Is creative a commodity?


With the digital age upon us, and social media taking the world by storm, I can’t help to ask myself, does creativity have the same value as it’s had in the past?

With Twitter crossing the 5 billion tweets mark and there being over 500 million active users on Facebook, I notice impressions and clicks seem to be talked about a lot more than the message itself. Does hitting the message home in Arial do the same as a well-crafted, well-executed ad?

With more and more technology allowing us to target the consumer more directly, it seems that everyone is an art director, designer or photographer. Being an SEO master or conversion specialist seems to be what its all about these days.

A scary thought! But I don’t buy it…

…it simply means that in this economic climate, as client budgets shrink, the agencies just have to become more accountable. It’s our responsibility to ensure a greater return on investment than ever before. Along with the methods of delivery both traditional and digital, the creative is the only consistent element in the marketing mix that can truly make the difference.

This widening of media channels just allows the message to be targeted more precisely. I would argue, the message needs to be even more engaging as there’s so much more noise to be heard through. I can only hope a good marketer feels the same.

The work that a creative agency produces can be bought and sold like any other product, that’s true… so one could argue, that yes, it is a commodity where a client can pay for 20 hours of copywriting and gets 20 hours of copywriting. The business of the agency is to sell those 20 hours.

On the other hand, those 20 hours are more than just 20 hours. They are 20 hours full of passion, dedication and experience that can’t be quantified that easily. Agencies shouldn’t put themselves in position where they are judged simply on the hours but more on the thought behind the quality of the work and its effectiveness.

Statements such as, “Anyone can write a headline” or “no one reads the body copy” are comments made by inexperienced account teams or clients. They need to understand that good creative will endure every time. It’s the agency’s responsibility to ensure the client understands just why it’s necessary to have the thinking behind those headlines and the substantiations. The creative product is not just any old idea, it’s the idea that engages with the audience and causes the required response.


I ask you, should a good idea cost any more than a bad idea?

Posted on 16th September 2014 in Creativity

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