Although superficially, creativity can come across as a warm, cuddly and fantastical topic, the reality is quite different. Creativity can, and has been, changing society faster than any other discipline out there.
‘Creativity drives awareness in a far stronger way than any other approach you can use’ – Terry Savage, Cannes Lions Chairman
Against a backdrop of economic turmoil, global warming and unprecedented change, we’re turning to a new hero to help us look toward a brighter future. The creative industry has the ability to solve problems in a fresh, unorthodox and unbiased way. It widens perspectives on a global scale and speaks to the hearts and minds of people directly. Rather than presenting a warped story or twisted political agenda to the public, it has been working away humbly to convey hard and fast facts and inspire progression towards a better world.
In the past year alone, creativity has enabled Corona to make waves and shout about the world’s ocean plastic crisis, Greenpeace to make children aware of the destructive effect business’ use of palm oil is having on rainforest wildlife and Old Mout to help save Kiwi birds from extinction. It’s allowed Maltesers to help the public normalize disability, Heathrow, Coca- Cola and Volvo to spread the joy of pride across the globe and LadBible to raise awareness about the area of accumulative plastic trash the size of France that is polluting the Pacific Ocean.
‘Good’ creativity isn’t just a fad. Reuben Turner (Founder of Good agency) calls this surge a ‘seismic shift’ and tells Creative Conscience that ‘young consumers are less concerned with acquiring material possessions because they are faced with unprecedented crises that simply cannot be ignored – climate change, refugees, inequality’. This means that brands now need to speak to an audience that doesn’t care about creative communication unless it can add meaning to their daily lives. Havas London’s deputy ECD Elliot Harris spoke to Creative Conscience about how Vanish managed to pull off this transition. They went from being a company who talked very functionally about stain removal, to an organization that’s asking the public to ‘love clothes for longer’ – helping reduce clothing waste in landfill and therefore making themselves relevant once again.
Recent research has discovered that the vast majority of people would not bat an eyelid if 74% of brands disappeared, hence why the work that brands are putting out there has to be relevant to consumers’ lives. Havas’ work on ‘meaningful brands’ has demonstrated that companies willing to build these aforementioned ‘meaningful’ connections with customers outperformed other companies by 206% between 2006 and 2016. This is because customers are willing to pay more for brands that are making a difference – by taking a ‘good’ stance creatively, companies are driving awareness as well as building revenue. ‘Good’ creativity is proving to be a win-win approach.
The ability to think creatively will be our saving grace in tomorrow’s world; it’s one of the only things AI will never be able to take from us. The ability to have a unique conversation with the person opposite you and pluck human truths out of thin air is where we find ‘good’ creativity, something a machine will never be able to manage. Thanks to a woman called Marcelle Shriver’s innate human creativity, hundreds and thousands of cans of silly string are now deployed overseas to army troops to spray over doorways to ensure they don’t contain deadly traps or explosives – ingenious, world-class creativity that is most definitely neither warm, cuddly nor fantastical.
Chrissy Levett (founder of Creative Conscience) and Shannie Mears (founder of The Elephant Room) are championing introducing creativity into our education system as a more recognised and appreciated skill. We need to change the perception that creativity means finger painting in primary and studying Picasso in secondary school and scrap the notion that creative subjects are for the underachievers who haven’t met the grades for maths or science. Creativity is about solving the problems that computers cannot on a universal scale, and that’s what we need to be teaching the pioneers of tomorrow.
Written by Rosie May Bird Smith