And then there’s creativity in interactive communications and advertising. This is particularly interesting both because of the extraordinary opportunities available to construct completely new forms of commercial communication, and because of how few of those opportunities appear to be really taken full advantage of. Too many people thinking ‘Let’s put the TV/print online’, and too few people thinking, ‘This medium enables me to do something very different so what’s the best way of going about that?’ The latter approach is particularly important, because creativity’s role, anywhere anyplace anytime, is to inspire emotion: to be emotionally compelling and engaging, to make someone FEEL something. And you do have to work at that online.
It’s a truism that the smaller the screen, the more distant the emotional experience. That’s why movie theater audiences get collectively completely caught up in the action, why big-screen TVs are more popular than small ones, why everyone’s struggling with what constitutes compelling cell-phone content. And why going about the task of creating an emotional reaction online requires a different way of thinking, crafting and producing versus more traditional forms of advertising. In this respect, Crispin Porter’s creation of subservientchicken.com for Burger King remains one of the standout interactive communications pieces. And Cole & Weber United’s campaign for Rainier Beer (www.rememberrainier.com) is anchored by an online experience that rounds up all the real-world components of the campaign to make it as rich an emotional play as possible.
Which actually leads me to my final point – the creativity of new experiences. Because that’s essentially the most exciting thing about the New Creativity. The opportunity to experience things completely differently. (OK, so they say the same thing about mind-altering substances, but at least going online is legal – mostly.) I’m a huge fan of William Gibson (www.williamgibsonbooks.com), The Man Who Invented Cyberspace with his 1984 novel Neuromancer (which I can’t recommend too highly). As other fans of Gibson’s will know, part of the power of his writing comes from his ability to conjure up the cyberspace experience in a way that makes you yearn to lose yourself online and be able to experience the same sort of simulated reality. We’re not there yet…but we have the opportunity to get ever closer.
As per the website for a small Dutch creative agency with a highly appropriate name – www.selmore.nl — which literally takes you to a different place to show you what they’re good at. Great creativity has always been about taking you, the experiencer, out of yourself and opening your eyes, ears and mind to something completely different and enormously compelling. For most of us, we’ve really only just started understanding how to do that in the interactive world. This is going to be fun.