Creativity In Advertising

The Kit Kat “Have A Break, Have A Kit Kat” example!

The average person associates “advertising” with a beautiful image, a clever slogan or a line, or a television commercial with great special effects! This is what the average person sees when they engage with advertising on any platform – social media, websites, television, print, radio or outdoor hoarding.

But what is advertising? Wikipedia defines “advertising” as “a marketing communication that employs an openly sponsored, non-personal message to promote or sell a product, service or idea. Advertising is differentiated from public relations in that an advertiser pays for and has control over the message. It differs from personal selling in that the message is non-personal, i.e., not directed to a particular individual” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advertising).

So, essentially, an advertisement is a message from a brand to a set of consumers, promoting the various features of the brand in a way that pulls the consumer to buy the brand. So why and where does “creativity” play a role in advertising?

What is creativity?

Creativity in advertising is the skill of coming up with appropriate and unique ideas as solutions to a marketing or communication problem. A creative idea must be relevant to the target audience to be effective.

Creativity is the single most important differentiating factor in any communication message. It requires the use of imagination to create something original. In the context of advertising, it is what separates the ordinary message from the outstanding, the plain “collection of words” from a charged-up “call to action”!

Creativity is neither a scientific process nor does it develop in a vacuum. It disrupts traditional thinking or processes and comes out of a variety of factors, inputs, features, and uniqueness. Creativity begins with strategy – the development of a marketing message that conveys the solution to the problem facing the consumer. It ends with the delivery of an advertising message to the right consumers at the right time through the right channels.

The process of creativity

Graham Walls, an English sociologist, and co-founder of the London School of Economics proposed four steps in the creative process in his book “The Art of Thought”:

  1. Preparation stage: in this step we collect background information to solve the problem through research and study
  2. Incubation stage: where we let ideas and thoughts develop
  3. Illumination stage: where we see a solution (“the light”)
  4. Verification stage: Where we refine the idea and check if it is the right solution to the customer’s problem

This creative process allows the advertiser to create a message that is consumer-orientated, offers the required consumer benefit and delivers the required results.

Does creativity influence consumers’ purchase behavior?

It is a given fact that the more competitive the product category, the more communication noise is created by the brands – think automobiles, cola, coffee or detergents, for example. Therefore, any message created by brands in these categories must grab the consumer’s attention in a very limited period. Better creativity helps to develop more attention-grabbing messages.

Creative messages have been scientifically proven to generate more attention and help develop positive attitudes toward the brand being advertised. But it cannot be said with absolute certainty that a nicely designed and creative message influences the purchase behavior of consumers or contributes to actual sales revenue. But, in its key task of drawing attention to the brand, the message must be creative (unique) enough to stand out from the clutter.

How do we “measure creativity”?

Creativity as the process of finding unique or non-obvious solutions to a problem has been studied extensively within social and educational psychology. An American psychologist, Ellis Paul Torrance, developed several tests to assess an individual’s capacity for original or divergent thinking. These tests were adapted for the advertising process by Robert Smith and his colleagues at the Indiana University Department of Communications. Smith and his team proposed five dimensions to measure creativity in advertising:

  1. Originality
  2. Flexibility
  3. Elaboration
  4. Synthesis or combinations
  5. Artistic value

The studies carried out by this team showed that creativity does play an “enabling” role in the entire advertising process. These studies can be used by advertising agencies to design models that give direction to creative energy and investments.

The power of creativity – “Have A Break, Have A Kit Kat”

Creativity in advertising is finally all about reducing the product attributes to a single memorable slogan or tagline. There are many such iconic slogans in the marketing world – “Just Do It” (Adidas), “A Diamond Is Forever” (DeBeers Diamonds), “The Ultimate Driving Machine” (BMW) and more.

But the most famous slogan, the oldest such slogan, and one that has been unchanged since it was launched is undoubtedly “Have A Break, Have A Kit Kat” by Kit Kat!

This iconic chocolate was first launched on 29 August 1935 and is today sold in more than 70 countries. In each country, the brand carries the famous slogan “Have A Break, Have A Kit Kat”.

Donald Gilles, an advertising executive in the well-known agency JWT in London, coined the slogan in May 1957. The term “Break” has a dual meaning that aligned it perfectly with the product. “Break” to break (meaning the characteristic sound when you break the bar) and “Break” meaning “to rest”. This double meaning would become the backbone of the slogan “Have a Break”.

The slogan made its first television appearance in a UK commercial in 1958, it has remained the slogan for the brand in the UK and other markets. In the US, the brand uses a jingle for television – “Gimme a break, Gimme a break, Break me off a piece of that Kit Kat bar!”

This slogan elevated the chocolate confection from a mere snack to an iconic lifestyle statement that has stood the test of time!

The slogan “Have a Break, Have A Kit Kat” is today a global phenomenon, and will probably remain firmly embedded in customers’ minds. In today’s hyper-digital world where immediate gratification and the growth of new trends almost daily, this slogan has withstood the movement of time and remains the bedrock of Nestlé’s global brand strategy even today.


Creativity is at the heart of advertising and branding. It brings alive an otherwise boring message into something that can transform a brand into a lifestyle statement and fixes it firmly in the hearts and minds of the brand’s target audience.

Thank you for Reading!

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