Cute, but is it really creative?

Not only is creativity generally mistrusted and unexplored, it is also often mis-interpreted. 

Here’s an example of what I mean.  It’s tax time, and the race is on amongst professional preparers to attract our business.  One of them, who shall remain unnamed here, sends out a day laborer costumed in a robe and foam headgear to hawk on the street out front.  The costume is meant to catch the eye, and the hiree prances up and down the sidewalk, gawking and waving.

The business thinks this is a creative move that will bring new customers.  The reality is that we only feel pity for the poor sucker forced to gussy up and clown.  The costume unravels, the head gear slips, and the waving becomes half-hearted all too quickly.  Passers-by are only embarrassed for the business – a reaction not likely to increase clientele.

Another street-side marketing idea strikes me as incredibly creative, in contrast to the above example.  This is the balloon people (or animals or whatever) that bend and sway and contort impossibly, mechanically powered and usually larger than life.  I think they’re called airdancers.  It’s endlessly entertaining to watch the play of these lively signs.  This enjoyment easily morphs into an automatic appreciation for the sponsoring business.

See the difference?  The real person in costume is an old idea, one we’ve taken for granted as creative.  But since it does not evidence the liveliness  of authentic creative thought, it sadly misses the mark.  The balloons, on the other hand, take this old idea and invigorate it with the common sense and technical know-how of our time.  Synthesis, in creativity, is key.


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