What does truly excellent creativity look like today?


Not many campaigns stop me in my tracks.  Most creative work is a lazy reimagining of a previous piece of work. “Stealing like an artist” as Austin Kleon astutely observes in his bestselling book.

But when I am stopped.  When the creativity goosebumps do prickle my neck.  The reason is always the same.

The work is driven by a previously untouched insight.  A less ordinary observation of the human experience and its connection to the brand superpower.

A human truth that is either so overwhelmingly relatable or astonishingly enlightening that you can’t believe you haven’t seen it before.

The creative strategist and their behavioural insight mining has never been more important to originality. It’s not rocket science, yet so many brands seem to forget the human bit in their marketing.  Starting with the person, not the product, is how creativity really cuts through.

So, elevate your creative strategists, and give them the space and time to dig for the gold. The following creative campaigns are the very best examples of how starting with the human is what makes for truly excellent creativity…….

Vanish X Ambitious About Autism

A powerful campaign rooted in an insight into the importance of familiar and consistent clothing to the autistic community. This beautiful docu-ad had me at max goosebumps.  Following the daily life of a family with an autistic daughter, we observe how crucial her favourite jumper is in her routine and well-being.  The role of Vanish is subtle but essential. If it wasn’t for Vanish making clothes last longer, this source of sensory comfort would be shorter lived.   An excellent example of how a killer creative strategy can make you cry at washing powder (not to mention educate and empathise).

Nurofen.  See My Pain

Pain relief turns activist.  Nurofen cleverly brings to life an insight into Women & pain.  Surveying 5000 women and men, the brand unearthed that men’s and women’s medical experiences around pain are different – with Women much more likely to have their pain dismissed than men.

The campaign creative saw common dismissal quotes such as ‘maybe you are stressed’ printed onto medical products like plasters and pill boxes and included a 90-sec emotive film of Women’s pain experiences.  The brand’s long-tail commitment to pharmaceutical training, tackling the issue at grassroots level, also adds a layer of authenticity.

Honest Eggs.

How do you cut through in the free-range eggs market?   Make a chicken more relatable to a human.   Tapping into the ubiquity of fitness trackers and step counting, this enviously simple creative translates a human insight into a chickeny one. Doing more steps is good. Free-range chickens do loads of steps. Print the number of steps on Honest Eggshells as a quality proof point so humans get it.   Too clever.

Marmite Baby Scan

A long-term campaign platform born from an insight into taste preferences, Marmite has managed to sweat Love it or Hate it for years. But its new Baby Scans campaign, based on an insight into a baby’s tastebud development in the womb, is a previously unexplored one. This comical film subverts the baby scan experience to be less about ‘what are we having?’ and more about ‘are we having a Marmite lover or a hater?’.  Who knew babies could taste in the womb?  Give that planner a promotion.

Play-Doh – Parenting is Messy 

PrettyGreen client Play-Doh has firmly established itself as a parental ally through its creative communications, comically leaning into the insight that busy, stressed Parents don’t really like Play-Doh because it’s messy and it’s them that have to clean it up.

Our latest campaign, Parenting is Messy, was driven by the insight that parents are increasingly overwhelmed with all the ‘how not to screw up your kids’ positive parenting advice coming from all angles. The Play-Doh Anti-Parenting Book was born, a storybook of real-life parental ball drops and carnage to show that Parenting is Messy, perfection is impossible, parental guilt is a waste of time and parenting books should be mostly shredded.



Written by Emma Grace

Executive Creative Director, PrettyGreen

(Originally published by The Drum 22/06/23)