NEW YORK: Creativity is the subject of "surprising tensions" between clients and agencies in China, according to recent research published in the Journal of Advertising Research (JAR).

In the latest issue of JAR, a trio of academics from Australia's RMIT University in Melbourne explore how some of China's leading advertising-agency professionals see the industry evolving.

And their analysis of the values, purposes and even definitions of "advertising creativity" in China "exposes significant and even surprising tensions between agencies and clients, and between clients and their consumers."

The Future of Advertising in China: Practitioner Insights Into the Evolution of Chinese Advertising Creativity probes the future of marketing in the country largely through the insights offered by interviews with 18 "key advertising professionals" regarding what they consider to be the role and prospects of advertising creativity in the Chinese context.

While expressing frustration about the lack of commitment to creativity on the part of clients, the interview subjects predicted that the demand for genuine craft will increase as the Chinese market becomes more competitive and economic growth continues to slow.

Authors Julie Bilby, Mike Reid and Linda Brennan also observe that driving the widespread acceptance of creative forces depends, in part, on a "demonstrated need for more advertising education in China."

And that, in turn, calls for greater engagement in marketing research: "Innovations in consumer research increasingly will provide richer and deeper insights into Chinese culture and consumers," the authors write.

"This will facilitate the development of creative advertising communication that resonates and engages with these same consumers. This should, in turn, lead to demonstrable increases in advertising efficiency in a Chinese context."

Data sourced from Journal of Advertising Research; additional content by Warc staff