In case you haven’t heard yet, The Reference has somewhat grown in size lately. As of last May, it has incorporated Design is Dead, a creative full service agency in Antwerp. And by doing so, it has adopted a bunch of skilled Drupal developers, motivated managers and talented creatives.
Is this a good thing? Yes, we believe it is.
The Reference has established quite a reputation for building websites, digital tools and campaigns that help companies reach their strategic business goals. Design is Dead, on the other hand, has always had a creative focus. It likes to approach things from a design based or conceptual angle. The synergy is pretty obvious.
Having said this, it seems only fair to give you a short introduction to what these Antwerp people talk about when they are talking about creativity. It is, after all, a very flexible word, with different meanings to different people.
We'd like to explain with an example.
Ever heard of the Ritz Cracker Cutter?
Introducing the Ritz Cracker Cutter.
In short, the Ritz Cracker Cutter is a small, plastic kitchen tool that cuts toppings in exactly the same size as a Ritz buttery cracker - which has a round shape with scalloped edge. The cracker cutter makes cute stacks of cheese, ham, cucumber or anything else you like on top of your biscuit.
The Ritz Cracker Cutter is also the basic idea of a social campaign that ran in Canada last year. What started as a jocular Facebook post, turned into a very successful case with impression and engagement numbers going through the roof. People have gone nuts; it is like the fidget spinner for housewives. The company initially manufactured 6.000 cracker cutters, but soon ordered 80.000 more. The campaign is now set to be launched in the USA.
Which is good for them. But, you may ask, what's the relevance of a Canadian cracker cutter campaign for a Belgian digital agency? During last year's Cannes Advertising Festival, the case got shortlisted, which basically means it's considered an OK campaign, but nothing really out of the ordinary. So why this example? What does it say about how we like to think about creativity?
Creativity is everywhere.
One. It illustrates that creativity is everywhere. The Ritz Cracker Cutter is a product. Not the essential product -that's the cracker - but a product to promote a product. Not a TV commercial to promote a product. Not a corporate website to promote a product. A product to promote a product. And that's quite exemplary of how we see things. Creativity can be many things and have many fathers. It can be an old-school conceptual idea, but it can also be a disruptive brand strategy. It can be the result of a new technology, or a fresh approach to UX design. The media buying can be creative, the design can be creative, the CRM tone of voice can be creative, writing code can be creative.
This way of thinking has two main advantages. One, it makes the creative playing field much, much larger. Which is fun and keeps things interesting. And two, in a world saturated with communication, this is the only relevant approach. Contemporary consumers are unpredictable creatures, and in order to reach and engage them for the brands we work for, it's all hands on deck.
Perfectly cut cucumbers.
Two. The Ritz Cracker Cutter is a nice metaphor for what the purpose of creative thinking should be. In this metaphor the cracker is the brand, the toppings are the creative concept and the cutter is us, The Reference. Now look at how neatly the cutter stacks cucumber, salami or other toppings onto the cracker. The toppings make the cracker attractive and tasty looking, and it could not possibly have been done more in sync with the basic product.
And that's exactly what a good creative idea should do as well. It's not a good idea unless it's relevant. It's not a good idea unless it's remarkable. It's not a good idea unless it fits the brand perfectly. And it's not a good idea unless it's these three things at once. Easier said than done, to be honest, but definitely more rewarding in the end.
Our job, as we see it, is not to make art. It's not to make excel sheets either. Our job is to put perfectly cut cucumbers on a cracker. To design things that a consumer understands, loves and wants. Because in the end, it’s more than creativity, it's your business.
> Want to know more about the Ritz Cracker Cutter case? Here you are: https://vimeo.com/145188701
> Want to know more about The Reference Antwerp? Get in touch with Anja Cappelle
> Want to discover more fabulous Cannes Advertising Festival cases? Check this: https://www.canneslions.com/the-cannes-lions-archive