Last week’s session of the Advertising Club of New York provided insight into the creative side of advertising through the eyes of John Gagne, Executive Creative Director of Atmosphere Proximity. Gagne shared several case studies of successful digital ad campaigns with the group. It was especially interesting to hear about the creative process that essentially fueled the fire for each bright idea.
The creative process is one of “intense collaboration”. For Atmosphere Proximity, there are 3 C’s that are responsible for motivating employees and driving the company’s success. Culture. Creativity. Commerce.
Gagne led the discussion of culture by emphasizing the importance of career growth. The more exciting industry events shouldn’t be reserved for the most senior team members. Invitations should be extended to those who work at the entry-level in order to get a taste of the rewards that come with hard work.
The creative environment should allow for lots of experimentation with the product/service/idea the team is working to advertise. For example, when working on a liquor brand, “grab a glass and drink a little”. Allow yourself to be inspired by the product itself, as well as the talented and diverse people around you.
Finally, Gagne put the concept of commerce for his business quite simply: “get the work right, and the business will grow”. Clearly this philosophy has hit home for Atmosphere Proximity, which has won many awards particularly for its digital integrated campaigns and websites.
Towards the beginning of the presentation Gagne shared a quote from David Ogilvy, “creativity needs discipline and freedom.” This quote brought to mind the relationship between creative designers and copy testers. For the first time since working at Millward Brown Digital this session pushed me to think about a piece of creative from a non-analytic perspective.
How well did the ad inspire the audience’s purchase intention? Did it contribute to a statistically significant increase in brand awareness? These are some of the questions researchers ask when copy testing. However, I think it’s safe to say that an agency’s creative team is not focused on exceeding normative scores (compared to similar ads) when designing a piece of creative. They take pride in the work that is accomplished as an idea grows from a post-it note on a crowded bulletin board to an inspiring online placement or TV commercial with millions of impressions.
I never really put much thought into the critical nature of testing someone else’s artistic creation. A fellow Millward Brown colleague brought up the idea of having market researchers work with agencies early on in the creative process. Perhaps collaboration between these two parties could lead to more effective advertising. Combining the knowledge that researchers have of creative best practices for brand equity with the strategic and design expertise of creative agencies could enhance the impact of an ad, or at least shorten the steps it takes to convince a client to bring an idea to market.