Creative territory

Although ‘Creative Territory’ is a term used by marketing people and those working in creative agencies, it seems to mean different things to different people.

Creative territory is not the same as brand

Frasier in his KACL territory

A simple way to understand creative territory, brand and creative concept is to use the analogy of a sitcom, such as the classic Frasier starring Kelsey Grammer.

  • The creative territory. Frasier, like many sitcoms, relies primarily on three sets: Frasier Crane’s affluent and eclectically-decorated apartment, the studio at KACL radio where he works, and Café Nervosa where he relaxes and socialises. These are the situations of the situation comedy. These sets – in their choice of props, backdrops, lighting and so on – combine to suggest an entire world. This imaginary world is the creative territory that Frasier Crane and the other characters inhabit. It is the context in which everything in the show happens.
  • The brand is our hero, Frasier Crane. If we have seen the show before, we know what to expect from this lovably pompous character, and enjoy how his relationships and experiences draw out aspects of his personality.
  • The creative concept is what that character says and does, and his interactions with other characters in a single episode.  

Now, using this analogy, let’s look at Apple as a commercial example.

  • The creative territory – LLike Frasier, Apple has three main ‘sets’. Most of the action happens in TECHNOLOGY territory – for Apple is an IT company. Apple also hangs out in FASHION territory with the cool kids, due to their inherent and continually-evolving design aesthetic. They also visit REVOLUTION territory, to high five their army of fan girls and fan boys, as Apple has transformed people’s expectations of technology, entertainment, music access, watches and so on.
  • The brand –arguably, Apple was at its best when exemplified by co-founder and spokesperson Steve Jobs, underpinned by a distinct design aesthetic driven by Jonathan Ives. This combination which gave the brand strong personality and instant recognition. When we think of a brand as a person, in this case Jobs (or Frasier) this helps us to understand why we feel let down when a commercial brand acts out of character.
  • The creative concept – this might be, to take a historic example, a billboard advert for iPod Nanos whose copy line read nano-chromatic, and the image featured a spectrum of Nanos running as if they were wet paint.

Available shortly by Peter Kenny

  • An introduction to creative territory a free downloadable guide that defines creative territory as the missing link in the creative process.
  • A galaxy of light-bulbs: 36 creative territories – collects and describes 36 creative territories, each with a look and feel familiar to those working in advertising an marketing. It employs a fictional technique to immerse you in each creative territory, then provides real-world examples of how each creative territory is used in marketing and advertising.


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