Thursday, March 15, 2007

What price media creativity?

I was at a recent International Herald Tribune seminar the other day where the topic of involving media in the creative process and the need for creativity was placed under the microscope.

I managed to attend the first session of the morning with speakers like Deepika Nikhilender, managing partner of MindShare Singapore and Craig Harvey, director for media research Asia Pacific, Synovate kicking off the event (Thierry Halbroth senior creative director of Universal McCann was also supposed to be there and he would have been great to listen to, but unfortunately he couldn’t make it down).

It was interesting to note during the session not only how important the creative process was to media owners but also, how creativity can work against you, if you aren’t careful.

Creative media can mean utilising any media in a non-traditional format, and doing so can mean creating a powerful brand extension for your product and extending its brand equity. Craig pointed out that The Wall Street Journal’s latest cover wrap on Marketing Hong Kong’s inaugural issue was a good case in point -- (The pic below shows what the cover wrap looks like) media owners are now saying “Come to us for good creative media executions, we can provide them!”

That was a good concept for The Wall Street Journal to take, it certainly got eyeballs. Another good one that Craig mentioned was a respected newspaper cutting a hole in the middle of its front page, with story text running round the hole. This particular example consequently generated a lot of discussion for 2 reasons: one, because it was a novelty in terms of being a creative execution; and two, because it was a novelty in terms of being a creative execution. There were both good and bad pointers brought up about this. That it was creative was a no-brainer, but was it being creative just for creativity’s sake? The panellists thought it was all right to be creative for creativity’s sake, but I disagree. While it can attract attention and have a ‘wow’ factor to it, there has to be some sort of objective and point to the creative execution, and besides, as was brought up by other audience members, there could be a reverse effect, a backlash if you will, if the creative execution isn’t done in line with the image of the product. For example, might the respected newspaper with the hole in the middle have compromised its relationship with its readers? Do media risk jeopardising their integrity in their effort to deliver increasingly creative solutions? It’s a truism that media spend a lot of time building up brand equity, but also spend a lot of time to please and fit in marketer demands in an effort to get the dollars in – this can serve to erode the brand and compromise it. On the other hand, a creative buy can have a positive reaction in that it can attract attention and work to differentiate the product from other competitors in the market.

At the end of the day though, it all boils down to ROI – if you can measure the wow factor and prove to the ROI/procurement guys that the creative execution works, then maybe that’s what the bottom line is.


vinyarb said...

I find Today paper allows for a good mix of creativity without compromising too much on readability.

Plus i've heard that they're pretty accomodating, which is more than i can say for other papers...

Chris said...

Could you please add an RSS feed? Thanks!
(let me know if you need help!)