Current Issue Summary
March 2021 (Vol. 61, Issue 1)
How Does Consumer Insight Support the Leap to a Creative Idea? Inside the Creative Process: Shifting the Advertising Appeal from Functional to Emotional
Commercials that strike an emotional chord are among the most memorable moments from, say, a Super Bowl broadcast. But what is it that pushes the message from the product’s utility or functionality to the emotional realm? And how far does the role of consumer insight (or human truths), gathered ahead of the creative process, actually influence the process? In researching answers to these questions, John Parker, Scott Koslow and Lawrence Ang (Macquarie University) and Alexander Tevi (Nottingham Trent University) explored implications for the best way to manage the creative process. Given the complexities involved, the creativity experts admit their work only scratches the surface, serving “as a critical exploration into what is possible rather than the last word.”
In a first-of-its-kind, controlled experiment, the researchers manipulated the consumer insight given to 60 Sydney-based, ad agency, creative professionals who were then asked to create an ad from that insight. The task (modeled from previous research [Kilgour and Koslow, 2009]) involved developing a TV ad and print ad against a fictitious creative brief for a pickup truck brand. Each participant received an experiment booklet with instructions on advertising objectives, target audience (farmers and tradesmen), proposition and product attributes. The booklets varied as to whether they contained a strong, a weak or a no-insight condition. From that, the strong insight adopted was “For tradesmen and farmers, their vehicle is a point of pride, like scars that prove one’s toughness.” The weak insight: was “Men do hard work.”
Among the takeaways:
- Consumer insights work by priming creative staff toward a human truth that holds an inherent tension that an attribute or benefit of the brand can resolve. But some primes are more influential than others.
- Consumer insight does not constrain creative staff to the original insight’s knowledge domain. Instead, it liberates them to pursue executional ideas related to, yet divergent from, the insight knowledge domain.
- Future research needs to understand insight in a wider context of advertising-strategy formation.
Read the full article here.