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Appreciating adland’s awkward squad

Appreciating adland’s awkward squad
IPA Director General Paul Bainsfair on the importance of 'creatives' within the advertising industry.

Creative people. Advertising can’t live without them.

“Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do”

These words are taken from one of my favourite TV spots. It was for Apple. In fact, it was the first ad that Steve Jobs did with Chiat Day after his return to the helm of the company. He wanted to position Apple as the brand for people who think differently. To say this is who we are and this is what we stand for.

To my mind, this brilliantly sums up the kind of people who can be called ‘creative’. I have been lucky to work with some of advertising’s all time great creative characters. Charles Saatchi, Paul Arden, Dave Trott, Lee Clow, Trevor Beattie are all former creative directors of agencies I have managed. And they are all crazy ones. Working with them was often difficult and uncomfortable. They didn’t want to do what other people call ‘the right thing’. That’s what being creative is mostly about. Having the courage to try things that haven’t been tried before.

Is it all worthwhile?  Why do ad agencies put up with such difficult people?

The IPA has the most exhaustive data bank of the evidence behind effective advertising in the world. In the last few years we have worked with Peter Field (leading econometrician) and Donald Gunn (author of the Gunn Report – the league tale of creative award winners) to try and understand the link between creativity and the effect it has in the marketplace. Our analysis of the data, and we have over 1000 rigorous case studies, proves that the high correlation between highly awarded creative ads and effectiveness is clear and unequivocal.

So next time a client says they’re not interested in creative awards, be sure to put them right.

As my old friend Dave Trott likes to say “If your ad isn’t noticed, everything else is academic”

The first job of advertising is to stand out. That’s job number one for any creative idea. That’s why it’s so important. That’s why it’s worth putting up with adland’s awkward squad.


Last updated 16/10/2015

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