Creativity Business Cultures: A Hermeneutic Examination in Advertising Agencies
Autoria: Thomas G. Brashear, Elad Granot
A theory-building, exploratory study was conducted to understand how creative advertising
executives make meaning of creativity in a cultural context. This study extends creativity
research in advertising and creative cultures in general by using hermeneutic phenomenology.
In-depth interviews were conducted with respondents, all in senior creative roles in advertising
agencies. The results suggest that creativity in advertising incorporates a complex set of resultsdriven interactive components which simultaneously affect and are affected by the interaction of
artistic, aesthetic elements and business strategy. The findings show that an understanding of
creative cultures and processes can enable their replications in other business sectors.
Creativity is considered to be the cornerstone of competitive advantage (Amabile 1988,
1996; Devanna and Tichy 1990; Shalley 1995). Creativity is a vital element of advertising, and
advertising could not exist without it (Zinkhan 1993). Reid, et al. (1998) also mention that
“creativity, indisputably the least scientific aspect of advertising, is arguably the most
important”. Practitioners, too, consider creativity to be most important in advertising. Some
advertising executives maintain that creativity is a prerequisite for advertising effectiveness
(White and Smith, 2001). Further, Hill and Johnson (2004) agree with Kalasunas (1985) who
wrote that, “Basically, what clients want from agencies is creative, is advertising itself, the
advertising product…The other services an agency offers…are clearly secondary.” (Page 7).
Frazer (1986) points out that for most marketers, the selection of the advertising creative
strategy is the most important marketing decision. He points out that of the four Ps, promotion
(IMC) is the most differentiating for fast moving consumer...