61547652_webBefore forming my own company, I belonged to advertising agency creative departments in Canada and the US. The creatives were the ones who took a blank piece of paper and turned it into advertising that ran on TV, radio or print. Creatives were the ones who performed the magic.

Ore so many creative people would have you believe.

From as early as when I was a Sr. V.P. Creative Director at JWT, NYC, my mantra was ‘creative is not a department’ and ‘creative’ people do not hold a monopoly on creative thinking.

To best serve a client, everyone involved in the process needs to be creative. I have been fortunate to work with some very creative media planners.

Working for Guardian Group of Funds (now part of BMO), it was a creative media planner who helped us take a relatively small player and make them look much bigger than they were. Guardians funds are sold exclusively through brokers. So Scott Stewart, my media planner, came up with an ingenious plan that bought everything all around Bay St: bus shelters, Elevator News Network, ParkAd. (Bay Street is the Wall Street of Canada.) The result was phenomenal awareness for a fraction of the money big players were spending.  Creative is not a department.

Creative research can be a creative person’s best tool despite how creative people often bemoan research. All it takes is the right question or questions. One of the most brilliant pieces of marketing/advertising research was done by Anheuser-Busch. They hired a psychologist to analysis drinking behaviour. Its was not about being blue collar or white collar, it had to do with mindset. They identified the reparative beer drinker: the one who has a beer after work to ‘repair’ themselves to get back to the person they were before they went to work. This is where the beer consumption volume was. The result of the study? “This Bud’s for you”; one for the most successful beer campaigns of all time. All based on research. Creative is not a department.

Perhaps the most potent potential of creative power is the art of creative thinking in the hands of a strong strategic planner. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is more effective in marketing and communications than a crisp, insightful and focused strategy. Nothing. While I like to consider myself a strong creative person, I fully realize that power of great strategies. That’s why I spend as much time honing strategies as I do creative development. And no one appreciates a strong strategic planner more than I. And I am fortunate to work with one. He makes my job easy. All I have to do is be on strategy and I am all but guaranteed success. Because creative is not a department. It’s a way of problem-solving, no matter what the problem. Or department. In fact, any department that is not creative, is most likely a stagnant department.

Well, except for accounting. 

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