Creative Campaign Idea or Executional Schtick

I believe there is a thing called a “Campaign Idea” in advertising creative. It is the creative idea that lets a campaign continue under the same strategy: The Absolut vodka bottle. Kohler’s “As I See It” print. The CareerBuilder monkeys. The Campaign Idea is what informs the execution of next ad. And a brochure. And a web banner. And each of those going into the future.

The Campaign Idea creates consistency in a creative campaign. And that’s why it is important.

I’ve worked with Jeff Martin for a little over a year. He’s an enormously talented creative guy with a killer reel. And a great mind. We debate this kind of stuff.

Jeff would say that what I’m describing is just creative execution. I think I have an email where he describes it as “executional technique.” Here’s why I don’t agree (sorry, Jeff, but you already know this): my clients never have enough money to spend on advertising. Even if they have millions. Each of them (hopefully) has a great creative strategy. And what they need to make their dollars go farther is a Campaign Idea that makes all the work consistent.

CareerBuilder has had the same strategy since the first Monkey’s campaign in 2006 – here’s a place to find a better job. But between the first Monkeys and the current effort, there were ads (from Cramer-Krasselt) on this same strategy idea that featured people fighting in the jungle; a one-off execution that had no clear campaign extension. And another Super Bowl ad (from Weiden & Kennedy) showing a heart coming out of someone’s chest. Same strategy. What would the next ad be? Someone’s brain falling out? Their liver?

Anybody remember those “interim” CareerBuilder creative efforts? Anybody not remember the Monkeys?

Jeff, I love you man. You make me think. But here, I think you’re wrong. There is something called a “Campaign Idea,” and it’s really important to the success of the communications effort.