Need a Creative Stimulant?

As we peruse the submissions for strategy's Creative

As we peruse the submissions for strategy’s Creative

pages, one thing that consistently vaults a campaign from clever to brilliant status is the level of innovation. It’s not enough just to be funny, or edgy, or titillating, or even shocking – you need to bring something new to the mix.

B2B that looks more like a consumer corporate branding campaign than a functional industrial advert is one example, embodied in the Air Canada Technical Services work we showcase this issue (see page 20.) Ads that use media in a breakthrough way is another tactic that scores highly for us, such as the Gay Lea outdoor that we also chose for our Outstanding New Campaigns spread. The billboards tout its spreadability, showing the substance slathered on a slice of brown bread, with the headline ‘You’ll want to spread it on everything.’ The adjacent billboard is an ad for a personal injury lawyer. The ads were up for a few weeks, and then the butter spread. Right across the face of the ambulance chaser. Strategy’s co-curators agreed. That was worth drawing attention to. The creative team at john st. behind this campaign, which may spread to print executions as well, regularly work in tandem with their media colleagues. Double the brain power, double the odds.

And it doesn’t always need to be your own wee ‘Eureka.’ Sometimes the breakthrough ideas come from creative borrowing. The Canadian Coca-Cola work, created by mashing Coke spots from the Philippines and Argentina, is also a great example of resourceful creativity (See page 28.) As is borrowing strategies from category peers abroad. While sourcing ideas from other markets may seem less glam than claiming credit for an original campaign, it’s a very practical way to find a competitive advantage for your brand. That’s actually the premise of a whole special report this issue (See ‘The fine art of recycling a good idea, page 29.)

Looking for what works is also the gist of sessions strategy is planning for its upcoming events. For ‘What’s the Plan?’ our Media In Canada Forum happening Sept. 20 in Toronto, we’re exploring the models and methods of maximizing media, both at home and abroad. Michael MacMillan, exec chairman, Alliance Atlantis Communications; CHUM Television’s president & CEO, Jay Switzer and Transcontinental Media president André Préfontaine will speak to this topic, with ZenithOptimedia president & CEO Sunni Boot helming the debate.

And coming up in December, our annual Agency of the Year soirée will extend its celebration of Canada’s top shops to a day-long event preceding the Awards. The first annual strategy Creative Forum is entitled ‘Stimulant;’ we’ll delve into ways and means to deliver innovation and maximize advertising creativity.

The underlying insight is that, increasingly, success depends upon being more innovative than your competitor – and faster! From R&D through to media strategy, creativity is the common foundation for campaigns that truly connect. So, while P&G goes en masse to Cannes, we’re planning an agenda with less airmile-intensive options for getting a jolt of creative caffeination. By showcasing effective, innovative marketing, and revealing the creative underpinnings, Creative Forum: stimulant will explore the approaches that contribute to success. If we do it right, you’ll leave inspired and armed with the operational intel to up the creative ante within your own organizations.


Mary Maddever, VP/Editorial Director