There is a gap in the literature of advertising that highlights the current lack of development of theories and practices of advertising creativity—resulting in a state of knowledge that is highly tentative and disconnected (Smith and Yang, 2004: 32).
We review the literature and bridge this gap by combining two steps. First, since insufficient systematic empirical knowledge is available in the field of advertising creativity, we assume that we may approach an adequate framework of the creativity process by borrowing from other fields. These approaches often suggest that creativity emerges from the basic elements of surprise and regularity. An appropriate balance between the two elements underlies creative ads, though whether ads that win awards are also necessarily effective in the marketplace, has also been debated in previous research. Second, in implementing these views, methods of creativity enhancement are subsequently reviewed. They can be divided into methods that advocate a random process, based on the assumption that there is a high degree of chance in coming up with a winning creative idea, and methods advocating bounded regularity that are analytical and focused rather than random or blind. Finally, Surprise and regularity have been found to sustain a constructive tension in the creativity process and therefore should guide the development of conceptual thinking and methods for designing creative ads.
Goldenberg, Jacob, and David Mazursky. "Creativity in Advertising." In Handbook of Advertising. Ed. Gerard Tellis. London: SAGE (forthcoming).
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