The million dollar question and one I thought would be an interesting one to give some thought to.
Can you be effective and creative?
The simple answer is yes and if you want instant proof, talk to Lewis Moberly.
They've been winning awards at the highest level of effectiveness (DEA's) and creativity (D&AD) since they were invented.
But, it's not as simple as that, is it? This is a definition of 'creativity' based around winning awards from your peers. A worthwhile and rewarding endeavour, but a narrow interpretation.
By definition, as consultants, we are commissioned by our clients to solve problems. Our first, and in my opinion only responsibility, is to the impact or change what we have been tasked to achieve. To that end the creativity we use has to be tailored to a vast array of criteria and by definition, the more complex the problem, the less sexy the client and the tougher the audience, the more creative you're going to have to be. But this level of 'creativity' will never win a D&AD. It's not been designed to do that. It's been created to conqueror a host of other less glamorous but no less meaningful challenges that will ideally result in success and a quantifiable ROI.
Creativity has to have purpose. To put a smile on someone’s face. To make you think. To surprise. To sell more of something. To save a life. To win awards.
If a client wants to win 'creative' awards with a piece of work as well as solving the more mundane business problems outlined in the brief. No problem. There are more creative awards out there than you can shake a stick at. If any creative company worth their salt puts their mind and resource to it, they can undoubtedly win some. The more prestigious the award however, the harder the team will have to work, the more hours they will have to put in to that killer idea and the exquisite craft necessary to win. That extra level of complexity takes time and expensive expertise. And in our line of business, that costs money.
Here lies the rub. Award winning creativity and effectiveness at the highest level is possible, but it's the Holy Grail, as it generally requires time and money. That extra budget needed to push the boundaries of creativity further to win an award, unless the agency invests its time for free, is difficult to justify. Especially if the problem can be solved and the business target reached with a simpler, well designed, but cost effective solution.
So, to all those who have ever asked the million dollar question. Your consultants are highly creative. They consistently and effectively solve your problems day in, day out, working with the hard earned budgets you've allocated. If you want them to win creative awards as well as deliver results, they can do it, but be prepared to dig deep.