Creativity vs. Effectiveness

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ARTHUR J. KOVER STEPHEN M. GOLDBERG AND WILLIAM L. JAMES

CREATIVITY VS. EFFECTIVENESS?
AN INTEGRATING CLASSIFICATION FOR ADVERTISING

In many agencies, advertising creativity and effectiveness seem almost antipathetic. This research explores consumers' emotional reactions to help define advertising perceived as both creative and effective. In doing this, the article also raises questions about some standard individual measures of advertising response, opting in addition for measures of emotional response.

ARTHUR J. KOVER
Professor Ford ham University

W

STEPHEN M. G O L D B E R G Associate Professor Fordham University

ithin the advertising industry, there seems to be a never-ending struggle between those who create the advertising ("creatives") and those advertising managers who insist that it be "effective." Advertising agencies exist, sometimes precariously, in unstable environments (Comanor et a l , 1981; Hirschman, 1989). Therefore, stability in both organization and output generally are preferred whenever possible by agency management. Management's goal is to have stable output which is predictable and "effective." Effectiveness, however, has many different dimensions by which it can be measured (Cook and Kover, forthcoming); the key element is some reliable measurement on We thank the comments and suggestions of Douglas Stayman, Joseph Priester, and particularly Bill Wells. Joseph Sirgy generously suggested a number of sources for persona! enhancement. This research was supported by a grant from the Research Committee, Graduate School of Business, Fordham University and a supplementary grant from Young & Rubicam, New York. Dom Rossi, then President of Ayer, New York, gave permission for the Agency to prepare edited and labeled videotapes without cost. Our thanks to all.

WILLIAM L, JAMES
Professor Hofsira University

which agency management and clients can concur. Usually, that measurement is an aspect of persuasion or (ideally) marketplace sales. Creatives, on the other hand, typically deride the criteria used by management and clients and allege they have Httle to do with the way advertising really works. Within a typical agency structure, the advertising product is formed by people in the "creative department." Creative people (copywriters and art directors) beheve that creativity is necessary for effectiveness, that the creative element pushes the message into viewers' minds. In fact, some even feel that creativity is effectiveness (Kover, 1995). This belief seems general despite a few creative people who believe that creativity is merely a front for self-indulgent "artistic" attempts (Bensman and Gerver, 1958; Ordahl, 1993). Therefore, as might be expected, many agency managers mistrust creative advertising. Creativity as defined by "the creatives" can be bothersome, costly, and timeconsuming. Creative advertising may win awards but may have little to do with advertising effectiveness (Gaylord, 1994). Creativity, after all, is unpredictable

Jojrnal of ADVERTISING RESEARCH—NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 199S

29

CREATIVITY

VS.

EFFECTIVENESS?

and can upset the appearance of stability and predictability that smoothes the lives of bureaucracies (Martin, 1994). The distinction between "effectiveness" and "creativity" is structural, reflecting different goals and needs of different departments (Ibarra, 1992). The motivation behind this research was to see if this distinction, an artifact of advertising agency structure, would continue to exist when consumers were exposed to the advertising. Can, in fact, the different "language games" (Wittgenstein, 1953) of creativity or effectiveness be joined by a new language that transcends both? How do consumers react to different kinds of advertising executions? Do they respond as those in the advertising business believe they will? Or is there another dimension of response that transcends and might include creativity and effectiveness as defined by...
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