Advertising has been in market since early 1700’s. Benjamin Franklin is the father of advertising. In 1729 in the Pennsylvania gazette of Philadelphia he published the first advertisement. By 1784, many publications banned advertising while few limited the advertisement space to only one column width. In 1870, there were many publications with advertising columns as there were over 6,000 publications in circulation. Advertising picked up very fast, and by the year of 1900’s, it was a booming business activity. Currently, advertising requires a lot of creativity in order for advertiser to survive in competitive market.
Advertisement is an aspect of promoting a product or services to specifically targeted audience. It is, essentially, a way, in which a manufacturer or a seller of a particular product communicates with their actual and potential buyers by using different media. Creativity is the tendency to generate, recognize and use new ideas to solve problems or to communicate with others. Generalization of new ideas is required in order to create a creative advertisement. New here means that advertisement should be different and unique. Generated ideas solve communication problem.
In advertising, creativity plays a major role in enhancing its effectiveness. Major awards in the industry went to creative ads, and best creative personnel receive high salaries from the ads agencies. Individuals are said to be creative if they produce ideas that differ from others and that convey a certain message. An advertisement that is creative to one group may not be creative to others (Smith & Young, 2004). Creativity plays a major role in advertisement planning, right from resource allocation till the actual campaign (Journal of advertising 1993). Creativity is the mission of the entire advertising industry (Riordan, Sasser & Riordan 2007).
Creativity has been and still is the backbone of advertising since the 19th century. Advancement in technology and changes, in time, has changed the way advertisement was back then. As times changed, the way of advertisement needed adjustments since it would not make sense for a business that has a well-defined philosophy and does not incorporate its advertisement criterion (Johnson 2011). Advertisements can be perfect without creativity; however, such ads are subject to imitation by other players in the market. This will only attract apathy from public members. Creativity helps to overcome this imitation problem. It enables customers to notice brands easily and, therefore, play a major role in decision-making on whether or not to purchase a product.
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Practitioners’ view of creativity differs from the customers’ view. Gaps exist between what the customer perceive to be creative and what the practitioners deliver as creative ads to the customer. For practitioners, creativity is what makes the advertisement reach its objectives as far as clients are concerned, while for the customer creativity is whether an advertisement is applicable to their needs (Caruna, Kover and West 2004). There are five theories that attempt to explain creativity in advertising.
The first one is the psychoanalytical theory of creativity. The main proponents of this theory are Freud, Jung, Rank, Adler, and Hammer. They argue that people become creative as they try to respond to difficult circumstances in the environment or when their emotions are repressed. They also argue that a feeling of inferiority may lender one to be creative. However, this theory fails to put into consideration the social aspect of human being. In addition, creativity doesn’t depend on circumstances, but on current customer needs.
The second one is the mental illness theory. This theory holds that certain types of mental illness are necessary as they promote creativity, even if the illness is mild. However, other theories have argued that illness interferes with creativity. Thirdly is the Eysenk’s theory. This theory argues that creativity is associated with aggressive and assertive people.
Another theory is the addiction theory. This theory suggests that addiction to drugs such as alcohol stimulates and contributes greatly to creativity. There were studies conducted that link addictions to creativity. Finally, is the humanistic theory. This theory argues that human beings become creative as they strive to achieve the highest human needs. It argues that human beings tend to be creative after they have met their basic needs.