Should planners defer to creatives?

Paul Feldwick

Q Sometimes, the best advertising emerges from very tired old strategies. A lot of very effective advertising takes a bland fact, such as 'beer is refreshing', or 'Land Rovers are good off-road', and simply expresses them creatively in a spectacularly new or arresting way. When should planners decide to take a back seat and leave the value-adding to the creative team?
Rory Sutherland, vice chairman, Ogilvy Group, London

A I agree with your observation. Most advertising, I suspect, derives its persuasive power from something other than the transmission of an abstract idea.

That could be the effective dramatisation of something we already knew, so that we don't just know it intellectually, but feel it and experience it in a new way. It could also be creating associations that link motivating images, sounds and words to the brand in our (largely unconscious) minds. Alternatively, it could be that by charming, entertaining, or interesting us, the advertising makes us feel more positive towards the brand that's addressing us in that way. It could also be all of the above, or other factors.