Phil Blackmore, creative director at AgencyUK, discusses what being “commercially creative” means for a business and how to ensure success.
It’s Monday morning and I’m taking a brief for a new client. The brief is well written, focused and full of promise. But as I scan the page I see a familiar phrase rears it head… ‘The creative idea must be commercially focused’.
It’s a phrase I’ve seen a lot since the start of the recession and one that is often bandied around during brainstorm sessions. But what does it really mean? And how does it affect the creative process and output?
Well, being commercially aware and focused is of course crucial to a creative’s armoury – and something that we criticise students fresh out of uni for not being. But the concern I have is that being commercially creative these days seems to mean shifting focus onto short-term sales with less consideration to building medium term brand equity. Which in my opinion is wrong, you need to always consider both.
Yes, there are physical objectives to hit, targets to reach. But selling product or services on the spot are just one facet of being commercially successful for a brand and not necessarily a great long-term strategy. The brand image needs to be considered, nurtured, protected – so that it can live a long and fruitful existence.
Take Dove for example. In 2007, they launched their campaign for real beauty. It was a beautifully simple idea… use real women to connect with real women up and down the country. It was met with massive success, and sales soared. They’d found one of the holy grails for brands – respect and revenue.
But alas they creatively lost their way as it transpired that the real women in the ad weren’t so real. They had been retouched according to digital artist Pascal Dangin. Dove reputed the claim of course, but the damage was done and there was no going back.
So in summary, being commercially creative in today’s world means two things. Firstly you do need to be able to create great work that sells product. But secondly, and perhaps more importantly, you need to create great work that enhances and protects the brands image – because if you damage that, it can be a long hard road to recovery.
Source: Dove, 5 Famous Ad Campaigns That Actually Hurt Sales, cracked.com