Advertising Creativity Matters

Micael Dahlén, Sara Rosengren and Fredrik Törn
Stockholm School of Economics


There is no guarantee that creativity in an advertisement makes it more memorable or appealing to consumers (Kover, Goldberg, and James, 1995). In fact, research by, for example, Kover, James, and Sonner (1997) suggests that many creative advertising efforts may be wasted, in the sense that they do not add to the functionality of the advertisement (i.e., they neither enhance consumer recall and liking of the advertising, nor increase comprehension and persuasiveness of the communicated message). However, this article argues that such wasteful advertising creativity may have other positive effects. Previous research on advertising spending has found that, when bypassing functional aspects of high spending, for example, that bigger advertisements increase attention or that repeated exposures facilitate comprehension and breed liking, wasteful expenses have positive effects on brand perceptions (e.g., Ambler and Hollier, 2004; Kirmani and Rao, 2000). The present research investigates whether or not the same conclusion follows with respect to advertising creativity.