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Most dynamic creative is not creative

The marketing pendulum has always swung between ‘numbers’ and ‘stories’ but it’s been stuck on ‘numbers’ for years now.

All the stuff that’s got marketers excited has been around data. That’s changed marketing and it’s changed who marketers are. Sir Martin Sorrell was asked at Unbound, “What will the ad industry look like 50 years from now?” He answered:

“Madmen and Madwomen and Mathsmen and Mathswomen- the difference is being broken down, they are becoming more and more important to one another… the left brain and the right brain are going to become one brain”.

No doubt he’s right, but we’re not there yet- most marketers are either ‘left siders’ or ‘right siders’ and it’s the ‘left siders’ who have been running things for a while now.

Marketing tech constantly spawns shiny new things. In recent years, we’ve had attribution, data management platforms and programmatic advertising– all very comfy topics for the left siders. However, its dynamic advertising that’s hot right now. ‘Creative’ is back. Ouch. This could be tricky…

Dynamic ads change the content of an ad – before it renders on a webpage – based on data. This data can include weather, time of day, day of the week, a user’s past browsing behaviour, segment, world events, fluctuations in the stock market, etc. To get it right requires both left and right brain.

Unfortunately, it’s the left brainers who are driving how dynamic creative solutions are built and used. That means lots of thought going into data integrations and little into how ads look. The result is highly targeted, visually weak ads. It’s cool that you show me that waterproof jacket when it’s raining, but that feed driven product image, jammed into that weak ad as a dynamic component is just not good enough. I don’t buy it (literally) and neither will your customers. According to Quantcast’s ‘Mobile & Me’ study earlier this year, 41% of 16-34 year olds said that they “… would be increasingly influenced by more creative adverts”. Relevancy does not trump creative.

For dynamic creative to really deliver, the right siders need to shout more loudly and be more demanding of their left sider vendors and colleagues. Great dynamic creative platforms need to have creative at the very heart of their offering. The old rules of standout, relevance, engagement and context are still vitally important.

Right now, dynamic creative is not creative. It needs to be.

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