In our What is Marketing? tutorial, we indicate that the environment in which most companies compete requires marketers possess the ability to be creative. While the example we use in the tutorial relates to creativity for developing new products, this marketing decision is by no means the only one that may frequently require new thinking. In fact, most people would say the most creative part of marketing occurs with promotional decisions, such as developing a new advertising campaign.
Yet, while we say marketers must be creative, it should be clear that the level of creativity may differ from one industry to another. For instance, while technology marketers must fight off competition by constantly coming up with new ideas across their entire marketing mix (e.g. new products, new advertising, new pricing programs), marketers in less dynamic industries, such as those in many business-to-business markets (e.g., manufacturer of nuts and bolts), may be more limited to where new ideas are needed.
Additionally, it is essential to understand that being creative is often risky business. Why should a marketer push the creativity pedal when their company is already the market leader? Why not just cruise along with what has been working?
This leads to this story from Millward Brown. It offers a number of examples of the fate of companies that chose to be creatively different. The focus here is on creativity in advertising. Ad examples from the U.S. include Dos Equis Most Interesting Man and Kmart’s Ship My Pants. Also, several global ads are also discussed.
Of course, not all attempts at creative advertising are successful. The story points out key issues marketers should contemplate when considering an advertising strategy that clearly breaks from current industry norms. Also, since this story is from a research company, there are several useful stats presented.