Expert Perspective

Dan Southern

17 November 2022

A workout for the marketer’s creative muscle 

How can brand marketers bulk up their creative instincts? Here are three questions to ask yourself every time you see an ad

The same goes for marketers. While the mythical capital-C Creative who sits in a dark room and churns out billion-view ideas may exist, the large majority of people making great creative are just, well, regular people. Rather than relying on lightning strikes, these people understand that creativity is a muscle to be exercised and built over time.

Building muscles requires regular reps, of course. Luckily, we’re presented with hundreds of opportunities to work out our creative brains every single day. Each advertisement we come into contact with - whether a YouTube pre-roll, a bus stop poster, or a clever stunt - is an opportunity to hit the gym. 

Perhaps you’ve people in your team that are only starting to bulk up on creativity. Here’s a quick way to get them started. 

Tell them that the next time they see an ad, to ask themselves these questions:

  1. Why is this brand saying this? What is the key message they’d like me to take away from this?
  2. Why is the brand choosing to say this here and now? Why did they choose this media or format?
  3. Will I remember it? Why or why not?

These three questions (well, technically six questions) are fairly simple, and should be fairly quick to answer. But they open up an important avenue of thinking when it comes to marketing creativity. 

The first (why is the brand saying this thing?) addresses brand strategy. First and foremost, what is the brand trying to accomplish with this? Are they trying to emphasize a rational benefit? Make an emotional connection? Introduce a new product? This line of questioning is a reminder that creativity works best when it is in service of a brand objective, rather than being made simply for the sake of doing something different.

The second question (Why is the brand choosing to say this thing here and now?) gets to media strategy. How does the media help or hurt the message the brand is trying to send? What audience might they be trying to reach? This reminds your creative muscle that advertising doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and should be enhanced by its context rather than hurt by it.

And finally, the most important assessment: will I remember it? This helps apply a critical lens to the advertising as a whole. Does it fall into the whopping 89% of advertising that isn’t noticed or remembered at all? Or is it creative, insightful, and compelling enough to make it into that elite 11%?

At Contagious, we spend most of our waking ours training our creative muscles, interrogating marketing from around the world to identify the best and most effective work. With these quick questions and a critical eye, you can do the same.

Now, go get those reps.

This article was downloaded from the Contagious intelligence platform. If you are not yet a member and would like access to 11,000+ campaigns, trends and interviews, email [email protected] or visit contagious.com to learn more.