A theory of advertising in the age of algorithmic media:
I studied Quantitative Economics before getting my Masters in Integrated Marketing Communications. I have been calculating the chances of human brand-handling creative agencies in a world where the advertising landscape is dominated by computer-mediated technologies.
The numbers point to a hypothesis that I honestly feel to be both unimaginable and revolting: Creativity is not necessary for advertising to be effective. All it needs is to be strategic. Just think of all the bad and uncreative ads that do the job, and all the beautiful and award-winning works that don’t do anything for the client. Being creative has nothing to do with the ad being effective. Being on-strategy does. Is it on-strat: talking to the right person, delivering the right message, hitting at the right place and time? Yes? Don’t sweat it; it will work.
Effectiveness is not the be all and end all of marketing communications, anyway. It’s the minimum requirement! Pointing a gun at people or giving them money is very effective at securing their votes; but does that mean it’s a laudable marketing tactic?
The true goal of any creative effort is, come to think of it, efficiency. Will it solve the problem with the least possible time and effort? Will it stretch your finite resources? Will it achieve the results you want, but, like, beyond your wildest computations? Creativity, apparently, does. Because creativity increases your media budget! Oh a great ad makes people generous—people in this so-called digital age literally turn into your living, breathing unpaid media plan when your ad turns viral.
Roles and titles current when this article was published in July 2019.