360° of Creative Risk.

Douglas C West
Henley Management College, UK

This article examines creative-risk-taking behavior by agencies and the circumstances that increase their propensity to take risks. Drawing upon agency theory, and the wider literature on risk in management decision making, two areas are investigated: (1) resolving the conflicting desires of agencies and advertisers, and (2) how advertisers control agent’s risk-taking. A mail survey of senior creative directors across a cross section of agencies is used and data to test the hypotheses gathered. Analyses indicate that agencies are less risk-seeking than expected. Market response and advertisers have the most influence on agency risk-taking, and agencies take a portfolio approach to risk-being more likely to suggest creative risk-taking for relatively smaller clients. The findings are discussed in terms of developing winning creative ideas. Suggestions for future research are identified.