Creativity Isn’t New

AWSC,Marketing/Advertising July 28, 2011 6:18 am

I’m a sucker for all things shiny.

You might as well liken me to a raccoon when I see something that glitters. The more that sparkles in jewelry, furniture, clothing, (ahem) LIFE — the better.

In advertising, my eye often lands on the ‘shiny’ new ways of advertising made possible by sophisticated and/or emerging technologies. And there are some pretty amazing companies/agencies/creative people who are making some really shiny advertisements.

Need an example?  I’m more than a little obsessed with Deeplocal*, a ‘post-digital shop that helps brands create remarkable experiences that bridge the online and physical worlds.’

They’re the guys behind the Nike Chalkbot for Livestrong-‘a tweet-fed, chalk-spraying hydraulic robot that traveled the roads of the Tour de France.’  People sent Chalkbot messages, Chalkbot printed them on the road, and then Chalkbot took a picture of the message, attached GPS coordinates, and sent it back to the sender.


And more recently, Deeplocal was involved with the ‘Nike Write the Future‘ Campaign- they were responsible for making the writing-realtime-headlines-on-the-largest-building-in-Johannesburg a reality.

Super shiny.

Or what about Goldrun and the super shiny things they’re doing with augmented reality for clients like Airwalk? To promote a re-launch of their ‘Jim’ shoe, Airwalk opened up pop-up stores– but they were invisible stores, viewable only to those who downloaded the augmented reality app from Goldrun.  And although the stores were invisible, you could still buy shoes through the app.

Oh so shiny.

There’s no doubt these advertisements/promotions are shiny.  They’re eye-catching, press-worthy examples of how technology can turn creative ideas into brilliantly executed ad campaigns.

But why are these campaigns noteworthy?

Because of the use of shiny new technology or because of the creative idea behind the campaign?

I’d argue it’s the creativity- if you strip away all of the glitter of the technology, you’re still left with an amazing idea.  Yes, technology made these ideas executable- but what happens when you add shiny, attention grabbing technology on top of a bad creative idea? You’re still left with a bad idea.

To put it bluntly, if the creative idea at the core of the advertisement isn’t shiny, the advertisement won’t be any good. But do examples of amazing creative ideas that weren’t executed with the newest/shiniest technology exist?

Of course, because creativity isn’t new!

Two examples of highly creative, ‘shiny’ advertising sans use of shiny new technology:

1. A magazine ad for Carlsberg beer that folds into a bottle opener. Amazingly creative idea and an eye-catching execution that didn’t need shiny-technology to make it pop:

More info about the campaign (along with beer bottle opening demo!) here.

2. An outdoor billboard from Coca-Cola & the WWF that is covered with plants- why covered with plants? The plants absorb air pollution around the billboard. Really, I’m just in awe of the creative mind behind this advertisement- creativity x100, execution sans shiny new technology:

More info about the campaign here.

These two ads- while wildly creative, weren’t ‘new and shiny’ in the sense that they relied on the use of the latest technology to relate the message.  But they were shiny and new in the sense that someone with an intensely creative mind changed the status quo of what a print ad and billboard could be.

Creativity isn’t new- ad executions will continue to evolve/harness the newest and shiniest technologies/advancements in the market, but the best ad executions are the ones where the creativity itself is the shiniest part.

If the input (creative idea) is shiny, the output (ad execution) will always be shiny- regardless if it ‘glitters’ as the newest bobble in the advertising tool box.


*Except for the fact that they’re based out of Pittsburgh.  When oh when will you open a NYC satellite office?

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