service recognition is what advertisements are all about and that is what will determine the success or failure of a creative marketing stunt. In the end, the use of creativity in advertising is more successful than confusing since many companies understand the risks involved and they do their best to avoid misleading viewers or leading consumers astray. Affects of Creativity in Advertising 10 References Barone, M. J., & Jewell, R. D. (2013). The Innovator's License: A Latitude to Deviate from Category Norms. Journal Of Marketing, 77(1), 120-134. Cline, T. W., & Kellaris, J. J. (2007). The Influence of Humor Strength and HumorMessage Relatedness on Ad Memorability. Journal Of Advertising, 36(1), 5567. Knox, S. (1990). Creativity in Marketing Management -- A Unified Approach. Journal Of Marketing Management, 5(3), 245-257. Modig, E., Dahlin, M., & Colliander, J. (2014). Consumer-perceived signals of 'creative' versus 'efficient' advertising: Investigating the roles of expense and effort. International Journal of Advertising, 33(0265-0487), 137-154. The Persuaders [Motion picture]. (2004). PBS Home Video. Nike Brand Strategy: Emotional Branding using the Story of Heroism [Motion picture]. (2013). YouTube. Vaz, A. (2012, November 20). A Sad Song: The Failure of Song Airlines. Retrieved October 23, 2014. Wang, G., Dou, W., Li, H., & Zhou, N. (2013). Advertiser Risk Taking, Campaign Originality, and Campaign Performance. Journal Of Advertising, 42(1), 42-53.