Creative Process In Advertising: When It Works And Doesn’t

There is a lot of importance given to the level of creativity in any advertising campaign. You can go ask any advertising veteran what leads to the success of an advertising campaign, and you would most probably hear ‘creativity’ as one of the aspects in that list of answers.

It is critical to understand the scenario where creativity works in advertising and when it doesn’t. To do that, you need to learn about the various facets of creativity. 

What is creativity?

Creativity is the ability to develop a fresh and unique perspective that is communicated effectively as part of an advertising campaign. However, what is often overlooked is the fact that a business is investing in an advertising campaign to drive profitability. While it may be good to have a creative campaign that earns praises and awards for the advertising agency and the brand alike, it may not be of much use to the business if it is unable to drive growth. Therefore, it is important to understand the creative process in advertising and the role of creativity in driving growth for a business.

Creative Process In Advertising: When It Works And When It Doesn’t

What is considered a creative campaign can be divided into the following sub-heads – originality, flexibility, elaboration, synthesis, and artistic value. A campaign that has all or some of the attributes is considered to be a creative campaign.  Here is how creativity in advertising works and doesn’t work in sub-heads of a creative campaign:


An original ad campaign uses surprising or rare elements to wow the audience. In both cases, the advertisement can catch the attention of the viewer. Rather than just building a catalog of products explaining the benefits, original advertisements challenge societal, cultural, and other norms to build original advertising Originality is a key factor for several campaigns and works well for brands that need to stand out to catch customer attention. For instance, a detergent or washing machine advertisement typically shows an individual aiming for a whiter wash. At the same time, other categories, like perfumes, show beautiful models while cars cruise through beautiful settings and landscapes. However, other categories like cola, chocolates, and other similar products often come up with original creative campaigns. Originality works in the creative process of advertising depending on the requirement of the end product and customer expectations.


An advertisement that can link the product or service being advertised to a variety of ideas or different uses scores high on flexibility. The advertisement needs to be flexible in approach so that it can capture the imagination of the potential customers. For instance, an advertising campaign by Jacobs Krönung, Kraft Foods coffee brand, showed a man doing household chores like washing dishes, sewing, and chopping while some women enjoyed a cup of coffee. Including flexibility in the creative process in advertising is useful when the product doesn’t have a specific key differentiator or faces a lot of competition.


The purpose of elaboration in an advertising campaign is to focus on a specific benefit of the product or service and project it in a complex and intricate manner. For instance, a Wrigley’s 5 gum advertisement showed a man with tiny metal balls that are bouncing off the skin to represent the effect of the tingle that one feels after eating the gum. Similarly, several other products focus on a specific aspect or benefit of a product and portray it creatively. This approach is useful where the products have a specific key differentiator which needs to be projected creatively. On the other hand, elaborating won’t work well if the product needs to be flexible in approach and vice versa.


The use of ideas or unrelated objects in the creative process is known as synthesis. For example, when Wrigley used rabbits and showed them chewing gums, these were two unrelated ideas that were creatively merged to catch the attention of potential customers. The synthesis approach works well for a brand when the brand is focused on catching the attention of the customers with the advertising campaign.

Artistic value

Advertisements that have a high artistic value usually have high-quality visuals, music, dialogues, and color palette. Customers look at these advertisements as art than just a sales pitch for a product. This approach is usually followed in luxury products like automobiles, perfumes, luxury clothing, etc. Even some of the fast-moving consumer goods use this approach to gain a premium positioning in the market. For instance, the Fantasia yogurt advert from Danone came up with a sea of Fantasia yogurt with a model floating over it on a flower petal. 

According to a study, a euro spent on a creative campaign resulted in double the returns as compared to the euro invested in a non-creative campaign. It is, therefore, in the interest of brands to invest in creative campaigns. Depending on the end objective and nature of the product, an organization can choose the various facets of creativity that a brand may choose to explore. In most cases, creative campaigns work well to catch the user’s attention and create an impact. In a scenario where customers are bombarded with advertisements on multiple platforms, it is in the interest of the brand to be creative and create an impact.

By building a creative campaign, the business gives a real chance to its products to drive success. At the base, it is critical to have a winning product on your side. Without a good product, the creative advertisement will only work towards killing the product faster. As a popular advertising adage goes, nothing kills a bad product faster than good advertising. As a result, it is important to have creative advertising after you have a winning product on your side.

Found it informative? Here are the other creative posts from our blog.

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