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Thursday, 28 June 2007

Creativity in financial services

James 25.06.07

Financial advertising - conventionally not thought of as the field in which creativity thrives. But why shouldn’t financial services advertising be creative? Indeed, why shouldn’t the sector as a whole be held up as a leader in creativity, of innovation and design.

Yes, when it comes to how advisers or consumers think of brands in banking, insurance or investment we want solid and reliable and trustworthy, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be creative as well.

When flipping through the pages of Investment, the FT and The Economist, it seems obvious that, in this country at least, products, services and brands are sold rationally. Give them facts and figures and they’ll work it out for themselves. But in the US and even South Africa, emotion is what sells. Whether to brokers or to consumers the relationship, the feelings of a communication are as important as the figures or the offer.

Possibly as regulation in the UK Financial arena has taken a greater hold, there is a fear of pushing creativity. An ogre sneaks in and right at the beginning of a brainstorm and says “We’ll never get away with that, so let’s just do….” Just…a word that is the antithesis of creativity.

But regardless of the audience, the product, the arena or the potential restrictions, creativity, originality and engagement should be foremost in a creative agencies mind. When conceptualising, critiquing or assessing creative work, its important to remind oneself it is just that…creative.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your point holds a contestable depth of validity (if a somewhat creative approach to the use of apostrophes), and certainly throws the conscientiousness of creative departments into the arena as a benchmark for measuring application of the FSA’s favourite concept – Treating Customers Fairly.

When the perceived relaxation of financial promotions’ regulation comes into effect later this year, who will take ultimate responsibility for execution? Creative agencies must share increased accountability for copy and images adhering to the principles of TCF before entering the public domain.

Or is there a danger that Departments of HS-TC (HighSpeed-TechnoCrayons) throughout the industry will use this as a carte blanche opportunity to explore the parameters of justifiable execution first, and deal with any alleged transgressions of TCF (and happy clients with profitable responses to a less than ethical campaign), afterwards?

It will be a challenging balancing act: generating inspired, innovative output – the creative department’s raison d’etre – and implementing exceptional business ethics on behalf of clients’ best interests, while still in possession of the proofs…