Agencies spill their viewpoints on originality

Advertisers and agencies all strive for a clear, common goal: to provide the most creative and ‘original’ approach to marketing.

But in light of recent events, it leaves the industry to question just how much of the work produced are actually original?

Is originality a dead concept to agencies? Or just not that important anymore?

A+M did some mucking around and spoke with a few agency leaders on their thoughts.

Aaron Cowie, CEO of TBWA Group Malaysia:

Of course originality still has a role, the industry in general is original. For a lot of instances, ideas evolve and change, living in an entirely different form.

Not just locally, but globally, originality has become an improvement of something that pre-existed a long time ago. Totally original things do come up every now and then, but they’re rare. A great idea takes something that exists and brings it to the next level.

Andy Miller, CEO of Vizeum Media Services:

In terms of originality, I think almost everything can be dated back to someone else having used it. The matter of originality is creativity. Advertising needs to do is get into people’s minds and create something that makes them look at something ordinary differently. Creativity is doing something that sticks in the mind.

The way the human mind works is such that you have to have something outstanding to be remembered. Ultimately, that’s what creativity is: pushing boundaries. When you push new boundaries, new ideas are born.

If you see something everyday, you almost take it for granted and won’t be able to recall its details. However, when you see something that slaps you in the face and make you think ‘wow – that’s so shocking and amazing’, you’ll remember it. That’s creativity.

Leister Yam, managing director and creative director of Mega Advertising:

I think execution plays a big role in expressing originality. The concept and big idea can be very simple,  but a fresh and novel execution is what really makes the difference. 

All great advertisements and TVCs  have simple themes and appeal to human nature, it’s their execution that makes it outstanding. Also, I think that we have to consider consumer behaviour nowadays and the changing times. Audiences now want to interact, they want to participate in the advertisement and not just be a passive receiver of information.  Originality is probably a fluid concept, I don’t think things can be original anyway.

Terence Ooi, general manager of Alpha245:

We certainly strive for originality, but at the end of the day, great minds think alike.

The ideation and thought process is something important and it is our job as advertisers to ensure our products are creative and original. However, we see lots of similar campaigns out there, because realistically ideas are a finite commodity especially in similar product categories.  If you can think of an idea, so can someone else. Like I said, great minds think alike. So, it’s basically a race to see whose idea sees the day of light first.

Creative work rarely comes so forward as to “slap us in the face” these days, as Miller would like. The creative industry has also expanded by heaps, with talents bringing their ideas into a new positions to “evolve and change, living in an entirely different form,” as Cowie so stresses. But still, there needs to be a standard; if not in the conceptualisation process, definitely in the “execution, because that’s what really makes the biggest difference,” as shared by Yam. Lastly, as presented by Ooi, “great minds do, indeed, think alike.”

What do you think? We want to hear from you.

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