The constraints of traditional media can lead to some fantastic creative breakthroughs.
As marketers, we have more tools in our arsenal than ever. But as Nicola Brown asks in Skyword, are all those platforms and processes making us more creative?
Not necessarily, and may even be having the opposite effect. True creativity – the kind of breakthrough “wow” moments that make us all sit up and pay attention, comes when concept meets boundary…and pushes through.
As Brown explains, “psychological research tends to suggest that constraints make us more creative. Ironically, the more creative tools we have at our disposal, the less creative we tend to be with them.”
Marketers need constraints, and they find them in traditional physical media like print. Could this be why advertisers still make some of their best work on this old-school medium?
“In the age of AI, VR, long-form film and mobile wizardry, print advertising doesn’t get much respect anymore, said Tim Nud in Adweek. “Still, it remains a medium like no other—one that most purely distills the expression of an idea down to the writing and art direction, and one whose seeming limitations can make breakthrough executions feel that much more unexpected and delightful.”
Brown agrees, saying “the ‘limitations’ of the print medium in a digital age may actually be a driver of creative success. From newspaper ads, direct mail, and billboards to shareable photo opportunities, some of the past year’s most memorable campaigns revealed that the most out-of-the-box creative thinking often comes from grappling with the constraints of a singular, traditional format.”
Sharing some great examples from 2017, Brown makes her point. From the “in-your-face” ad from Snowbird Ski Resort to the stunning outdoor display that turned an entire building into an interactive campaign, advertisers are stepping up their game.
Like any medium, print is only boring if you are. With the rise in printing tech and prepress capabilities, your imagination really has no limits … even (or maybe especially) when your medium does. Let’s all raise the bar this year, on whatever medium we find ourselves using, and take those creative urges a few steps further.