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How society is trying to squeeze the creativity out of brands

By Jessica Kirby, Account Manager

Working in communications, we are always looking for how to convey something in a ‘creative way’ for the brands we work with. This can mean a number of things, but our entire intention of this is to land a message in a more meaningful and connected way. Sometimes, this isn’t easy but there are brands out there that do a fantastic job at being the brains behind those ‘I wish I’d thought of that’ ideas.

Yet, in 2017, a time when we’re supposedly embracing fresh new ideas, we are constantly terrorised by a collective group of people I like to call: the creativity crushers. Now, don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that sometimes things can be a little off the mark (cough Pepsi cough) but there are some genuinely great ideas out there that people are tearing down in flames.

Our society is becoming warped by the idea that it is compulsory to have a strong opinion on everything we see and that we must share it globally via social media. This in itself is strangling the creativity which is the heartbeat of our industry.

As a pretty highly opinionated individual myself, I’m all about having the confidence to share your opinions and to let your voice be heard but more and more I find myself shocked by the incredulous and almost petty arguments that consumers are picking with brands.

One example of this is Dove’s latest campaign. For as long as I can remember, Dove has been heralded as the beacon brand in the beauty category for embodying real women and its new campaign is yet another extension of this. The brand has reshaped its bottles in different sizes as a visual representation to demonstrate that we are all different sizes but that’s ok. Cue the creativity crushers. Social media is aflame with insults, hate tweets and sharp-tongued opinions over something that ten years ago would have been held up as revolutionary.

So what does this change in society mean for the future of creativity? We know as comms people that we will never please everyone, but our job is set to become harder. Even the most simple activations will require us to consider all potential responses and if necessary abandon ideas which are genuinely brilliant. Communications professionals will start to lean more towards applying a corporate lens before pushing ideas through to execution stage as otherwise, brands will be left open to attack. If this is the change we’ve seen over the last decade, who knows what the campaigns of 2027 will look like?