The Myth of Creative Wear Out – It’s Time for Agencies to Focus on Breakthrough

There is an urban myth in advertising that you need to refresh a brand’s advertising on average every two-three months, or you risk alienating consumers.

Many marketers believe that if an ad is over 1000 Gross Rating Points (GRP’s) consumers will get fatigued with seeing the same piece of creative work over and over again – which can result in ad likability and purchase intent decreasing over time.

However, this is not the case. In reality, only 1% of ads actually show wear out, especially within the CPG/FMCG categories. So why do marketers continue to invest heavily in new creative without actually analyzing the results of previous campaigns? “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” is not a phrase you hear very often when talking to marketers; new and shiny is always more exciting than tried and tested.

Media Proliferation

The media landscape in 2018 is highly fragmented. Consumers now have more exposure to content and channels than ever before, especially video content. The availability of subscription based services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and VOD all mean that the linear TV journey has changed. Consumers are no longer exposed to adverts and brand messaging in the same way.

So how can brands generate cut-through in such a crowded space?

First and foremost, it comes down to building a bespoke and robust media plan that engages consumers that are relevant to your brand. While many may fear over saturation and wear out, you first need to wear in.

Marketers seem to forget that consumers need to engage with the advert and be exposed to the creative first – rather than just fearing that it will wear out. Many marketers seem to believe that anything above 1000 GRP’s will mean that consumers will quickly become bored, therefore they often decide to select a lower GRP threshold (sometimes even half).

However, this approach actually means that there are 50% less chances for consumers to engage with an ad in the first place.

These are the same marketers that then complain to the agencies that their brand’s creative is not working and therefore, opt to change it. It seems that marketers are just cutting off their noses to spite their faces. If marketers actually sat down with their agencies, and did not fear over saturation so much, they would in fact be giving their brand a better chance of resonating with consumers.

Additionally, by monitoring early performance of ads in market, brands and agencies are able to refine and adjust messages, targeting to ensure cut-through with the right consumers at the right time.

Making Better Creative

It may seem obvious, but the first way to increase brand engagement and avoid wear out is by making better creative.

Too many brands attempt to make Cannes Lions winning work that actually doesn’t serve the needs of their brand. All creative work needs to start with the needs of the brand. However, once the creative is out, brands need to start utilizing early in market measuring tools, rather than just waiting for the three month review meeting with the media agency on performance.

There is often an opportunity to build on the success of highly effective creative over the long term. With minimal risk of wear out, brands can consider extending successful creative themes across many ads and campaigns.

For marketers and brands, it’s time to stop worrying about wear out and start thinking about how to generate enough engagement with compelling creatives.

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