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McStay Creativity and Advertising talk


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Slides from the talk given at Falmouth University on Friday 9th May 2014.

Published in: Marketing, Business, Technology
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McStay Creativity and Advertising talk

  2. 2. o Centrality of creativity o Industry perspectives o Combinatorial perspectives o Towards an embodied, sensational and less ‘text’- oriented account o Creativity and emergent media o Empathic media o Briefing #CreativityAndAffect #MediaNotBlankVehicles #EmpathicMedia
  3. 3. Industry perspectives. Creativity… o Often an agency’s calling card o Clients: seeking growth, fortune, intangible brand assets, awareness, action and to persuade
  4. 4. Industry perspectives. Creativity entails… o Jeremy Bullmore, the “Mad Inventor” (contrasted with “Time-and- Motion Man”). o John Hegarty, ‘adjust the viewer’s perspectives in some way, either attitudinal or visual’ … ‘breaking something down and putting something new in its place’… ‘Write less, say more’ o David Ogilvy, ‘the work I have to do between now and Tuesday’. o Stanley Resor, ‘everything else is plumbing’ o Leo Burnett ‘If you insist in being different just for the sake of being different, you can always come down in the morning with a sock in your mouth’. o Raymond Rubicam, ‘resist the usual’ o William Bernbach, ‘research kills creative ideas’… ‘both parties might as well enjoy the process’ o Paul Arden, ‘rely less on safe decisions that go only to familiar places’ o Dave Trott, ‘that creative briefs harm the creative process’
  5. 5. Combinatorial perspectives o Semiotic approaches (most often critical) o Bisociation (industry): the distinction between the routine skills of thinking on a single ‘plane’ and the creative act that operates on more than one plane’ (Koestler, 1970 [1964]: 35). o Creativity in advertising: divergence and convergence #CombinatorialCreativity
  6. 6. Bisociative (industry perspective)
  7. 7. Critical (semiotics)
  8. 8. Transformational creativity • Not just playing with existing elements, but redefining how practice is done and entailing a new structure and paradigm. • Arguably, only seen twice in advertising: – 1960s, Bernbach, DDB (new working practices, levels of humour, playfulness, layouts, sophistication, or what we can now define in terms of playful and reflective ‘meta-communication’ [talking with rather than at]) – Behavioural, empathic and technological dimensions: represents not only bisociation of computer science, profiling and personalising experiences of advertising (heterogeneity), but more centrally involves the creation of a new order, structure and paradigm in which advertising is done. #BeyondCombinations #CreativityasRedescription
  9. 9. Embodied creativity o Not “what we do we think”, but “how do we feel?” o Persuasion – sensation – affect o Combinatory analyses pass over in silence situated and experiential dimensions of advertising o Towards affect (non-cognitive, visceral and more inclusive of the body) o Also opens up multi-sensory persuasion rather than hegemony of the visual o Not just speculative – check out Royal Mail DM services
  10. 10. An affective approach recognises ‘qualia’  Qualia… quality advertising… positive affective distinctiveness For the diligent and philosophically inclined: read up on John Seale and ‘qualia’
  11. 11. Events (terminology) (Or fancy ways of talking about everyday occurences) • Beyond (but including) combinatorial creativity  Advertising: not merely a symbolic industry, but an affective industry – comprised of a specific character, tone and sensation (think back to McDonalds example) • That which stimulates before we intellectually process #CreativityAsAffectiveEvent
  12. 12. A renewal of aesthetics • affective experience, interaction, embodiment, co- creation, emotional faculties and felt experiences of contemporary creative advertising • Philosopher John Dewey: – ‘An experience has a unity that gives it that name, that meal, that storm, that rupture of friendship. The existence of this unity is constituted by a single quality that pervades the entire experience’ (2005 [1934]: 38 [emphasis in original]). • Or as philosopher Gaston Bachelard puts it, – a poetic or creative image ‘has touched the depths before it stirs the surface’ (1994 [1958]): xxiii). • The point: cognition is a response to an event that has largely already taken place
  13. 13. It should be said of all art that, in relation to the percepts or visions they give us, artists are presenters of affects, the inventors and creators of affects. They not only create them in their work, they give them to us and make us become with them, they draw us into the compound. (Philosophers: Giles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, 2011 [1994]: 175)
  14. 14. Machinic advertising • “Audiences” are not spectators, they are productive parts of events • Ads are not texts to be ‘read’ from a distance, but agencies produce ‘bodies’ that interact and perform • The materiality and phenomenology of involvement: kinaesthetics, participation, interaction and engagement
  15. 15. Being a bad semiotics student • Dissecting from a distance • Beyond representation • Problems with semiotics for advertising: – Decontextualisation: by taking advertising out of its context we offer it up to passive analysis that has little interest in the sensational dynamics of the field from which an image (and it is nearly always visual) is drawn. #DissectingFromaDistance
  16. 16. Failure of semiotics o Does not take into account capacity for affect o Does not take into account the context of advertising  because it utterly fails to address the role of media (indeed, it willfully ignores it [see for example semiotician of advertising, Judith Willamson,1978])
  17. 17. Affordances and media ecologies • Affordances = properties (what something allows you to do with it) – How might media be understood, harnessed, reformulated and used a means of sensational expression? (Not just ‘social media’, but Google Earth and other less obvious media) • Historically, all good artists and creatives intimately know their media • Creatives as hackers #MediaEcologicalCreativity
  18. 18. Media ecologies (an interest in interconnection and how things link together to form wholes greater than the sum of their parts)
  19. 19. o Transformation o Re-packaging applications o Creating non-standard media objects o Repurposing o Interconnections/ecologies o Hacking of media-use assumptions
  20. 20. #MediaNotBlankVehicles #MediaEcologicalCreativity o Coca Cola Hilltop 2.0 (Google, Johannes Leonardo and Grow Interactive) o Subservient Chicken (now a mockumentary) o Also see: Melotweet for Evian
  21. 21. VW Video #foxatplanetaterra • Less about interruption as with traditional advertising commercial • More about co-creative events (human>human; human>machine; machine>machine) • ‘Transductive’ character: that quality that retrospectively is seen to emerge at different phases, points and levels within the event, and bind all of these together. #CreativityasAffectiveEvent #BeyondCombinations
  22. 22. Practical points (with some apologies for excess philosophy!) o Combinatorial perspectives work to an extent, but redefinition better o Affect, events, place, qualia, quality, sensations, uniqueness o Media matters o Re-definition/repurposing/hacking of assuptions o Media ecologies
  23. 23. Towards the task for today: What affordances and opportunities are granted by empathic media? o Empathy: o the capacity to sense, interpret and act on the emotional state of others, what is significant for others, to make use of people’s intentions and expressions o Thus, empathic media entail: o the capacity for near and remote machines to pick up on the emotional state of people, their intentions, their expressions and actions, along with behavioural cues, and act on them. o Empathic advertising: execution of highly relevant advertising targeted by what people are doing in their living rooms, or elsewhere, in view of empathic media. #EmpathicMedia
  24. 24. Methods and Systems for Presenting an Advertisement Associated with an Ambient Action of a User (US Patent & Trademark Office, 2012 )
  25. 25. Analytical tools include motion capture and analysis technologies, gesture recognition technologies, facial recognition technologies, voice recognition technologies, and acoustic source localization technologies. These will be employed to detect actions including movements, motions, gestures, mannerisms of people in a room, location of people, proximity of people to others, persons’ physical attributes (for example size, build, skin color, hair length, facial features), one or more voice attributes (for example tone, pitch, inflection, language, accent, amplification) associated with persons’ voices, physical surroundings (for example one or more physical objects proximate to and/or held by people), and/or any other suitable information associated with people present. Pets, products, brands, decorative style, objects (for example photographs and pictures) and other animate or non-animate objects are also to be scanned and profiled. The set-top box will determined with people present are adults or children by means of the physical attributes of the user, determine the identity of the user (based on the physical and/or voice attributes of profiled persons), determine a user's mood (based on the user's tone of voice, mannerisms, demeanor, and so on). Should more than one person be in the room, the set-top box will analyse the received data to obtain information associated with each user individually and/or the group of users as a whole. So, for example, if the system detects a user is stressed then it may deliver advertisements for relaxation products. Likewise, if a domestic argument or disagreement is taking place, the system may deliver advertisements for marriage or relationship counseling. (McStay, 2014/forthcoming)
  26. 26. Task! MA Students: by 1pm please prepare structured thoughts/mini-presentation on the implications of empathic media for creative advertising and creative advertisers. Some questions: o What opportunities are afforded by empathic media? o Do they represent a threat to the creative advertising industry? o How should creative advertising respond to such high levels of behavioural targeting and heterogeneous experience? o Please develop other questions and answers of your own.
  27. 27. • Arden, P. (2006) Whatever You Think Think The Opposite. London: Penguin. • Bachelard, G. (1994 [1958]) The Poetics of Space. Boston: Beacon Press Books. • Bogusky, A. and Winsor, J. (2009) Baked In. B2Books: Chicago. • Bullmore, J. (2006) Apples, Insights and Mad Inventors. London: Wiley. • Dewey, J. (2005 [1934]) Art as Experience. New York: Perigee Books. • Cracknell, A. (2011) The Real Mad Men. London: Quercus. • DDB (2012) Bill Bernbach said…,, date accessed 6 August 2012. • Deleuze, G. and Guattari, F. (2011 [1994]) What is Philosophy? London: Verso. • Dewey, J. (2005 [1934]) Art as Experience. New York: Perigee Books. • Hegarty, J. (2011) Hegarty on Advertising: Turning Intelligence into Magic. London: Thames & Hudson. • Koestler, A. (1970 [1964]) The Act of Creation. London: Pan Piper. • Lindstrom, M. (2005) Brand Sense: Sensory Secrets Behind The Stuff We Buy. London: Kogan Page. • McStay, A. (2009) Digital Advertising. London: Palgrave-Macmillan. • McStay, A. (2011) The Mood of Information: A Critique of Online Behavioural Advertising. New York: Continuum. • McStay, A. (2013) Creativity and Advertising: Affect, Events and Process. London: Routledge. • McStay, A. (in production/2014) Privacy and Philosophy Media: New Media and Affective Protocol. New York: Peter Lang. • McStay, A. (2014a) Advertisers look with empathy into your front room, • Ogilvy, D. (1985) Ogilvy on Advertising. New York: Random House. • Searle, J.R. (1997) The Mystery of Consciousness. London: Granta Books. • Trott. D. (2009) Creative Mischief. London: Loaf. • Whitehead, A.N. (1985 [1929]) Process and Reality: Corrected Edition. New York: Free Press. • Williamson, J. (1978) Decoding Advertisements: Ideology and Meaning in Advertising. London: Boyars.