Creativity has little to do with craziness, chaos and hyper-exaggeration. It has everything to do with fresh, new and relevant ideas. Humor can add life to creativity because real humor stems from truth; from reality or it wouldn’t be funny.
The national and global brand advertising agencies have allowed a whole legion of inexperienced and perhaps marginally talented career people into their creative departments over the past decade, and it’s showing! There are of course notable exceptions, but all you need to do is watch or listen to ads produced by the major insurance brands like Liberty Mutual, Progressive, Geico, Farmers, State Farm… They seem to be racing to the bottom of creative quality.
Piling on Creative Trends
The style and tone of these big brand campaigns are the same – weird, chaotic, hyper-exaggerated attempts at grabbing attention or trying to be funny. Does any of it relate to your personal (and emotional) needs for insurance? You be the judge.
A fine exception is the Allstate “Mayhem” campaign. It makes sense and cuts to the heart of why we need to be insured. Personifying the stark side of reality is indeed a clever and humorous way to wake people up to the fact that insurance matters in their lives! Compare Mayhem’s relevancy and creative quality to that of “Doug and Emu” (Liberty Mutual). There is no comparison.
Raising the creative quality standards in advertising starts with giving audiences respect for having intelligence and creative thought of their own. If I were running a large national or global agency, my message for creative professionals would be this. There’s no need to scream for attention with outrageous fantasy and folly. Try instead to captivate us with great ideas and compel us to action with emotion-driven messages relevant to what matters in our lives.