An Exploratory Study of Innovation in the Advertising Industry: Innovation Dimensions, Innovation Process and Client Involvement

  • Fengjie Pan

Student thesis: Master of Philosophy


The advertising industry is characterised by high levels of innovation activity, while there is very rare research about innovation in advertising. Therefore, there is a gap in exploring the characteristics of innovation in advertising, how advertising agencies, clients, and consumers shape the innovation process together, and how clients and consumers are involved in the innovation process.As literature about innovation in advertising is very rare, literature strands on innovation dimensions, innovation process, client involvement, and open innovation in KIBS are drawn on to analysis the innovation in advertising. Innovation process in the advertising industry is conceptualized as an interactive process shaped by the interactions among agencies, clients, and consumers. The innovation definition adopted in this study emphasizes the newness of the service to the involved people.A qualitative methodology is adopted to study the innovation in the advertising industry. The fieldwork in this study was undertaken through interviews with fourteen advertising managers in the London and Manchester advertising companies. The data from the interview transcripts were analysed according to different themes. Deriving from the data, four different types of interactions with clients and consumers in the interviewed advertising companies appeared in this thesis.The main findings in this thesis include three aspects. First, the innovation dimensions in advertising include seven elements, which are the creative content, media channel, technology, data, revenue model, client and consumer interfaces, combinations of creative content, and media channels. Second, the new advertisement development process contains the information collection, strategic planning, creative briefing, idea generation, idea selection, media planning, production, marketing test, releasing, evaluation, and learning stages. Third, the role of clients in the creative process can be divided into four patterns; the degree of open innovation is correlated with the analysis of the roles of clients and audiences. This thesis contributes to service innovation knowledge by: conceptualizing the innovation dimensions in advertising; finding out the approaches of generating innovative ideas; uncovering the advertisement development stages and innovation process; analysing the roles of clients and audiences in the innovation process; linking the level of open innovation in the advertising industry to the interaction patterns with clients and consumers. Implications for practice concerns the approaches that advertising managers can draw on to boost the innovativeness of advertising. Policy implications include lessons for government to draw upon.
Date of Award3 Jan 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorIan Miles (Supervisor) & Hugh Cameron (Supervisor)


  • Advertising industry
  • Client involvement
  • Innovation dimensions
  • Innovation process

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