Team Spirit Team Spirit

we love blogging

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

What is the purpose of a creative idea?


I don’t want to get too esoteric and start spouting brand and marketing gobbledegook, but I do want to talk about the fundamentals of a creative idea.

I was browsing IFA Online this morning and came across a banner for that notable protection company Scottish Provident. I read the message about the fact they’ve paid out on average £45 million for the past 11 years, all laudable stuff.

However, what made me stop and think was the flying kite they used in the creative - it seemed to hang there with little or no purpose, no witty puns about flying high or bright ideas on the wind, nada, nothing, zilch.

Then I thought, was it put there as an engagement piece? You know the stuff about how creative ideas are there to engage first and then let you consume the advertiser’s message at your leisure and if you’re interested. The recent Cadbury's Gorilla being a prime example of this; demonstrate joy and by association you prompt the thought that the Cadbury's product is a-glass-and-a-half-of-milk-charged joy.

But when you look at this particular banner neither a pun nor an engagement idea seems to be present. I then wondered whether the destination would have some creative payback. I clicked through to the website which has a fine picture of mountains (presumably Scottish), but no hint of any link with the said flying kite or indeed the £45 million message.

So I then went back to the copy. It says ‘recommend protection that goes a long way’. Well being a literal sort, kites aren’t free to fly a long way, that is exactly what the string is for.

I then came back to my first impression that this wasn’t advertising, it was messaging. Now if you work for Scottish Provident please don’t take offence, I’m not picking on you. What is true of this banner is true of lots of financial services advertising.

It seems to believe that just having something to say is reason enough for an audience to pay attention - well I’m sorry, it isn’t. Even in a B2B environment where it’s my job to pay attention, I want more payback than an annoying looping kite. I’m time poor and like the rest of my colleagues want to be rewarded for my precious attention.

Maybe I’ll be proved wrong and the Scottish Provident banner will become the shake and vac of our time, yet without a catchy jingle or clear product demonstration I think not. We all work in a sector plagued with a lack of trust, abstract products and complexity, so we have to work doubly hard to ensure our communications have real ideas that capture people’s imaginations and considerably more than mere messaging.

No comments: