In my over 15 years of experience as an award winning painter and Creative Director, during which I’ve had the chance to cooperate and come in contact with outstanding creatives and artists – The Ad Store’s founder Paul Cappelli, creative founding partner of TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris John Hunt, Kenian artist Cyrus Kabiru and Moyo Okedigi, Professor at the University of Texas, USA – I have juggled between galleries and ad agencies, and I see a very strong correlation between art and creativity.
As soon as the auctioneer dropped the gavel to confirm the sale of a Banksy painting, “Girl with Ballon”, for a whooping $1.4 million, an alarm went off and the frame started to shred the painting. London’s auction house, Sotheby had never ever seen such an enigma.
The art world stood in awe, Banksy the street artist had secretly hidden an in-built shredder in his painting back in 2006 but the spectacle at Sotheby happened in 2018.
Even though the staff at Sotheby deny any prior knowledge of the incident, many a people feel otherwise.
I wonder how the issue was resolved with the buyer of the painting seeing that the artwork had now taken a new form after the shredding.
This for me is a classic case of where art and creativity meet. And am sure I have raised someone’s eyebrows with an inquisitive look, imploring “Isn’t it one and the same thing?” This is an old age argument. A matter of what comes first, chicken or egg, a matter of who was the greatest between Tupac and Notorious B.I.G., Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi?
It is what it is
Wikipedia defines art as a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performing artifacts (artworks), expressing the author's imaginative, conceptual ideas, or technical skill, intended to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power. In their most general form these activities include the production of works of art, the criticism of art, the study of the history of art, and the aesthetic dissemination of art.
On the other hand, Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and somehow valuable is formed. The created item may be intangible (such as an idea, a scientific theory, a musical composition, or a joke) or a physical object (such as an invention, a literary work, or a painting).
Kevin Chung, artist and creator of marketingtrw.com writes -
“People often mistake creativity as an artistic endeavor. They believe artists are the only people who can be creative. After talking to many people about their projects and businesses, I can definitively say being artistic is not a pre-requisite for creative thinking.
Being artistic involves studying and practicing a specific skill set to produce a piece of art. Let's take a look at painters as an example. Painters study lines, shapes, textures, colors, and composition. Good painters use these elements to create their art. Without studying and understanding these elements, you could still create a painting, but you couldn't explain what makes it good or bad.
Creativity, on the other hand, focuses on the connection between unrelated things. Let's take a look at Elon Musk. He is often cited as the one of the world's most creative people. But he is not considered an artist by any traditional standards.
He is an entrepreneur, engineer, and inventor. He has built his companies by exploring unexpected connections. PayPal brought payment systems online. SpaceX is a private company built for space exploration. Tesla is attempting to make solar cars affordable to the masses. These ideas all existed before Elon created his companies, but he is working on them in massive scale.
In my opinion, art can be categorized into a select set of occupations and skill sets. Creativity can be employed by anyone. That doesn't mean one is better than the other, but it does mean they are distinct. Art usually requires creativity, but you don't need to be an artist to be creative.”
Art and Creativity is what every advertising agency should posses to grab that seat at the Cannes Lions, that Pencil or Giraffe award. It’s the heartbeat of advertising and branding.
It’s amazing what a simple looking brainstorm session can wrought.
There are some simple steps that I devised with a colleague, Ms Mwanza Mpepo to tackle every brief that comes to the agency.
I see ad agencies as doctors who come up with diagnosis for different “communication diseases”
The APIT Formula
The APIT Formula, which is an acronym for AIM, PROBLEM, INTUITION and TASK. It is a holistic approach employed to decipher our client problems as well as seamlessly execute any brand or campaign objectives. APIT Stems from apitherapy (noun) the use of products derived from bees as medicine, including venom, honey, pollen, and royal jelly.
Other factors to consider when crafting a campaign are -
You have to remember that your ad is competing with so many other ads out there. What will make your ad stand out is the uniqueness and the wow factor. The world is always looking for something new.
“Simplicity boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest - Leo Babauta.” Sometimes we stress so much in brainstorm sessions when the idea is just right under our nose. Keep it short and simple. People’s attention span is very short as they are bombarded with a lot of ads in a day.
Ads with a high level of artistic creativity contain aesthetically appealing verbal, visual, or sound elements. Their production quality is high, their dialogue is clever, their color palette is original, or their music is memorable. As a result, consumers often view the ads as almost a piece of art rather than a blatant sales pitch…
(Werner Reinartz, Director of the Center for Research in Retailing (IFH) and Professor of Marketing at the University of Cologne, researches firms’ customer strategies and is the author of Customer Relationship Management: Concept, Strategy, and Tools. Peter Saffert is a Research Associate at the University of Cologne in Germany.)
So keep those creative juices flowing!