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The creative development process within U.K. advertising agencies : an exploratory study

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Whilst advertising creativity has received attention in the past, the process of advertising creative development has attracted less attention and to date only a limited number of studies have examined this area. Moreover, there is limited empirical evidence on the process within advertising agencies themselves. The aim of this study was to explore the creative development process within advertising agencies and provide evidence of the contextual factors which influence the process.

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 21 advertising agency account management personnel from London based advertising agencies to explore their experience of the advertising creative development process.

The results provide evidence that whilst a high degree of customisation takes place, a number of generic stages exist within the creative development process and the study identified a number of previously unreported stages. In addition to the process stages, the study provides evidence of the influence that the client-agency relationship, the provision of resources, the nature of the advertising task and the nature of creativity itself has on the creative development process.

The study concludes that the process of creative development within advertising agencies is influenced by a number of factors, including the length, style and stage of the client-ad agency relationship, the level of client involvement, client-ad agency conflict, the provision of resources, the nature of the advertising task and creativity. It was also concluded that strong social bonds do not exist between clients and their agencies. Whilst the small sample size limits the generalisability of the findings, the study makes a valuable theoretical contribution in the area and will benefit researchers and others study advertising processes. In addition, the study offers advertising practitioners, both within the U.K. and in other markets, the opportunity to appraise current practice.

The study contributes to both our knowledge of the creative development process and the contextual factors which influence the process and also to our understanding of business-to-business relationships. The study identifies a number of areas that warrant further research and provides a framework of the creative development process which it is hoped will be used as a basis for further examination and qualification.

Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Colin Wheeler (Supervisor)
  • Lillian Clark (Supervisor)
Award dateNov 2011
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