Approving an ad, website design, tagline, or new logo for your company is a lot like approving a name for your child (that someone else came up with). We will rarely love the name they came up with. The best we can do is agree upon the thinking and strategy behind the name. Because the natural next step is to ask our target what THEY think. Remember, they are the ones who need to fall in love, not you. So, what should you ask yourself when reviewing and approving creative?

  1. Is the work on strategy? Review the brand brief and the net impression. Does the work live up to it?
  2. Overall, what’s your impression of the work? Ask yourself: if this ad were a man or a woman hitting on you in a bar, how would the ad come across? Charming? Funny? Boastful? Dull? Cerebral? Nerdy? Scattered? Would you grant this ad a first date?
  3. What is the blah blah of this category? What is our competition saying/showing? What are the common themes, so we can make sure we don’t blend into a sea of blah blah blah…
  4. Is the work great? Great advertising is based in human truth. What is the human truth or emotion behind the work?

Great advertising is simple. An idea is strengthened by everything that is removed from its execution (not added to it). Is there anything else we could remove here?

Great advertising makes the quantum leap from intrusion to reward. Will this advertising rise above the blah blah of everyday existence? Not just other ads, but everything that competes for a person’s attention: smart phones, emails, voicemails, texts, tweets, facebook updates, Angry Birds, Pandora, rush hour traffic, cable tv, blogs, podcasts, babies, meetings, airplanes, garbage trucks, graffiti, cigarette butts, magazine covers, potholes, for rent signs, to do lists, broken grocery cart wheels, newspaper headlines, espresso steamers, and blah blah blah blah?