Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Chillies, Left Brain Judging The Right?

I was reading David Blacker's post about the Chillies and it set me off on a mental obstacle course of a journey. As a precursor I must tell you that I'm not a creative who's involved in advertising or that side of things. Yes, I think I'm more right brained than left brained, you may agree with that based on what you know about me, but I'm not a marketing or advertising guy.

Please excuse me whilst I patronise you for a quick minute but, just in case you don't know much about these sort of things, I'll try to give you a quick explanation.

We have the left side of our brain and the right side of our brain they are said to be two very different animals.

The left side is the one that takes care of the very logical and analytical thing. It looks after things like maths, algebra, sequencing and organisation. If a person is very left brain oriented then they are far more likely to be a scientist, a librarian, a banker or a solicitor than if they are right brained. Apparently they're more likely to be a dog loving person too, though I don't know how or why.

On the other hand brain, if a person is more right brain oriented then they are likely to be more dreamy, more creative and more of an arty type. They can be spontaneous and unpredictable and usually get restless easily. They tend to look at the bigger picture and get frustrated with detail. And they prefer cats. Why? I don't know.

I've spent the best part of my life convinced that I was a left brained person, that logic, detail and organisation were my forte and that I was to creativity what Green Day are to traditional Irish folk music. Then, about a year ago, I took a test and learned some stuff and found out that I'm actually more right brained than left. It was a bit of an epiphany for me and it helped me to understand things better. I'm not planning to rush out and start designing sarongs or try to write copy or anything, but I now know why I've so often struggled with things that I felt I ought to be good at.

It follows that most of those creatives, the people who do make ads and have all those brilliantly imaginative ideas are mostly right brained. It's the left brained fellows who judge, who criticise and who tear things apart. It's very often the left brained sorts who can take a great but unrefined idea and make it into something better and workable, even though they'd never have come up with the idea to start with.

So I was thinking about these Chillies and wondering whether it's right, wrong or perhaps neither that creative ideas and brilliantly dreamy concepts (right brained) can be pigeon holed and placed into a judging system that's fundamentally logical and analytical (left brained).

Wouldn't it be better if they could be judged in a way that didn't force a square peg into a round hole?

Or is that asking the impossible?

Would awards be taken seriously if they were given out without any logical justification? If someone won because others just felt it was the best entrant.

Or is that what happens anyway? I may be barking up the wrong tree here, but would love to know what people think.


Anonymous said...

definitely up the wrong creek and minus a paddle.

T said...

isnt it experts in the field who do the judging?

Sachintha said...

Oops, I'm fairly good at art and that kind of thing, but I'm a Software Engineer!
What does that make my brain?

Anonymous said...

My left brain says that you shouldnt publish comments written by idiots. And recently you've had a few anon comments clearly written by one.

And my right brain says that if someone is stupid enough to make the rest of us look clever, that is also ok.

David Blacker said...

RD, you're spot on in your last line. That IS how it's supposed to be. The Chillies (and Cannes and Adfest) are supposed to pick a great ad for simply that reason -- it's a great ad. A purely subjective opinion of a panel of judges who are themselves picked for their creativity (dunno about the right/left brain conundrum though). However, there are these agency types (opposed to creative types) who feel an agency (rather than an ad) should be awarded for its creativity. Now to do that, you need to be analytical, and logical, and good at sums.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Anon 1 - As usual thanks for the wise words!

T - I believe so, it's the way the judging's done that I'm wondering about though.

Anon 2 - I have a rule that I try to publish every single comment unless the person specifically asks me not to or if it's one that's outrightly abusive or if it's spam. I guess some people will disagree with me, dislike my apartment or just be incredibly immature in their delivery. It's disappointing but there are many better things for me to smile about in life.

DB - I don't quite understand which line you're referring to there. Do you mean that things are the way they're supposed to be or that they should be different?

ViceUnVersa said...

RD it's a huge big brother network and when the fat lady has sung the scoring system can be manipulated. Am I saying it's all crooked? No but, 100% transparency is lacking. After all we're all human.
Right or left brain, creative and creativity is always subjective. You are very right - Especially when you try to judge it under given 'creative' scoring parameters.
The ad awards in Sri Lanka - That my friend is a whole new ball game.
All that glitters is not gold...


Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Sach - Well, in all seriousness, my understanding is that a person can be strong on both sides of the brain, they're not mutually exclusive. Or you're just in the wrong job of course!

DD - hmmm...I'd like to learn a lot more about these Chillie things! GM2U2

David Blacker said...

RD, was referring to this part of your post:

"Would awards be taken seriously if they were given out without any logical justification? If someone won because others just felt it was the best entrant.

Or is that what happens anyway? I may be barking up the wrong tree here, but would love to know what people think."

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

DB - I understand, thanks for clarifying

Serendib_Isle said...

The answer is simple. Advertising is art, not science. Art is subjective. Science on the other hand, offers methods and formulae to measure and judge, that’s how the left brainers have found a way to judge art that is called advertising.

Artists (or creative people in this case) can measure the proficiency of the work or its creator, and the judging panels often consist of a good mix of left/right brains. Exceptions would be found in purely creative arenas in award ceremonies, such as graphic design.

Having said that, advertising too can be measured in many ways - craftsmanship, originality, effectiveness etc etc. Chillies “supposedly” award creativity, while The Peoples Awards are for “popularity” and Effies are for “effectiveness” in advertising.

Electra said...

Serendib Isle: I disagree. I actually think of Advertising as more of a science than an art. I guess ideally, it's the perfectly balanced combination of both. I don't think a purely 'artistic' or 'creative' ad is necessarily a good ad. At the end of the day, ads need to have results and that's the only way in which you can truly judge whether it's good or not. A good ad needs to be created with both things in mind: it needs to be creative and effective. That's the trick.

I find that a lot of Creatives in agencies here (I don't know whether this is a global thing or specific to SL) are caught up in being 'creative' and put that before everything else. I'm not sure this is entirely admirable. Most of the time, you end up with an ad that's just about how clever you are and doesn't do anything for the brand or the product. You cannot forget what the purpose of advertising is. It is to sell things. Let's not blow this out of proportion. If you can do this in a way that is memorable, funny or catchy, then that's great.

It's important to not get caught up with showing off how smart or creative you are. Advertising is not a medium in which to explore your talents and creativity, you should take up painting or playing music or something to get that sort of thing out of your system. Advertising, ultimately, like it or not, is about results, and there is no truth in glorifying it falsely beyond that. And I've always believed that genuinely good advertising will show both results and creativity. That should be the point. A good ad will garner both the Creativity awards as well as show results for the client.

Also, creativity is many fold. Many Creatives seem to think that their job in Creative is to produce art. It's not. It's finding creative ways to convey a message within the certain boundaries. Many Creatives crib that they have tough clients or bad budgets. I think these are all challenges for Creatives: to come up with a creative way to produce a campaign that works on the given budget and works for the client.

David Blacker said...

Advertising's more of an applied art really, somewhere between art and science -- sort of like architecture. You can be creative, but you also need to be functional. And frankly, these things are taken into account by judges judging creative ad shows.

While they won't decide how effective an ad is, they will look at whether it's in line with the brand's personality and target group.

If you wanna differentiate between the Chillies and Effies, look at it like this -- the Chillies give awards for what CAN be effective, while the Effies give awards for what IS effective. The latter also takes into account media use, while the former doesn't necessarily.

Serendib_Isle said...

Electra, my view on advertising is very much explained in my blog. With regards to this particular question where left brainers judging right brainers, my quick response was above.

I think you are talking about “marketing” part of the process, which is more of a science than art. Advertising at large is still very much a craft, an art, that cannot be learnt by scientific methods. An ad is not 1 and 1 put together, even though many a Lankan ad may look so.

Agree, the methodology in measuring effective advertising has changed. Fifty years ago, they said the effect of advertising cannot be measured. Today, we start with a “measurable” marketing objective and a “measurable” communication objective, which would show results at the end of the campaign – by market share or mind share. This part of the process remains more of a left brained thing, but creativity is, and always will be, an art.

I think David’s answer clarifies my statement.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

But surely one of the things that differentiates advertising from art for art's sake is that it's client based.

So there are, as Serendib Isle says, some very objective means of measuring the "quality" of advertising. Things like increasing awareness, sales, responses or whatever.

But an ad that performs brilliantly by objective left brain and logical criteria may not be one that the "arty" types think is the good one. Would you agree?

Serendib_Isle said...

Yes RD. More often than not, the “arty” ads don’t move goods off the shelf, especially when “creativity” overtakes the objective. How many times do we go, “Oh, remember that ad where the guy pushes the car off the cliff - the one about the energy bar..? I don’t remember what its was..?” Those are what I call “arty” ads.

But “brilliant” ads are creative and move goods off the shelf. They build brands. Like the Peugeot ad with the Indian chap bashing his ambassador car to look like the 206. Or the Eno ad where the scientist drinks the acid straight after adding some Eno.

(Then there are mundane, formula-driven ads; as well as tactical ads that sell goods too.)

So there you have it. There are arty ads that we go WOW but adds shite to the brand equity, and there are brilliant ads that win awards AND move goods off the shelf.

David Blacker said...

I think a really good ad will perform brilliantly while being appreciated by the arty types.

Electra said...

Exactly, David. Precisely what I wanted to say except you said it one sentence!

David Blacker said...

Must be the art director in me.

Electra said...

Don't we know it about these art director types.