July 1, 2013


It’s an on-line poll: which word choice seems more effective to you: “disciplined creativity” versus “disciplined imagination.”

KB mug disciplined creativity prize

This mighty 20 oz. mug could be yours…

For years, we’ve used “disciplined creativity” to reassure prospective clients who may be suspicious of “creativity,” and to define our process that starts from strategy.

Those client fears are not entirely groundless. Some have told us of being burned before by agencies who give lip service to strategy, but who seem to employ more art than science, more magic than logic, more disruption than relevance. (I mention no names, but I’ve worked in shops where winning a gold doodad for a campaign while the client lost market share was regarded as a triumph.)

Clients want to know they’re not slipping an assignment under the door of a black box, only to wait for an end product with little strategic value. They (and we) have seen agency creative processes where mildly stoned creative teams start from a technique, or a visual style, or what’s-the-hot-movie-this-season. They execute (literally) an idea with no brand linkage, minimal brand ID, and an after-the-fact invented strategy. Very pretty. Amusing. Guaranteed to generate water cooler “Did you see that ad? I don’t remember who it’s for….”

Your vote is more than welcome. Disciplined creativity vs. disciplined imagination vs. some third alternative you just dreamed up.

So’s your opinion. Do you share that same uneasy feeling about “Kreativity,” that it can be an exercise un-anchored to effectiveness? For our part, we’re so skeptical of the process that in our 26 years of history as an agency, we’ve spent $0 on award show entry fees. We may be the only one. Self-indulgence is not one of our services.

Reply with your vote, and any explanation or story you care to relate. Best replies get our jumbo coffee mugs! Decisions of the judges, however pigheaded and arbitrary, are final.