Asking people to buy stuff is hard. We’re bombarded by advertising and brand experiences thousands of times a day, and yet our our ability to see, hear, and remember those exposures is very, very limited. There’s an abundance of theories and “good ideas” for cutting through the clutter, and increasingly there’s research to back them up. What we know so far? Creativity correlates to sales. Here’s why.
Creative content is entertaining content. We watch tv, search the web, and browse social media, mostly for entertainment. The places we go for entertainment are also the places we’re most apt to see an advertisements. Hard sells are boring, they’re disruptive and to be frank, they’re ugly. There’s very little joy in the hard sell. Creativity makes advertising appealing in and of itself. Creative ads are also better for consumers, and our media partners. A recent study looked into the unintended impact of creative on the audience. They found that creative work has a positive impact on the audiences own creativity and produced a positive perception of the media the ad was placed in.
People remember creativity. A study from 2004, demonstrated creative advertising contrasted other media, it stood out from the crowd, attracted attention, and was therefore more memorable for being, simply, more noticeable. However don’t confuse this with the hard sell. In a 2008 study for the Journal of Advertising, “[c]reative advertising was found to enhance recognition, and this positive effect increased over time.” The study built on research quantifying creativity in advertising as novelty, meaningfulness, and connectedness. Creative ads present new information in connection with old information in a way that adds meaning for the audience. Memory is the process of making meaningful connection between new and old ideas and a creative ad do the heavy lifting for you.
Creative content sells. It follows if people enjoy a products branding, and they remember the product from its branding, they’re more likely to buy the product. If the audience is entertained, if they remember the product, there’s a strong correlation with purchasing decisions. According to the Cannes Lions research, companies that win their annual Creative Marketer of the Year “outperform the stock market by a factor of 3.5”. The IPA/Gunn study of 2011 combine the Gunn Reports collection of award winning creative with the IPA’s advertising effectiveness data to examine the impact of creativity on sales. They have found campaigns that “go viral” make larger commercial gains than average and have more brand effects. As for the cost of this creativity, Cannes demonstrated these viral campaigns on average had half of the budget of the average campaign. Creativity is the key to doing more with less.
If you’re looking to get more out of your marketing dollars it pays to invest in creative advertising. And we’re not just saying this to get you to look at our creative work. It’s science.
For more on what types of creative work consumers enjoy check out this study.
For the research behind the extraneous benefits of creativity read this.
For more on creativities impact across the hierarchy of effects from awareness to purchase read this.
For the link between creativity and memory check of this study.
For the complete IPA/Gunn study, check it out here.
And if you’re not convinced yet, read the book that inspired this blog.