What Is a Creative Platform in Advertising?

One of the things we sell our clients as part of our Branding & Advertising service is a creative platform – the step that involves developing the actual marketing campaign. But we realize the term is a bit jargon-y, so here’s what it means in a little more detail.

What is a creative platform?

A creative platform is a set of ideas for a marketing campaign. These ideas will all fit within a single unifying look and tone, which we call a “concept” or “campaign.” You’ll typically get to choose between two or three different concepts. The concept you choose will become the basis (or “platform”) for all the pieces we create for you in the future (until it’s time for a new campaign, of course).

We’ll write copy and mock up actual designs of ads, billboards and more for you to look at. Sample pieces depend on your needs:

  • Ads (digital and/or print), outdoor, collateral, direct mail, etc. The mock-ups we create to show you may be the finished product, or they may include temporary stock imagery or sketches we call “FPO” (for placement only). The copy will usually be close to final, except in longer pieces like brochures, where we may use temporary filler text (usually Latin text called “lorem ipsum”). Once you choose a concept, we’ll write any remaining copy and organize a photo shoot or assign/contract an illustrator to create the final images.
  • TV/Video. If your campaign includes TV commercials or another kind of video, we’ll either show you a treatment (a brief description of what happens in the spot, with a few sample images to give you a sense of how it’ll look) or scripts (what happens in the spot play-by-play, including actions and dialogue). Once you choose a concept, we’ll create storyboards (if included in the budget), which are comic-style sketches that illustrate each shot of the spot – so you can get a full sense of the pacing and feel of the spot before we start filming or animation.
  • Radio. If your campaign includes radio, we’ll typically show you full radio scripts, including dialogue, voice-over and/or noted sound effects. Once you choose a concept, we’ll select voice actors, then record and edit the spots.
  • Extras. We like to think outside the box about what else could help your campaign grab attention and build traction, like special experiential events, sweepstakes, custom swag or cool digital things, like gaming and augmented reality.
  • Strategic plan. This isn’t technically a creative piece, but we’ll never do a creative platform without also looking into how best to reach your audience for your budget. This will include some market research, an estimated media budget and a plan for tracking the campaign’s success.
“A creative platform will typically last you one to three years.”

When should you start on your creative platform?

The platform is the step just after your overall branding (pieces like logo, fonts and colors) and key messaging (mission, vision and important selling points). Those are evergreen items that form a foundation for your brand, upon which we’ll build the creative platform.

How long does a creative platform last?

The platform probably isn’t evergreen, though well-loved elements could become permanent staples (such as Sinclair Oil Corporation’s green Dino). A creative platform will typically last you one to three years, although you could consider using it longer, provided it is still socially relatable and garnering traction.

Got questions? Ready to get started? Contact us.

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Tags: Branding & Advertising

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