Last year, the world’s most-awarded creative was Skittles’ “Apologize the Rainbow” produced in collaboration with DDB Chicago. It profusely apologized for Skittles changing its green candy’s flavor from lime to apple and, to citrus lovers’ delight, announced lime’s return in a pantomime press conference live streamed on Twitch and X. The campaign relied on social listening to learn from many comments demanding lime’s return and on an Excel spreadsheet to group posts according to various themes, including “trust issues,” “happiness dying,” and “evil winning.”

The result was a hit but, at each stage of the creative process, much could have gone wrong:

  • When brainstorming and concepting, arbitrary taste making and the opinions of the highest-paid people in the room could have drowned audiences’ preferences.
  • Design and production were likely caught between brand guidelines and platforms’ best practices.
  • To “optimize,” various statistically insignificant tests could have been run, wasting money and time.
  • During the campaign’s flight, intelligence generated by the creative could have been disconnected from media planners and buyers due to organizational silos.

What should’ve taken weeks could’ve taken many months and, as the process dragged on, deepened antipathies between in-house and agency creative directors and performance marketers.

Creative Advertising Technologies De-Risk The Creative Process

Creative advertising technology (creative adtech) mitigates many of the risks that Skittles likely incurred when developing “Apologize the Rainbow.” It accelerates creative processes, exponentially increases brands’ volume of creative assets, and, ideally, affords more time to focus on exquisite storytelling. In addition, it helps brands understand audiences’ preferences by generating ever-richer databases of creative intelligence. For instance, creative adtech helps brands learn whether consumers prefer bottles vs. cans or ads set at night vs. during the day. Applying consumers’ preferences to the creative process heightens creative’s relevance, which is especially important now that consumers increasingly put up ad blockers, clear their browsing histories, and empty cookie caches, incidentally expressing their dissatisfaction with ad creative’s status quo.

Key Takeaways From Our Landscape On Creative AdTech

To help you choose among creative adtech, The Creative Advertising Technologies Landscape, Q2 2024 defines the market, assesses its maturity, apprehends its dynamics, and explains technologies’ values across various vendors, use cases, and functionalities.

The creative adtech market is a couple of years away from maturing into a top-heavy market, featuring ascending public companies and various point solutions chasing problems. The market’s middle class will be scant as small vendors struggle to reach escape velocity while midsize vendors gorge on private equity to grow.

Vendors must do a few things to win, including:

  • Carefully balancing advertisers’ needs for workflow and analytical efficiencies. Vendors that tightly connect creative intelligence to media planning and buying will become increasingly valuable.
  • Realizing their full-funnel potential. Direct response advertising doesn’t benefit from economies of scale like brand advertising does, so vendors need to exceed advertisers’ and consumers’ upper-, mid-, and lower-funnel expectations to burgeon.
  • Helping marketers realize AI’s upside. Vendors that facilitate marketers’ applications of predictive and generative AI across creative workflows, intelligence, and customer experiences while mitigating the technologies’ risks will deliver enduring value.

Stay tuned for the upcoming Forrester Wave™ on creative advertising technologies in October 2024, which will deepen our analysis by scoring vendors’ current offerings and strategies.

As always, feel free to reach out and schedule a guidance session to dig deeper.