Thursday, August 28, 2008

Recognizing Greatness - Understanding The Creative "Bell Curve"

Most Creative Is Above Or Below Average - Demand "Great"

By David Miranda

Statistically, everything in life (and marketing) falls on some point of a bell curve, i.e. 2-3% of everything sucks, 94-96% of everything is below or above average, and 2-3% of everything is great. The challenge is demanding great and not settling for anything less.

Nobody says "keep up the fair work" to inspire anyone.

Nowhere is this truer than in marketing creativity.

In today's hard-to-reach consumer environment, the currency of the realm is ideas - ideas that differientiate one brand from all others in the hearts, minds, and ultimately the wallets of consumers - ideas that sell stuff.

What's a great idea? MasterCard's "there are some things money can't buy. For everything else there's MasterCard." This is great idea.

For years, MasterCard was a poor Number Three in marketing after American Express (Don't leave home without it) and Visa (It's everywhere you want to be). During this time, MasterCard struggled to find its brand identity that would differentiate itself. It's previous unsuccessful tage line was "MasterCard, Smart Money". Now after seeking not just another mediocre campaign, it found greatness - and great success in the "Priceless" campaign while American Express and Visa now search for new ways to counteract MasterCard's success.

There are other examples of greatness - The Chik-fil-a "Cows", Nike's "Just Do It", The Aflac "duck", and the Apple "PC vs Apple" campaign to name a few.

It's high time that advertisers demand greatness found only in that 2-3% of the creative bell curve. This means that advertisers should say no to 97% of what they are presented from agency creatives.

Say no to mediocrity, say yes to great ideas.