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Creativity In PR: What Drives Great Work?

P&G's Thank You Mom campaign

Arun Sudhaman  18 Nov 2012

NEW YORK--Storytelling and insight are the most popular drivers of great PR work, according to the Creativity In PR study.

The report is co-authored by the Holmes Report and NowGoCreate, in partnership with Ketchum, based on a survey of 650 PR people from more than 35 countries across the world. 

A free PDF of the report can be downloaded here or viewed at the end of this story. The study forms part of the Holmes Report's new Creativity channel, which aims to celebrate, explore and analyse creativity in the public relations industry.

Over the past week, we have examined:


Creativity is...

Creativity means different things to different people. In a public relations context, the definition of creativity can appear elusive, so we asked respondents for their suggestions, and received around 550 of them. They appear in the appendix to the report, and suggest a fundamental question: amid so many different definitions of creativity, does the PR industry require a settled, uniform view?

When asked which factors drive great creative PR campaigns, ‘great storytelling’ attracted most support (71 percent), followed by ‘audience insight’ (63 percent); ‘content creation’ (52 percent).

Interestingly, ‘purpose’ came fourth with 41 percent. The Holmes Report’s recent Creative Index,
which attempted to rank the most award-winning campaigns over the past year, found that ‘purpose’ was a significant component in several cutting-edge programmes, including Electrolux’s Vac from the Sea, IBM at 100, Unilever’s Lifebuoy Handwashing campaign, and Goodyear China’s Lifetime Commitment to Safety.

Favourite campaigns

We asked those polled to name their best example of a creative PR campaign that drove business results over the past 18 months. Here are those that polled multiple mentions, in decreasing order of

P&G Moms
BA Olympics
Old Spice
Head & Shoulders with Troy Polamalu
Tourism Queensland Best Job in the World
Ariel Fashion Shoot
Jay-Z Decoded
T-Mobile Angry Birds
Dove Real Beauty
Depend Great American Try On
Chengdu Pambassadors
IBM at 100/Watson

Perhaps the key finding here is how many of these campaigns exhibit a compelling level of integration, and resonate at an emotional level.

"The best creative ideas touch us emotionally, not because of their size or spectacle, but because they address a human truth," said Ketchum chief innovation officer Karen Strauss.

"Consider the P&G Moms campaign, Dove Real Beauty and IBM at 100 -- all named by survey respondents as the industry's most creative. Each elicited a deeply emotional response by recognizing our common humanity -- a mom's deep love and sacrifice for her children; a woman's need for affirmation about her looks; the responsibility of a company to make the world a better place."  

"Creativity is not tactical or technical -- it's emotional."




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