Archive for November 22nd, 2008


Bloody Soup



Lack of creativity


By Louai Alasfahani

What is creativity?

Creativity is the capacity each of us has to imagine new and useful solutions to problems.

The word creativity itself is based on – the act of creation; the result of using the imagination rather than routine skills to come out with a truly innovative idea meaning that – if the right brain produces it and the left brain endorses it then it is a creative idea.


“Imagination is more important than knowledge” – Albert Einstein.


Edward de Bono defines the process as “when a low probability line of thought leads to an effective idea, there is a Eureka moment and at once the low-probability acquires the highest probability” – also known as Lateral thinking.

What is advertising?

According to the media philosopher Marshal McLuhan “it is the art form of the 20th century” but many argue that it is more than just that – Advertising is also the most controversial of the elements and techniques of marketing communications as it is a unique blend of social science, art, technology, and craft It is a social science because it is always aimed at people, and psychology, sociology, and anthropology have much to offer to the construction of effective communications – It is an art because it deals with forms and requires awareness of and sensitivity to the visual language of people and places – It is a technology because it is always produced by industrial means and it is a craft because the technology used requires an understanding that cannot rely exclusively on the machines that implement it hence advertising is both emotional and rational, both an entertainment and a way of conveying information which is why advertising has successfully attracted artists, intellectuals, movie directors, politicians, poets, hard-headed businessmen…and controversy.


Advertising Power

Even though the true power of advertising lies in its ability to transmit messages; however it is the nature of the message being transmitted that determines whether advertising can succeed or not – that is when creativity kicks in so that the message gets the desired attention within the dominating clutter and noise present in the media.


“When love and skill work together expect a masterpiece” – John Ruskin.


Creativity in advertising

Since creativity is an essential ingredient in Advertising then without it there will be no message differentiation and without message differentiation every ad would look just like the next.


“When all think alike, then no one is thinking” – Walter Lipmann.


If an advertisement is not creative then it is most probably a copya thing made just like another usually executed by a copy catan imitator; if the idea of the advertisement is not new then it is considered as a ClichéOriginally a French term, now used elsewhere in Europe, for a stereotype or electrotype.


“Creativity is finding new things…or expressing old truths in new ways” – Roger vol Oech


It is also essential that all advertisements produced be original in order not to violate copyright laws. 😉


Advertisement design

Is an intellectual, sensitive, and practical discipline, requiring many levels of human activity: power of analysis, sensitivity to difference, mental flexibility, interpersonal skills, clarity of judgment, visual sensitivity, cultural awareness, and technical knowledge and in today’s society where information is a key commodity, the importance of visual communication design is only limited by the quality of the designers.


“The well of creativity never runs dry…as long as you go to it” – Dr. Orval C. Butcher


“Man’s mind once stretched by a new idea…never regains its original dimension” – Oliver Wendell Holmes


“Creative minds have always been known to survive any kind of bad training”


Important question

“Why are agencies operating in the Middle East – both local and internationally affiliated performing so poorly in the international arena in the core discipline of creativity?” 


Disturbing fact

Even though International creativity awards instantly disqualify copy cats, clichés badly written or badly executed work – copy cats continue to win local and regional creativity awards. 

“You can tell the ideals of a nation by its advertisements” – Norman Douglas. 😉 


The blame game

Some agencies blame their own clients reluctance in taking calculated risks in indorsing new thought provoking creative ideas referring to Jorge Pensi quote; 

“The client is the first input of the creative process the person responsible for making the designer “believe” in the inspiration before the first mental images appear” and that “it takes two to tango” while other agencies blame the industry governing bodies for the lack of a binding code-of-ethics or even the government for that matter for ineffective enforcement of the copyright laws protecting intellectual property but never blaming themselves.


Clients of some agencies are often quick in shifting the blame to their own customers/consumers accusing them of lack of sophistication or intelligence and that they lack the ability to comprehend a creative message or concept targeted at them.


Some clients even go as far as blaming their own agency of record for that lack of creativity forgetting the fact that they have chosen that particular agency in a long process of pitches and presentations!!!


Improvement starts with “I”

Whichever is the single or combined cause one might believe is directly attributed to the current state of lack of creativity and the evident widespread of copy cats and clichés that plague an industry which advocates creativity as a corner stone in its foundation; passionate industry professionals know that this state can be reversed by a number of ways which include but are not limited to the following:

  • Admitting that the problem exists.
  • Practicing self-regulation.
  • Recruiting talented individuals and providing them with the tools and opportunities to create. Reprimanding effectively those who copy or imitate; as in business “Imitation is NOT the most sincere form of admiration”.
  • Refusing to accept telepathy as an excuse from a busted copy cat – creative’s are hired to create not to copy; Copy cats are imitators; the distinction is clear.
  • Reduce dependency on stock libraries and clip arts and instead work towards differentiating the client messages from those of his competitors.  


John Townsend & Jacques Favier. The Creative Manager’s Pocket book. Management Pocket books, 1991.


Jorge Frascara. Communication Design Principles, Methods, and Practice. Allworht Press, 2004.


Frank Jefkins. Advertising Third Edition. M+E Handbooks. 1994.


Louai Alasfahani

ANUBIS was a very old god of the ancient Egyptians, universally worshipped throughout the land and became considered the gatekeeper and ruler of the underworld; the “Guardian of the veil“ he was “Lord of the Cleansing Room” and the opener of the roads of the North. “He observed the weighing of the deceased’s heart against the feather of Maat [Truth] and reported his findings to the jury of the gods.


Skype: louai.asfahani

Oman Mobile: +968 94 009977

Kuwait Mobile: +965 66 009977

QR Code


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Creative Commons

Power 150 Power 150 Badge

Blog Stats

  • 364,987 hits


November 2008
« Oct   Dec »



Poll Dady


%d bloggers like this: