Creativity is in crisis. For some years now, Les Binet and Peter Field, analysts at the Institute for Practitioners in Advertising have been collecting evidence of a decline in effectiveness. There are several symptoms. A rise in budget allocation to short-term activation. A breaking of the link between creatively awarded work and effectiveness. And an overall drop in the likelihood of advertising delivering long-term business effects.
Most of the work on this decline has focused on the changing media context of advertising – how it's been forced to adapt to a shifting world of fragmented digital audiences and multiple screens. But there are also deeper cultural currents at work.
To understand them, we need to understand the human brain and how it perceives the world. The neuroscientist and writer Iain McGilchrist is a world expert on 'brain lateralisation' – the different roles the left- and right- halves of the brain play in our experience of the world. McGilchrist's work reflects a new understanding of this divide. The old idea that the left brain 'does' science and the right 'does' art is debunked. But while the two halves of the brain aren't responsible for different things, there's ample evidence (for instance from patients where the connection between the halves is severed) that they attend to the world in different ways.