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The devaluation of creativity

Creativity represents the sharp end of advertising. Get it right, and you can expect praise and buy-in. Go too far or not far enough, and it’s time to duck for cover.


Illustration by Nereya

But is the role of creativity within advertising changing? Bob Hoffman definitely thinks so. He’s author of the popular Ad Contrarian blog (6 million visits and counting) and has been a copywriter, creative director and CEO at multiple agencies throughout his career.

Back in September, he spoke at an industry event in Ireland and added his speech to his blog (read it here). It’s a great read with a few laugh-out-loud moments, but with a serious point at its heart.

It made us stop and think. There is a fine balance between great ideas and strategic process, but can one exist without the other? While his dubious outlook could be perceived as negative, we see it as a tongue-in-cheek, at times satirical look at all of the changes that have impacted today’s world of advertising.

An industry of craftsmen and craftswomen

Hoffman states that over 400 million people worldwide have ad blockers on their devices.  That’s a lot of people who can simply ‘opt out’ and instead choose where and when they view online advertising. However, when a campaign does catch the interest of its audience, it can easily become a viral hit, spawning millions of clicks and views in a single day.

Whether it’s media, data, business or structure to blame; his critique compels us to look back and see how far we’ve come – and imagine where we can still go from here. It causes us to question how creativity can be conveyed and decoded in the wake of multimedia. Hoffman’s not completely skeptical of today’s data-driven media landscape. Like he says, we have more tools than ever before:

“I’m tired of hearing that advertising isn’t as effective as it used to be, or as creative as it used to be. We have so many more amazing tools and amazing media options than we’ve ever had before for making wonderful advertising. We have much better data. We have much better ways to measure. We have no more excuses.”

And we agree. Here at the agency, this discussion is far from over. But as we put our creative, strategic and business brains into overdrive – we are eager to take on the challenge. 

/ Matt & Alix

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