The making of a television ad, Part 2: Creative development

In last week’s initial installment, we outlined the process by which CREA and UNION, our ad agency, arrived at a strategy for our 2015 ad campaign. This week we will focus on where ideas for ads actually come from and how it’s decided which ideas live (and which ones die).

Just like CREA urges consumers to trust the expertise of a REALTOR® to get the best outcome, they don’t try to write ads themselves. That’s where we come in.

The process starts with a briefing, where creative teams (each made up of an art director, who is responsible for visual elements, and a copywriter, who is responsible for verbal elements), are given the strategy and told the single-minded message the campaign must convey. For 2015, it was “Real estate shouldn’t be a gamble.”

Creative teams spend the next several weeks coming up with ideas – as many as possible. The more ideas, the more likely they’ll hit on one that really works. Teams will generate more than 15 campaign ideas on a project, each a different way of articulating the ad’s single-minded message. Dramatic or comedic, slapstick or witty, fantastical or realistic, there’s no approach that’s off-limits during the development stage. To discover what really works, sometimes you have to see what really doesn’t work.

The teams will then present to me and I will narrow down the ideas to a smaller group to be presented to the CREA advertising team. With their input, the creative teams and myself tweak and edit scripts to ensure they are on strategy:

  • Does the idea communicate the single minded message, “Real estate shouldn’t be a gamble.”?
  • Does it demonstrate the value of a REALTOR® by showing, possibly hyperbolically, the potential pitfalls of not using one?
  • Is the work original, engaging, and entertaining enough to keep viewers invested in the ad until the end?

While assessing the quality of creative work can be subjective, judging whether it meets criteria established by research and learning from past experience, is not. Once the field has been narrowed down to just the strongest concepts, we present the work to the REALTORS® on CREA’s National Ad Campaign Committee.

Come back next week to learn about the role research plays in identifying stronger and weaker ad concepts and helps maximize their persuasiveness.

Over the last 14 years, Lance Martin has built one of the strongest creative resumes in the country by championing collaboration, by developing relationships with clients, and most of all, by just being nice. And while his unassuming nature has won him many fans among those who work closely with him, it’s his sharp business mind that has really set him apart in his career. Lance has been integral in creating some of the most storied work in Canada for brands like Burger King, NIKE, MINI, Kraft, Canadian Tire, Viagra and Koodo and has been recognized around the world with golds from the One Show, Cannes, the Clios and Canada’s own ADCC, including a recent Gold Lion from the Cannes Advertising Festival for MINI. When not working Lance can be found breathing fresh air either on his motorcycle or the dock of his cottage. It is debatable which one he loves more.

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