Creativity Spikes Sales

“We have a perception that we are not hot, and that perception keeps us from being hot…We have to get a couple of [big] wins, and that perception will go away.” -Pat Fallon speaking to the WSJ
Marc Babej thinks the standard for “hot” should be rooted in the only thing that really matters about advertising: its ability to generate sales and/or justify margins.
Even though there’s way too much emphasis placed on awards shows, there is one that addresses Marc’s concerns–The Effies. Interestingly, many Effie winners also regualrly win One Show pencils, Lions and the like. This fact suggests that creativity does indeed drive sales.
As to Mr. Fallon’s assertion, I’m glad to see the man is humble after all these years of stupefying success. Yet, his worry that his shop is no longer “hot” seems laughable to me. If Fallon’s not hot, the rest of us must live in an igloo of our making.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. I think Pat summed up the way it works across the board in the ad biz–for individuals as well as agencies. If people think you’re good, or hot, or on a roll, then you are. If people think you’re not, then you’re not. Or, to paraphrase an old campaign of his, perception is reality.


    The major problem with award shows is that they worship the wrong god – creativity rather than effectiveness. David Burns

  3. Smock’s Rule of Thumb: Generally speaking an agency’s potential effectiveness (their ability to generate sales, margin, share) is inversely related to how many creative awards they’ve won.