When working with online creative, there's a huge factor that differentiates a great idea executed well from one that is executed poorly: the technology. Thus, it pays to invite creative programmers into the ideation process.
Many of the classic fundamentals of advertising concept development can be carried over from traditional advertising to online advertising. Concepts based on big ideas with relevant messages directed at consumers often achieve the best results, regardless of the strategic approach to the client's business.
However, when working with online creative, there is a huge factor that differentiates a great idea executed well from one that is executed poorly. It's all in the technology.
Online advertising as a viable marketing channel has been in existence for less than 10 years. This means the industry still has a long way to go before it stabilizes and before online production is fully established.
The speed at which online technology develops creates a dynamic environment that can change dramatically in a matter of six months. This makes it necessary for online creatives to become fairly educated on the technical side to ensure that their ideas will be well executed on the Web. This also means that it really pays to work with the creative programmers who do the coding and who also "get" your idea.
I think interactive is really quite different from other forms of advertising. Technical implementation is basically a production component of the online advertising process. Yet there are so many technical factors that must be taken into consideration to ensure well-crafted execution of a great online advertising idea.
For this reason, it can really pay off to invite creative programmers into the ideation process. Bringing in the right kind of programmer when a concept is being developed can result in insights and solutions to obstacles that may occur later. The relationship between an art director and a copywriter can have the art director coming up with "lines" and the copywriter thinking of visual ideas. But when the "rubber hits the road," the roles become more clearly defined. This symbiotic relationship also works well with the right technical involvement in an online advertising initiative. It's basically a philosophy of knowing your medium and pushing what you can achieve to its utmost limits.
In another 10 years, perhaps the speed at which technology changes will stabilize, and the industry will support online production houses the same way it does for TV and radio. By then, bandwidth and processor speed may not be an issue. Yet, even once broadband becomes mainstream and the technology becomes ubiquitous, tech-savvy creatives most likely will still have an edge. Already, there are tons of schools sending graduates out into the world who have strong conceptual as well as technical capabilities, which wasn't the case a few years ago.
The industry may evolve to a point where bringing technology in early won't be an issue because the majority of computers will have enormous processing speed and bandwidth, allowing the execution of anything that can be imagined. Let's hope so. In the meantime, it's probably a good idea to bring technology in as soon as you think of a great idea, to ensure that what you imagined reaches your audience the way you imagined it would.
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Adam Jackson is a freelance Art Director in New York City. He has worked on top brands for several interactive ad agencies and with some of the top Internet marketing minds. He has worked with Sony, Lockheed-Martin, Best Buy, Ameritrade, Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, IBM, Valvoline, Monster.com, and a host of blue-chip Canadian brands. With five years of industry experience, and a few awards, Adam's career has grown with the Web.
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