Howcroft: Let's celebrate the buyers of creative ideas

Howcroft: Let's celebrate the buyers of creative ideas
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Kudos for creative ideas is often misdirected, according to Ten’s Russel Howcroft who was speaking at a French-Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry event.

Howcroft, Ten’s executive general manager, said the creator is often lauded and too often the idea’s sponsor is forgotten.

“It is incredible what great ideas can do, but great ideas don’t exist unless someone is willing to buy them,” Howcroft said at the Big 4 Business Briefing: Culture & Ideas in Advertising in Melbourne.

“For me it is the buyer of the idea that we need to celebrate at least equally, because without them the idea doesn’t happen.”

Howcroft also argued that too much cynicism surrounds the value of creativity, brands and advertising in Australia.

“In Australia we are not great at buying creativity. In fact we are, I think, pretty ordinary at buying creativity, and yet there is an x-factor around what creativity can do for business.”

Brands are the idea companies wrap their product or service with, and when managed properly ensure there is “certainty” in cash flow.

“Can anyone imagine Coca-Cola not existing in 350-years time? It is going to be here if they manage their brand properly,” Howcroft said.

“Just as an aside…when was the last time Coca-Cola gave us an ad that rewarded us for drinking Coke? It is quite a long time.

He said Coke needs to remember that their “role in life” is to create great communication to thank consumers for giving them money. “There is a very simple contract there which I think has been lost.”

French luxury brands are “awesome” at re-enforcing the intangible value of their products and services with strong brands, according to Howcroft.

In Australia the power wielded by supermarkets is pushing us towards a place where brand value has shrunk to almost zero and “tomato sauce is tomato sauce”.

“What they are doing to brands is they are capturing the brand marketing spend, and then they are using it for their catalogues, and shelf space, and TV advertising which involves a number of brands.

“They are doing it in a way which sacrifices brand advertising which builds intangible value. “In a way we are on a bit of slippery slope, in particular here, where tomato sauce is increasingly becoming just tomato sauce which is just dull basically.”

A change of thinking is necessary in Australia if creativity is going to thrive.

“The notion that creativity doesn’t matter, the notion that brand doesn’t matter, the belief that you can spend 50% of your budget and still do awesome things; let’s just remove all of that.

“Let’s remove all the cynicism and let’s get excited and embrace great ideas.”

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