Today’s creatives have a whole lot of explaining to do

Elaborate case study videos are the bane of a creative’s existence, but a necessary evil for entering award shows says the multi award-winning creative Andrew Woodhead.

The advertising case study has become a necessary but overbearing burden of the creative’s existence. For those unfamiliar, case studies generally involve an elaborately produced video that offers a snapshot or overview of a campaign.It is a mandatory piece for selling the idea to award shows. From Cannes to AWARD, there’s an ever-growing list of categories including integrated, PR, promo and activation, branded content, direct response and whatever category makes its debut in 2013 – innovative mobile consumer-generated promotional branded content, perhaps. But I digress.

A little over six years ago the handful of categories in existence merely demanded an A2 board with photographic evidence the campaign did in fact run, accompanied by a poignant description. The most time-consuming part of this process was deliberation over background texture – should it be white or off white?

Today, it’s a completely different and drawn-out story. Nearly every campaign entered into an award show requires a well thought out, well rounded explanation in the guise of a case study video. This requires a script that usually takes up to 15 drafts, voice-over talent, a sound studio, an editor, hours of footage and an up lifting soundtrack. It has become quite the art form.

The irony is that many campaigns have more time and money invested into the case study than the original concept. Because it doesn’t matter how great an idea is, if it has a poor case study, it won’t be received well by the indsutry. Yes, we are storytellers and salespeople. But the game has changed. Once upon a time it was enough to sell products and services through creatives ideas. Nowe we must package these ideas and sell them once again – this time to the most critical audience of all, award judges.

Andrew Woodhead is creative group head at Leo Burnett Melbourne.


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