“Though the way our creativity is applied evolves, as long as the human brain remains a thing, it will continue to have a multiplier effect. As long as the human brain work as it does now, our creativity will not be outmoded.” Jamie Elliott, CEO of The Gate, speaks on the importance of creativity in adland.

Last week I was part of a debate on the motion, This house believes that agencies have an outmoded view of creativity.

I was opposing the motion, defending agencies vigorously and passionately, here’s what I said:

Childline came to us because young folk thought it was outmoded – they felt it didn’t get their contemporary worries.

They had reams and reams of data and a long list of mandatories– it must feel authentic, must look real, focus on a single issue …

All stuff that hadn’t worked strongly enough previously whether with influencers or in other social first campaigns.

Now having reams of data is a wonderful thing, but where to find the unifying insight to make a tiny budget punch like Tyson Fury?

The answer was in transcripts of helpline calls. There beneath the superficial reasons for calling – gender, body dysmorphia, anxiety – lay a universal sense of not fitting in.

I am the only one who is going through this.  I am not normal.

The creative leap was made to NOBODY IS NORMAL – busting the myth of normality – conforming to none of the mandatories, smashing metrics and winning a truck load of awards.

It is now being used as a teaching tool – a conversation starter – in schools all over the world to help the next generation feel no pressure to be anything other than themselves.

It is an idea that is changing lives. As one tweet put it.  “I wish I’d seen this when I was a teenager”.

This is the power of our commercial form of creativity and there is nothing outmoded about it. The magic is in its transformative effect; it’s ability to multiply success.

This is not just a view, this is fact.

Our creativity has never been measured more and we have never understood more about how it works thanks to neuroscience, Byron Sharp, and the IPA’s work with Orlando Wood, Binet & Field.

The more it is measured:

·      The more this creativity’s central purpose is being affirmed: to influence people’s choices and behaviours.

·      The more that ‘creativity that has the power to move and to create a strong emotional response’ is shown to be more effective. It gets hardwired into the long-term memory – it gets into and stays in the brain – and therefore works – pays back – time and time again.

And, it’s not just more effective.

More modish techniques – developing out of social media – as Orlando Wood’s epic Look Out shows … are less trusted, more adversarial and contributing to a culture of divisiveness and mental health decline. Fashionable techniques – are bad for business and bad for society.

This evidence base should give this house the confidence that our creativity is perfect for this age of change and complexity.

When a brand has no real-world presence, as is increasingly the case. What other form of creativity is going to ensure you have mental availability – a place in someone’s mind – when the need arises?

When every brand has a similar sort of martech machine what other sort of creativity is going to give yours the competitive edge?

What other sort of creativity turns this ever-growing mass of black and white data into rainbows and fireworks?

And, as the work that will be awarded next week at Cannes demonstrates agencies are creating all sorts of shapes of ideas incorporating all sorts of channels, technology and experiences to get into people’s brains to influence the way they feel, the way they behave and the decisions they make.

Though the way our creativity is applied evolves, as long as the human brain remains a thing, it will continue to have a multiplier effect.

As long as the human brain works as it does now, our creativity will not be outmoded.

That’s a data-driven truth.  Not a view.

This article was originally published by Jamie Elliott, CEO of The Gate, on LinkedIn.