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Advertising is all around us day by day, be it in print, online, on billboards or on TV.

According to some recent researches, we’re running across 362 ads per day (brand exposures excluded), but we are not aware about it because only 3% of the ads manage to leave an impression. That makes about 12 ads that can keep us engaged.

Swimming out of this advertising clutter is not as difficult for us as it is for advertisers, who struggle to create something memorable for the target audience.

In order to make their ad attractive, they need a solid concept and a creative design, so that people will actually pay attention to their layouts and the way how they present them. In fact, what matters the most for us as viewers, is to remember that ad existed.

To be completely honest, we all approach advertising with a certain dose of prejudice, which is the reason why we sometimes underestimate the effort of marketing professionals to bound with us in an entertaining way.

The other reason for such approach is that we’re overwhelmed by unique ideas which have raised the threshold of expectations, and an advertisement needs to be really good to impress us.

There are many clever, text-free ads that have a joking tone and make us laugh, others that pose a question to make us think, but the most successful ones are those that cause instant emotional reaction. Companies are using this smart strategy of respecting our sense of humor/intellect, instead of coming up with cheap ad ideas with flashy images and low-cut necklines to catch attention.

Most of the time, these ads are not even ‘speaking’ about the company and what they do, but they make an actual point on how their product is going to improve our life. Taking this perspective is interesting, because we have to think of necessities we wouldn’t think of otherwise.

Nobody wants to hear how long a company exists before he’s actually liked their products, but to focus on the sophistication of those products instead, and why they are necessary to him.
This being said, there is nothing wrong in saying that one cannot correct the first impression he’s made.

Both conventional and online advertisement has to attract us in few seconds, if not; it has failed to complete its mission. The ‘cool advertising’ factor is long overcome by bug corporations, and they’ve understood that they have to ‘touch our souls’ in order to make us look at something twice.

Creative advertising

Creativity means to world to advertising, and this can be confirmed by almost any professional out there. According to Stephan Vogel, Ogilvy & Mather Germany’s chief creative officer, creativity is the key to successful advertising, because it helps commercials last longer, and companies spend less on them.

But what does creative advertising actually stand for? Is it an interesting attribute prescribed to a product, or a fancy catalogue exposing its benefits? There are many experiments claiming that creativity sends a stronger message and creates a positive impression about the product, but it is to 100% confirmed that it can boast sales and improve purchase overall.

Summing up, there is no enough empirical advise to confirm that creative messages increase sales, but not because there is no straightforward connection, but rather because companies don’t have a systematic approach to calculating the effectiveness of their ads.

Finally, what does creative mean?

While looking for measurable dimensions and factors that influence creativity, we focused on social/educational psychology and defined creative as divergent thinking, directed towards the discovery of uncommon and non-obvious problem solutions.

The founder of this definition, Ellis Paul Torrance (an American psychologist who developed the TTCT creative thinking test), introduced a battery of measures that ca estimate the capacity of individuals to think creatively and to make a contribution to their environment. His test works on the basis of four dimensions (originality, fluency, elaboration, and abstractness.

This is how the test works: it poses a question, and evaluates the capacity of the tested individual to develop relevant ideas to answer it (fluency). The second step is to compare the answers to previous ones, and see how many of them are actually unique (originality).

Finally, the test pays attention to the amount of detail provided in the answers (elaboration) and whether they actually refer to something concrete or go beyond the boundaries of it (abstractness). The test also pays attention to so called ‘premature closure measures’, taking into account the factors an individual uses to answer the questions and to process the information.

This process was first used in the 2000s, by an Indiana University researcher Robert Smith, who was dealing with creative communication at the time, and established a straightforward connection between creative brands and execution elements, and the success of advertised content. He developed five dimensions of creativity instead, and we’ve based our today’s survey on them:


When an ad is original, that means that it contains rare/unexpected elements, and moves away from advertising as the one we’re used to deal with. Advertisement ideas have to be unique, meaning that the creator is free to diverge from common visual experiences and verbal solutions.

For example, a prototype detergent commercial highlights customer satisfaction with his clothes being white after washing, while perfumes draw attention with good-looking models and amazing traffic-free landscapes. On the other hand, our measure dimension for a successful and unique commercial is Coca-Cola’s ‘Happiness Factory’.


When an ad is more flexible than usual, it reaches a larger range of audiences with a larger range of ideas. Take Kraft Foods, for instance, and their 2011 Jacobs Krönung commercial, which showed men struggling to complete household activities while women were enjoying their coffee.


Synthesis refers to building a connection between supposedly unrelated ideas and objects. Wrigley is once again a good example: They used to have a commercial with cattle-corralled rabbits eating berries, bananas and melon, while their buckteeth were growing as with the Juicy Fruit chewing gums. Rabbits and chewing gums have little in common, but the divergent story was very successful.

Artistic value

In order for an ad to be artistically valuable, it has to contain many appealing elements (visual, verbal, and sound). The production has to be the highest quality possible, using clever dialogues, smart color schemes, and memorable music, which would make a consumer perceive it as piece of art rather than a common sales pitch.

Creative advertising ideas are a sure catch if they are attractive or funny. If they have these qualities they’ve accomplished the basis and if they’re also well thought they’ll surely get the customers’ attention. Some print advertisements will make you smile and yu will like others just because of their bright main idea. Enjoy!

By: Bogdan Sandu


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