The Myth of Creativity in Advertising

The art of ‘ad making’ has always been a bit of a gamble. A process where experience, gut
and creativity are paramount. An appealing storyline may fall flat. A fresh perspective may
be too much to digest. And why does this happen? — subjectivity. Everyone’s life pans out in
a different manner and that colors his/her perception of whatever is presented on the
canvass of advertising.

Despite this, some brands have aced this seemingly random process and it would be
interesting to unravel their magic trick. Do these brands engage a renowned creative team?
Is it about star power? Does it all boil down to having a loyal audience base? In this capitalist
world, does a humongous budget seal the deal? Even if one of these questions could be
answered in the affirmative, creators could have resigned to their fates and enjoyed the
show from the sidelines. However, it has been illustrated umpteen times that such is not the
case. This implies that all advertisers enjoy a level playing field and can make the stadium
root for them. But first, one needs to understand the process of making creativity work in
his/her favour.

Let’s take two examples two understand this better.

1. Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade


2. Audi Clowns


Which of the two left a lasting impression on you? If you side with the second, then you are
a part of the majority and it can satisfactorily be concluded that the creators of the latter ad
did something right. Sure the pandemic was hard on all of us, but does an apocalyptic lemon
rainfall really mean anything to anyone? On the other hand, we all have met our fair share
of clowns who take roads for circuses and make us wish for a way out. Audi does what Light
Seltzer does not. It builds on a ludicrous plot and makes it believable.

Why this divide in believability? Both pieces are creative, concise and aesthetically pleasing.
Both pick on real-life instances. Both seamlessly connect to the brand. So, where’s the
disconnect? It’s the connection between insight and execution. It’s the logic.
In the first advert, the insight that it has been a lemon of a year hits the mark. The brand
connect is evident — when life gives you lemon, make lemonade. But, our logical
powerhouses are taken aback when lemons start pouring down from the skies. In the
second ad, the same faculty overrides its rules and lays out a smooth road for us.
Insight: We believe that everyone else driving on the road is a fool.

Brand Connect: AUDI’s superior technology navigates you through all and any troubles on
the road.
Creative Leap: Depicting a situation where clowns are the new owners of the roads.

If you are still skeptical and label this as an exception, we’ll go further and take a look at
other creative ads which represent divergent categories, belong to different times and cater
to contrasting customers.


Old Spice

Insight: Men don’t come off as manly when they use lady scented body wash.
Brand Connect: Old Spice, that’s especially crafted for men, makes them more appealing to
the opposite sex.
Creative Leap: A person who is epitome of masculinity addresses the women in the man’s
life and sells the idea of an ideal man to her.


iPhone 13

Insight: Humans like to live carefree but need to be on guard while handling a phone.
Brand Connect: Apple phones are robust and sturdy giving you the licence to be careless
Creative Leap: Let the most sloppy species on this planet, babies, handle the phone.



Insight: We dress up our houses to look impeccable when guests visit us.
Brand Connect: IKEA is a cost effective and simple solution to uplift the decor of your house.
Creative Leap: Even inanimate objects scrutinise the shortcomings.

Now do we know where the fault lines lie? It’s the creative leap. While it may be the gospel
truth that creativity cannot be put in a box, advertising is renowned to alter the narrative
according to its wishes and requirements. Most agencies and brand managers arrive and
agree on the insight and brand connect, but the muddled waters welcome them when they
discuss the creative leap.

It’s ingrained in all of us that this aspect of the process is subjective. Only if we wipe off the dust from our lenses would we recognise that the water is still and pristine. That creativity in advertising is simply a layer that you add on to logic and the latter can never be subjective.

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