How to evaluate creative

Judging creative for creative guys is intuitive. Most of it is a gut feeling. And more times than not, the gut is right. For others, such as account executives and clients, it’s not so. They lack the instinctual abilities of creatives, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be good judges of creative.

There is a solution (no, not choking the account guy or client). There is a systematic way to evaluate creative. There are three questions one can ask, in this order, when evaluating creative:

• Does the ad have information about the product and its unique selling proposition?

• Does the ad state this information clearly and concisely?

• Is the execution intrusive and compelling? Give it the “who cares” test. Flip around and become the target consumer. Read the ad. If you can say “who cares” after reading it, scrap it and start again, because your target consumer probably will react the same way. This technique will make debates between creatives and their partners less oblique and a little clearer.

The creative director should get the final call on execution. This goes back to the gut instinct that creatives possess. To all you clients: Learn to trust your creative partners. It’s what they do. It’s all they do. If you do not trust the creative partners you work with, get new ones that you do trust. In my opinion, creative work is as good as a client lets it be. To quote the late David Ogilvy, “Clients deserve the work they get.”

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