Constraints for Creativity
What can we learn from Shirley Polykoff? What
can we learn from Leo Burnett? What can we
learn from Rosser Reeves?
What constraints structure the creativity problem in advertising? At least three—an overall goal constraint (selling), a constant task constraint (the product), and a specific goal constraint (the selling promise or strategy). In this chapter, I call them the Goal, the Product, and the Strategic Constraint. We'll look at each separately and then see how three creative greats combined the three—selling products via strategic promises.
The primary goal constraint in advertising is functional. The function is to persuade you (and me) to buy a product, elect a person, visit a place.
Any ad that gets you to buy X, me to vote Y, or us to visit Z meets the minimum creativity criteria—usefulness. More creative is one that generates its own variants (called pool-outs in the business), one that becomes a continuing, convincing campaign. Most creative is the truly influential campaign that changes a domain, either the product domain or the domain of advertising itself.