The study was carried out in order to determine the trends in creative concepts of advertisement. It was divided in two parts. Part 1 included defining main characteristics according to “Four-dimensional model of advertising creativity” developed by Stuhlfaut & Yoo (2013). Part 2 studied additional characteristics, which identified more applied features of successful advertising today. Sample was based on video clips that won in annual The Art Directors Club of New York contest, “ADC 94th Annual Awards”, held in 2015. Eighty-five videos were analyzed overall. Main results demonstrate percentage distribution between four factors: novelty, affective, utility, humorous. Additional results, which were aimed to show trends in applied characteristics of videos, demonstrate genre, music usage and specific themes exploited in creative concepts.
Keywords: advertisement, creative concept, four-dimensional model of advertising creativity, The Art Directors Club of New York.
World of creativity is not for everybody. Highly competitive and demanding, it does not guarantee recognition and appreciation, although it requires complete dedication. Nevertheless, that does not make it less attractive; and every day new members accept the challenge. Some of them direct their talent in advertising.
Glut in the market and struggle for survival in business world encourage science and marketing working together in searching the best way to present a product. It is not enough to make a simple good traditional advertisement anymore. It should be settled in the mind of consumers and redirect their honestly earned money in a requested way. Although it was detected that creative advertising does not necessarily change attitude and influence purchasing behavior (Yet, Ang & Low, 2000), it is still more likely asked to be creative. Herewith, the nature of this phenomena is rather subjective (Stuhlfaut & Yoo, 2013) that could confound specialists working with a certain task. Nevertheless, the work must be done and evaluated. Existing scientific theories could be used to understand whether advertising is creative. Although, people who actually produce advertising, hardly validate with them.
The present study aimed to combine theory and practice and clarify, what should be taken into consideration talking about creativity in advertisement, how can it be evaluated and what specific features are typical for creative advertising today.
What does it mean being creative? If a child will ask this question, after receiving an answer he at least will be confused. Literature provides us with numerous opinions, striving with each other for importance. That gives us a vague definition and freedom for imagination at the same time.
Creativity in advertising is not an exception. It should be innovative and original (Fletcher, 1990). However, the main task of advertising lays in business field – if it does not push sales, it is useless and simply can take its place on a shelf. That brings us to idea, that effectiveness is very important component (Percy & Rossiter, 1997 as cited in El-Murad & West, 2004). Is it needed to be creative to be effective? There are further opinions that being different and unusual (Milgram, 1990), appropriate (Amabile, 1996; Sternbegr & Lubart 1999 as cited in Stuhlfaut & Yoo, 2013), well-planned and based on the goal of the client and research (Bell, 1992) means to be creative in advertising. Different approach is observed in France, where creative advertisement should not be characterized with above mentioned qualities, but raise feelings of love and desire (Taylor, Hoy & Hayley, 1996). Despite the contradictory definitions, other studies show that creative advertising is more valuable for companies. Thus, novelty, meaningfulness and connectedness in advertising significantly influence the consumer’s brand perception (Ang, Lee & Leong, 2007). Other study discovered that memory performance of people works better with advertising presented by qualities of novelty and meaningfulness (Srull, Lichtenstein & Rothbart, 1985).
In order to bring all opinions about creativity to common denominator, researches developed certain models and typologies, which could be, for example, based on message type (Simon, 1981; Frazer, 1983); which could rely on feelings and emotions, being cognitive versus being rational (Puto and Wells, 1984); which could be classified based on the way of consumer’s respond (Scott 1994). One of the latest models, “Four-dimensional model of advertising creativity”, developed in 2013 by Stuhlfaut & Yoo, tried to comprise most of possible options of defining the creativity to the day, organizing “previously disparate descriptions of creativity into a coherent structure”. The model is based on “extensive review of the literature, statements about creativity from professionals in advertising agencies, statistical analysis, and predictive testing using actual advertisements”. The research included work with experts from actual advertising agencies. That reduced the distance between theoretical reasoning about advertising and how people who make decisions on this market perceive creative advertising.
According to “Four-dimensional model of advertising creativity”, there are four main factors that define creativity: novelty, affective, utility, humorous. Each of these factors is measured by the scale of certain characteristics, which are pointed out in Figure 1.
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Figure 1: "Four-dimensional model of advertising creativity" (own illustration based on Stuhlfaut & Yoo, 2013).
The model was a result of multiple step research, consisted of explorative study, supported by literature review, which gave nineteen different characteristics describing advertising creativity; factor’s analysis, which aimed to group characteristics; and assessment of measures to double check the results of the study, which was conducted on a practical example.
However, the model does not completely cover the gap between the world we have on paper and actual world around us. Arguing about how the exact phenomena, advertising specifically, should look like could last for centuries and still leave the question opened. That gives a chance to future philosophers and researchers to make their input. Yet, there is a little help for people creating advertising every day. For example, it is far not enough in defining specifications for concrete product and concrete advertising to indicate it to be “new”. It is also hardly possible to imagine that specific work has won international creative contest only being “likable”. Therefore, the additional characteristics of advertising should be analyzed in order to understand what is creative advertising today.
The current study aims to build a bridge between theoretical understandings and applied characteristics of creative advertising and to answer the question: what are the latest trends in creative concepts of advertising? To meet the goal the study is managed based on recent materials that are already appreciated by community of professionals in advertising. That fact provides the researcher with certainty in relevance, presenting the results as a valuable practical information, which Don Draper1 could note in his work diary.
The study was conducted in two parts. Part 1 was focused on defining main characteristics according to “Four-dimensional model of advertising creativity” developed by Stuhlfaut & Yoo (2013). Part 2 studied additional characteristics, which were more precise and which identified more applied features of successful advertising, specifying the trends on this market. Philipp Mayring’s qualitative content analysis (2000) was used to detect the additional characteristics.
In order to assure that highly professional materials are used to meet the purpose of the study, “ADC 94th Annual Awards” winners were chosen as a sample. The Art Directors Club of New York, founded in 1920, is an international society of creative professionals. Each year the contest between the best in the industry takes place, awarding the works in advertising, design, illustration, photography, digital and motion with ADC cube. The jury comprises honorable creative directors all over the world. The level of the event allows to conclude that the participants create trends at the market of advertisement.
“ADC 94th Annual Awards” were presented in 2015. Although different types of advertising were nominated in the contest, to maintain the consistency of the data, the works of one kind were chosen for comparison, that are video clips. 27 gold, 26 silver, 27 bronze and five merit cubes were given to videos participated in three categories: advertising, digital and motion. Hereby, 85 video works, available online at official web site of the society, comprises the sample of the study.
1 Don Draper – charismatic character of popular TV-series “Mad Men”. Creative director at “Leo Burnett” in the heyday of advertisement agencies in US in the 1950s.
- Quote paper
- Ekaterina Valeeva (Author), 2016, Trends in creative concepts of advertising, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/463246