Advertising Creativity: Will you dare to take risks?


The Risk Model (RM) of creativity as discussed in Nyilasi and his colleague’s paper reminds me of Dr. Joyce Brothers’ quote: “If we can take the worst, take the risk.”. It’s like when we think of creativity in advertising as a kind of risky investment. The more we bet, the more we earn. If we refused to take risks, we might not lose anything, but at the same time, we would definitely sink into the clutter of mediocrity.

In the relationship between Risk Model and other mental models which all contribute to ad executives’ creativity process, the Risk Model plays a role as a gatekeeper, who alerts ad practitioners immediately when they are about to get stuck into old, boring ideas and opens the door for innovative things (CIM, ACM) to fly (Nyilasi et al., pp.1701-1706).

However, does RM always work? Let’s watch this video.

Humor and Wordplay. Kmart didn’t need the third hero to help its ads go viral. However, it also created a huge controversy. Kmart faced with censures from parents (also defined as their target customers), who are worried that their kids might get negative effects by watching these “raunchy” ads.

This comes back to the first thing we need to remember when developing an ad concept: “What do you want to say?” And “Who are you talking to?” (Barry 2016, p.19). It means a clear understanding of product’s proposition and target customers. This might be useful when ad executives are ready to take risks but not ready to be banned like  Energy Watch in 2011.


Barry, P 2016, The Advertising Concept Book, 3rd edn, Thames & Hudson, London.

Nyilasy, G, Canniford, R & Kreshel, PJ 2102, Ad agency professionals’ mental models of advertising creativity, European Journal of Marketing, vol.47, no.10, pp. 1691-1710.


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