Friday, June 13, 2008

Creativity is limitless. But knowing your limits creates innovative ideas.

If you were to have all the money in the world, what would you spend it on? I don’t think it’s an easy question to answer. Give me $10k, $500k, 1mill and I’ll reel off a shopping list for easy category – I have a limit. I think everybody is capable of great ideas, in many ways this is the easy part. But I believe the key to generating innovative executions, is in the deep understanding of the limits, the paddock you have to play in.

Apply this to online advertising. In responding to a client brief. A great brief offers detailed insights, target audience and clear objectives that provide us with boundaries to work within. You expect that they are S.M.A.R.T. and you hope the funnel isn’t too big or too small to filter your ideas and response. You have several ‘limitation buckets’ that are defined for you –

- The Client – their understanding and enthusiasm for digital, their budget, their previous success with online.

- Their Campaign objectives – ROI, CTR, CPA, - insert three letter acronyms here -

- Your resources and assets – your audience, your internal resources, skillsets, time.

And one more..
- Technology

One bucket I think is most undervalued, you are limited in technology. Understanding the limits of technology and how you can manipulate the online space is fundamental to being able to fully maximise your creative opportunities and produce innovative digital executions.

Online is no doubt the most complex of all media to understand. Changing standards, measurement metrics not always easy to interpret and of course the constantly evolving technology; from Adobe Air to Silverlight, the mobile evolution and the big wide world of widgets.

But too often, local players, through failed understanding of what is possible, a lack of willingness to challenge what has been done in the past, apply a cookie-cutter approach to online solutions, tried and tested executions, that rarely deliver on client objectives or deliver true value. I feel there needs to be more people actively seeking to understand and apply this technology in new, unique and relevant ways.

I don’t expect everyone will want to know the latest Web2.0 social-networking site, spend their days on a carousel between RSS feeds, Techcrunch, Friendfeed and Twirl, but overall I think there needs to be a greater demand by those in the local online ad industry to understand and apply what is possible.

Check Orange’s ‘The World’s first internet balloon race’, a clever, unique execution which will no doubt deliver on Orange’s objectives above and beyond. And it’s not always about thinking large. NDM’s very own prized possession, the homepage, offer up 14% of your above-the-fold pixels to advertisers via a medium rectangle and banner.

Forget the IAB terminology of ‘display ads’, we’ve got an interactive canvas, opening up opportunities for a conversations, engagement and interaction. And I hope through increasing the understanding and the limits of this technology, we can drive innovative, creative ideas that push forward local online advertising.