This scale of creativity aims to measure the variation degree of advertising series in extended samples of the Chinese newspaper Shenbao: Jan 7-15 1914; Jan 1-8 1924, Jan 1-10, 1934 (Jan 2 & 6 issues missing) ; Feb 1-7 1941 ; Jan 1-13 1949 -(Jan 2, 3, 4, 8, 10, issues missing). Each graduation is illustrated - or better said, "embodied" - by a concrete example extracted from our sample.
The "X" axis measures the degree of creativity, on a scale ranging from 0 to 3:
- 0: identical repetition of the advertisement, located on the same page and same place on the page;
- 1: identical advertisement, but change of place (migration to another page or change of place on the same page)
- 2: change in textual contents, but no change in visual elements and composition of the copy;
- 3: more radical change in both textual and visual elements (but no structural change in the composition of the copy, which would mark the beginning of a new series, or even new campaign). On a more qualitative point of view, this maximal degree of creativity can take various forms:
- story-telling or narrative series ("Scott's Emulsion): each element of the series telling a new story, often illustrated by a specific image;
- brand-oriented series: each element of the series advertising a different brand or product. This type of series are restricted to companies that are powerful enough to put on the market and advertise several brands or products at the same time (Burroughs Wellcome, Robinson Pianos, Anglo-Chinese Dispensary, Voeckel & Schroder). By collecting all advertisements belonging to the series, one can have a complete view of the company supplying power, their range of brands and products. Yet it also liable to confuse the reader/consumer.
- concept-oriented series: each element of the series is based on a basic "concept" (safery, comfort) or selling point. This type of series aims to sucessively praise the various qualities of the product. By collecting all advertisements composing the series, one shall have an complete view of the product and its qualities (Goodrich Tyres).
With a view to correlate creativity with business sectors, the "Y" axis indicates the nature of the product, evolving between two main poles: pleasure at the top (cigarette, alcohol, luxuries) and health at the bottom (medicines). Between these two poles are displayed ambivalent goods such as hygienic products and cosmetics. Yet there is no obivous connection between the type of product and the creativity of their advertising. It seems that creativity depends on advertiser's commercial strategies.