Feed the Creatives

Feed the Creatives
Brian McHale
Feed the Creatives

Being a “creative” is more than being a designer or copywriter or creative director. We’re strategic thinkers. And the more information you feed us, the stronger our campaigns will be. Fill our plates with these things, and we can cook up effective, strategic creative.

Consumer Insights

Definitely tell us who we’re talking to, including the media target’s demographic (age, sex, income) and psychographic (interests, lifestyle, habits). But if you want advertising that really strikes a chord and moves consumers to care about your brand, provide consumer insights. If there’s not room in the budget to cull consumer insights through market research or data analytics, the next best thing is an assumed consumer belief, or what we call an ACB.

Say your target audience is middle-aged dads who religiously watch football. That’s an observation. Why do they watch football? Because it’s a break from the daily grind. Because it’s a chance to catch up with their buddies. Because they’re past their athletic prime but still love the game. Those are consumer insights or ACBs. They’re the why.

Product benefit insights are also incredibly helpful. Consider a packaged food brand. They identify their media target as moms in their 30s. They’re busy and they feel guilty when they can’t make a meal at home for their families (the consumer insight). The packaged food provides a shortcut, which helps lessen busyness, and makes family dinner possible, which takes away guilt (the product benefit insight).


Running an ad. Sending an email. Tweeting. Those aren’t strategies. Those are tactics. They’re executional. And they’re still really important. But for the best work, give us something meatier to chew on. Feed us strategy, the sum of all those parts. Think about it in terms of goal, strategy, objective and tactics.

Your goal might be to increase revenue this fiscal year. To achieve that goal, your strategy is to break into a new market. Your objective is the measurable result, such as gain a certain percentage of the market share. And tactics are how you break into that market–with ads, emails, tweets. When creatives know the strategy, we can come up with the best ideas for reaching the media target and ensure consistent messaging across all channels.

The best strategy is also rooted in insight. Take the Jolly Rancher campaign, Keep on Sucking. Millennials often take to social media with complaints, because #adultingishard. According to Bill Blubaugh, Senior Director at Hershey, that led to the insight that due to limited means, life for 18 to 24 year olds is particularly sucky. Which led to the strategy of embracing the suckiness, which led to the big idea of, “Keep on sucking.” It’s a perfect example of cross-departmental collaboration gone right.