When creativity gives you lemons…

At this year’s IPA effectiveness week, one speaker’s zest for putting creativity back on the right track stood out to the industry. Orlando Wood launched a piece called ‘Lemon’, which called out brands for making their advertising appeal too much to the left side of the brain, most associated with short term logistical thinking, and ignoring the right side which takes concepts and adds perspective, giving it a longer term meaning. According to Wood the result is that creativity has turned sour, with brands putting too much emphasis on trying to create ‘wow factor’ but not thinking about how they are sustaining the brand amongst consumers in the long term.

However, short-term focus isn’t always a bad thing. As the OOH landscape continues to evolve to include more DOOH screens, short-term activations are increasing. Providing brands with quick campaign success feedback, it gives them an opportunity to create responsive campaigns that react to real-time events. These short-term effects can be measured and shown through econometric modelling.

Nonetheless, studies from WARC have shown that creativity is the second most important element to encourage an ROI multiplier effect. Therefore, a key theme that we’ve seen over 2019 in OOH is putting creativity back at the heart of campaigns without ignoring the data led, evidence economy that brands are familiar with in other mediums.

Balancing Creativity and Impact

But how can creativity be approached in OOH to appeal to both sides of the brain? Or to quote Orland Wood – achieve hemispheric balance? Put simply, by using data. Marrying easily with creativity, data promotes the ideal mix of short-term activations and long-term impact. From pollen counts to traffic jams or social media, data can be fed into digital screens to optimise ads, meaning brands can widen their creative scope while data handles the ‘left brain’ impact.

A research piece from Talon looked at the effect of digital long-term holds on key metrics. The results indicated that screens with live feeds drove longer-term KPI’s such as perceptions and awareness more than those without, while also making creative impact. As an example, a recent campaign from McDonald’s, run by Talon and Grand Visual, mixed the heritage of their brand with live weather feeds. Data was fed into DOOH screens to create live 5-day forecasts for the screen’s location with well-loved McDonald’s products as the weather icons. The campaign therefore targeted the short-term activation but didn’t neglect the creative, creating a long-term impression by tapping into the product heritage.

Essentially, putting data into the limelight allows brands to be smarter and more innovative with their OOH creatives, building the bridge between left and right brain to ensure brands make impact now and in the long-term. Creativity doesn’t have to leave a sour taste.