Creativity vs. Metrics – Why the Versus?

I read this AdAge article, titled “Why Metrics Are Killing Creativity in Advertising” last week and have been thinking about it ever since.

This article brings up the dilemma that mimics the old “chicken or the egg” conundrum in the advertising/creative/marketing industry – what do campaigns need most: creativity or metrics-driven strategy?

The author, Mr. Patrick Sarkissian, makes his own analogy, opining that “just as video killed the radio star, metrics are killing creativity.”

I agree with Sarkissian that numbers should not fully dictate a new creative strategy. I’d like to assert, however, that in today’s saturated markets, effective campaigns must rely on solid research and strong metrics. These can and will make the creative more affective. Yes, brand preference is built on emotional connections.

But if you can quantify population trends, habits, values/emotional connections, and then build your brand’s creative around such a conceptualized and identifiable population, then doesn’t than make your brand that much stronger?

Sarkissian’s best observance is when he says “what works are creative and strategic communications that seamlessly engage and interact with the target audience.” Word.

He talks about the power of “the big idea,” and the need to return to such leaps of faith that make big ideas become epic concepts like “Just Do It.”

After pondering the greater weight of metrics vs. creativity, I’ve come to the conclusion that, like all things in life, they’re most effective when balanced.

Sure, you need ‘big ideas,’ uninhibited by numeric restrictions and people who like to think in algorithmic boxes. But those big ideas can be made stronger with metrics in a sort of ebb-and-flow process that yields smart creative and large numbers of addicted, highly satisfied customers.

Creativity – metrics – both can be effective for your campaigns.

Chicken – egg – who cares; fry ’em both up and enjoy.

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Dylan Amundson
Dylan Amundson
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