Creativity – the beating heart of communication

This week a couple of us from the Purplefish team attended a ‘Cannes Deconstructed’ session hosted by Bristol Media with insight and take-aways from this year’s festival presented by creative research consultancy Contagious.

The presentation focused on five emerging themes from the renowned Cannes Festival of Creativity where prestigious Cannes Lion awards are handed out to recognise the world’s best creative thinking and brand campaigns – usually, but not exclusively, picked up by the global ad agencies.

The five key themes addressed were:

  1. Gender divided – increased focus on the role women play in media and advertising representation with the Kenzo ad highlighted as rewriting the rules of female imagery.
  2. The new integration – Mail Chimp was hailed as a true innovator for its exceptionally clever and highly complex digital-first campaign.
  3. Creative collaboration – Snickers ‘Hungerithm’ campaign from Australia narrowly missed out on a Grand Prix award this year, but the concept has been widely applauded in ad land and is a shining example of how agile retail marketing can be if brands are willing to push the boundaries of digital capabilities.
  4. The AI Agenda – a much talked about topic in the creative and tech sector at the moment – here the US Burger King Whopper ad explored ‘invasive’ marketing by hijacking Google’s Home device.
  5. Agency Squeeze – this trend applies more to the business side of the creative industry rather than the creative output. The increasing participation in the creative sector by management consultancies alongside the big brand players and social network and digital media companies is changing the landscape of agency world where creative thinking is perhaps prized more for its ability to monetise than inspire.


As far as we are concerned, creative output is king and ideas are our currency. We don’t have exclusive licence on ideas generation when we work on campaigns but what we do strive to do as agency team is to push boundaries. To do this we have to work hard to seek out sources of inspiration. Here’s a few insights into how we work to develop and hone our creative output:

  1. The creative campaign guidelines – we interrogate and assess ideas based on an ever-changing set of metrics. Visibility, influence, originality, entertainment and impact are the five key pillars of this process for us as a team.
  2. Insight and audience – this is where we start and finish – at every stage market insight, behavioural trends and audience needs and desires are integral to any campaign strategy. To lose sight of this is to produce campaigns which fail to resonate.
  3. Creativity can strike anywhere, anytime – it’s vitally important not to ‘force’ ideas – inspiration is not a problem to be solved – our brains need time and space to ruminate on challenges and client briefs. We keep brainstorms limited to 20-30 minutes, they’ll often be run as standing meetings – with energy being a key fuel for creativity. I’ve had some of my best ideas in a swimming pool, waking up in the middle of the night or even on the toilet – it’s these moments of reflection when inspiration can strike.
  4. Collaboration and discussion – we don’t have all the answers – neither do our clients – but we know they appreciate being involved in the ideas generation process which will ultimately produce a stronger and likely more commercially successful campaign. We rarely present our thinking as a fait accompli – to do so is to deny the vital changes and tweaks that can make the difference between success and failure.
  5. Seeking out inspiration – as a team we ensure we make an effort to share and discover creative sources. This has included an ‘inspiration trip’ to Glasgow this year, agency book share and visits to arts and culture events. This enhances our exposure to a diverse range of stimulating environments which in turn feeds into our creative thinking.

If you have a creative problem or a brief you need help on – put us to the test – after all many minds are better than one: