What is Creative to Whom and Why?

Perceptions in advertising agencies

Scott Koslow
University of Waikato
Sheila L. Sasser
Edward A. Riordan
Wayne State University

Considering the disproportionate role creativity plays in advertising practice, research has not adequately addressed it (Stewart, 1992). Many call for more research on the advertising creative process (for example, Zinkhan, 1993) and the opinions of agency creative personnel (Reid, King, and DeLorme, 1998). Although many assume creativity to be highly related to effectiveness – some would even argue they were the same things – creativity is still important in its own right. Therefore agencies spend a great deal of time and energy competing for creative awards (Polonsky and Walter, 1995). Creativity is a mission of the entire advertising industry, its raison d'ĂȘtre, but with only a handful of exceptions (for example, Fletcher, 1990; Goldenberg, Mazursky, and Solomon, 1999; Johar, Holbrook, and Stern, 2001; Kover, 1995; Kover, James, and Sonner, 1997; Reid and Rotfeld, 1976; West, 1993; West and Ford, 2001), researchers know little about it.