resources. sequel talks.

21 December 2016

The figures don’t lie – why it pays to get creative

Each day we’re exposed to a huge number of advertising campaigns, whether we’re online, watching TV, out walking, catching a bus, reading the newspaper or flicking through a magazine.

But while most barely register with us, it’s the most creative ones that stick in our minds.

James Hurman, author of The Case for Creativity, examined the findings of 15 studies (two decades of international research) comparing the effectiveness of advertising, agencies and companies that were more creative against those that were less creative. The studies all pointed to the fact that creativity and effectiveness are inextricably linked.

Hurman found that highly creative campaigns excel across three measures: originality, engagement and execution. He also concluded that more creative advertising is more effective advertising, because campaigns that won creativity awards:

  • were more likely to meet or exceed their client’s objectives (84 per cent versus 70 per cent for advertising in general)
  • were 11 times more efficient at generating a market share increase (and those that were the most creatively awarded drove the highest market share gains)
  • achieved a higher ‘Effectiveness Success Rate’ than the non-awarded campaigns, whether they had a high spend (88 per cent versus 80 per cent) or a low spend (75 per cent versus 59 per cent).


More creative companies are more successful companies – according to Hurman, Cannes Lions Creative Marketer of the Year companies outperform the stock market by a factor of 3.5.

Creative advertising is significantly (up to nine times) more likely to be recalled unprompted than advertising in general – we’re talking Buster the Boxer again, along with classic campaigns like ‘Dumb Ways to Die’ – and creatively awarded advertising is twice as likely to generate online and offline conversations.

It was particularly interesting to learn that consumers let their defences down more for creative advertising, allowing themselves to be sold to more readily. And that creative advertising makes people feel better about a company and its product than less creative advertising for the same company.

Although The Case for Creativity centres on advertising and marketing campaigns, Hurman certainly provides plenty of food for thought for internal communicators. Time to step outside our comfort zone and try a new approach…?