According to Attic Rush, creativity in advertising, most of the time, refers to the creative itself. In the ‘good old days’, advertising media was limited to print, radio and TV. Then entered the digital world. As mobile devices become more common, mobile screens are where the majority of consumers’ eyeballs are.

Although the story and the creative itself will always be key – we need to include the context in which the advert is delivered to be as important as the storyline and visual itself. You need to discover how context influences the way your message is received.

What do we mean by context?

Let’s use Ed Sheeran as an example: he has sold more than 150 million albums worldwide. In 2014, his song ‘Thinking Out Loud’ was the most streamed song in the world. In 2018, his ‘The Divide Tourbecame the highest-grossing tour of all time with $429 million in revenue. He is most definitely not someone you would ever expect to be playing behind a curtain in a dodgy-looking venue. As this funny video shows, most of the people walking by don’t believe for a moment that a famous musician could actually be inside.

There is just no way someone of that calibre would be playing in that type of place. Finally, one brave couple decides to take the plunge. They are still not convinced as they pass through the door and even when the real-life Ed Sheeran appears, they still can’t quite believe it is actually him.

Why is this?

It is all to do with context. You expect Ed Sheeran to be playing to sell-out crowds in a large stadium and not behind a curtain in a dodgy-looking pop-up venue in a random street somewhere in Australia. This experiment is a good analogy for brands and marketing. You can have the best product in the world, but if you share it in the wrong place, it will go unnoticed.

Context is creative

We have discussed the importance of art directors and art direction, but creativity doesn’t stop once the artwork is signed off. What was once seen as admin – placing an ad, choosing an audience and a digital channel, is now the final step in the creative process.

It is one thing to develop the engaging content, banners and static ads, but that’s just half of the challenge. The other half of the challenge lies in delivering well-developed advertising to the right people, at the right time, in the right manner, to ensure that advertising resonates and brings about a return on investment. The very best marketing and ads will probably work in any context. But they are likely to work even better in an optimal context.