In an empirical study using five real-world creative teams from an advertising agency, participants were given a strategic brief for a new beverage product and asked to design the layout for a print ad. Think-aloud concurrent protocols obtained from each teams copywriter, art director, and the two working together were analyzed to examine the creative process and its relationship to the created advertisement. Interpretive analyses of the protocols reveal that the teams access culturally available plot patterns but in different ways. In this study and with the particular materials and situational context explored here, four of the five teams chose to pursue a single mythic structure to the apparent detriment of their final product. Only one team engaged in fully diversified idea generation involving a wide range of alternative scenarios. Not coincidentally, as a tentative conclusion, this more flexible team produced the ad judged most successful by advertising professionals. This still-to-be-tested exploratory finding deserves further investigation in future research that embodies various methodological refinements.
Johar, Gita, Morris Holbrook, and Barbara Stern. "The Myth of Creative Advertising Design: Theory, Process, and Outcome." Journal of Advertising 30, no. 2 (Summer 2001): 1-25.
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