LONDON: Advertisers and agencies should not focus exclusively on accountability and measurement at the expense of idea generation and convention-breaking, according to speakers at WARC's Creativity in Advertising 2009 conference.

During a day of presentations, summarised here, Rory Sutherland, vice-chairman of Ogilvy London, warned of the dangers of becoming over-reliant on data and analysis in a shrinking economy.

Sutherland, who chaired the London-based conference on March 26, said creative ideas which added real value to businesses could be born in an afternoon and mediocre ideas could emerge even after several weeks of effort.

However, despite this unpredictability, it would be a false economy, he argued, to reduce the scope for idea generation even during a recession.

Separately, Tim Lindsay, president of TBWA/UK Group, urged marketers to defy conventions to win consumers in the recession, and recommended six ways to do so.

They included communicating indispensability, innovation, exploiting lower media costs to build share of voice, changing the way consumers perceived value in your brand, increasing your distinctiveness and positioning your brand as a "home comfort".

Lindsay cited Marks & Spencer, Hovis, BSkyB, Harvey Nichols and Häagen-Dazs as examples of brands which have successfully exploited some of these trends in current or past recessions. 

Other speakers discussed the relevance of persuasion models of advertising in a media-saturated environment, consumers' changing needs, social networks and "good" and "bad" creative work across sectors including retail, telecoms and automotive.

Click here to find a comprehensive summary of the event.

Data sourced from WARC Online