Creatively Strategic

FRINGE22 Studio
Aug 18, 2017 · 4 min read

By Alfredo A. Weeks VI

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Strategy. Ahhh, my favorite word in the world. Strategy, it’s one of those words that makes me get out of bed in the morning. It gives me goose bumps when I hear it. There are those who design, then there those who have strong concepts and bring projects to life. Having the best of both worlds is what I wish more of us would strive for.

Conceptually, advertising and design have got me vexed. For five years we have seen how the “woke” ad campaigns have slowly disintegrated into a complete clutter of non-sense. Creative strategist are needed like yesterday.

There are tons of artists and designers out there, but, if you compare that number to the amount of people who have MBA’s and help businesses make a profit you’d be shocked. What are the right ways to bridge the right, and left brain thinkers. The eccentric artist versus the reserved accountant corporate type. I’m waiting for the day when I meet the eccentric accountant who is damn good at their job. On the flip side, what about the more business minded strategic artists. The more we get strategic creative types, the better the advertising and graphic design industry gets at making it’s clients money.

Creative strategy takes an extra step in explaining the logic behind brand and business development, as well as how creativity is connected with a business’s growth and profits. Too many designers, artists, and ad executives shy away or get a pass from the business part of the creative process. Today a good designer isn’t going to cut it. Yet, a strategic thinker who is a great designer will definitely pay off in the long run.

Give me research or give me death to a project. That should be the motto for many of these campaigns out here.

Honestly, I started feeling sorry for the consumers. All of the different “woke” ads that have failed, were clearly because Ad agencies didn’t do their homework. Some agencies didn’t even understand why campaigns failed until after the public clapped back in the worst way.

Get your strategy down. It helps when designers, planners, business execs and entrepreneurs understand creative direction and process.

Give me research or give me death to a project. That should be the motto for many of these campaigns out here. While the follow up is making the story look interesting through design.

My mind is blown by how some agencies destroy campaigns. For critiquing purposes lets take a look at Pepsi. Now, everyone remembers the Pepsi ad with Kendall Jenner. Yes, the world hated it. Just a couple google searches would have told you “don’t do this commercial!”

Now, for real, who is doing the research here. I’d like to make a quick shout out to Pepsi to say you guys did a great job in wasting your money. Yeah, I know it happened a few months ago but that commercial was literally the worst example of creative strategy I can remember in recent times. Then Vogue India did it again with the same exact person.

If you would have spoken to the first “woke” looking activist type you would have been able to stear clear of all of this Kendall Jenner shananagins. Shout out to all of my activists.

I’m just saying, you dont taste dirt when you do your research.

When will these agencies start going out and seeking individuals who are socially invested in the message of their campaign. If companies are willing to spend millions on these projects, air time, specialists and countless other people behind the scenes, they should do their homework. It’s not all about playing it safe but more importantly playing it smart. Back to the basics.

Take a look at the latest Proctor and Gamble campaign “The Talk”. Lets not forget, advertising is made to sell and promote products and ideals. Basically transferring value from one group to another. Authenticating your message with something real and heart felt is the name of the game.

“The Talk” ad campaign does just that. It gave insight into conversations black parents have, or have had with their kids about day to day interactions, stereotypes and altercations with their black identity. However some may, or may not like the ad, but the commercial didn’t stray far from reality for many. The ad doesn’t only serve as a tool for empathy, but also tells how discrimination is an issue that everyone should be aware of in order to check their own biases.

Did the Proctor and Gamble commercial bring something authentic? Yes. Was it creative? I think so. Is it every black persons reality? Maybe not.

Strategy takes a lot of guts and grit, but mostly conviction in your concepts.

At the and of the day you can’t win them all. But one thing I do know for sure is that they had to do a serious amount of research to get it in some ways correct.

Strategy gave them the confidence and the will to run this ad and back it up with research. You can see it on Proctor and Gambles twitter feed. No matter how many people who couldn’t stand the ad, Proctor and Gamble didn’t fall for the bait to dispute whether this ad campaign was worth the risk.

All I ask is if and when you agencies out there go after some kind of message-heavy ad, make sure the risk is worth taking. Strategy takes a lot of guts and grit, but mostly conviction in your concepts. Thinking of almost every route that a project could go wrong helps, while keeping ready a couple of one liners to deflect all the haters. Always trust your gut do your research.


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