Bill Bernbach quote on Creativity

This quote from Bill Bernbach on Creativity is a tricky one.

“It may well be that creativity is the last unfair advantage we’re legally allowed to take over our competitors.”

It’s definitely contentious.

In one sense it’s totally true.

  • We do remember creative TV adverts: Nick Kamen taking his Levi’s off in the laundrette. The Duracell bunny. Apple’s 1984 advert. Dove’s Real Beauty. Bud’s Wassup lizards.
  • We remember great slogans: Nike’s Just Do It.
  • We remember styles: you’d know an Absolut advert even without the brand name.
  • We remember sounds: the operatic “Go Compare” and Amazon’s Prime’s riff.

But it’s also not true. In “How Brands Grow”, Byron Sharp proposed the idea that salience/mental availability/awareness (see our website for details of those terms) matters more than anything.

It’s a view that’s gained a lot of support.

So, in that sense, frequency matters more than content.

And that’s great news for the ad industry because they’re great at producing dull, instantly forgettable adverts.