6 Quick Tips on Assessing Advertising

by James on December 5, 2008

The ad agency or a freelancer you hired to develop advertising is asking you to assess their work. For many business people assessing advertising can be daunting. For them, it’s right up there with Dental Surgery in the fun department. After all, if you could develop the ads you wouldn’t need to hire an outside resource. So, how should you assess the work?

“What should be the basis for my feedback?”

“What if I pick the wrong idea?”

No worries, here are some simple guidelines you can follow when assessing advertising. Use them to give your team feedback that will be valuable and won’t get in the way of good ideas.

  1. Assess the creative on its ability to deliver the strategy to the target audience. Don’t try to consider how clever it is or how nice it looks. Ask yourself, “Does this clearly communicate the strategy.” And make sure it’s delivering the message to the target audience. Not to you or your boss. You probably have a graduate degree. This puts you among 9.4% of adults 25+. If you have a college degree you are among 27% of adults 25+. You make a lot of money and you think about your business and its advertising all day. You are not a normal American adult. Sorry, but it’s true.
  2. Is the information in the ad accurate? If it is, don’t wordsmith the copy or fuss with the design. Professional copywriters and art directors spend their careers considering how best to communicate ideas. You spend your time with spreadsheets.
  3. A little personality goes a long way toward differentiating your brand, product or service from the competition. Do you really think the George Foreman Grill is that much better than all the other choices? It’s not, buy does it ever have personality.
  4. Design is very important. It conveys emotion and personality. Good design makes it easier for consumers relate to the message and understand what it means to them. Great design sets your message and your brand apart. Look at Apple’s advertising to see what I mean. But beware the Art Director run amok. Design tells, copy sells. Be sure the design supports the copy and makes it easier for your target audience to “get” the message.
  5. Your boss, your boss’s boss, and all the bosses up the food chain will want to bring their extensive experience with higher education and spreadsheets to bear on the advertising. Don’t let them. Show them points 1 through 4. Stand up for the work; you will get better results for your business, which will make you a hero. It will also make you a hero with your creative resource, which will continue the cycle of great work.
  6. You are paying good money to your advertising / creative resource because they are experts. This doesn’t mean you should turn off your BS detector. If the ads can be defended, if your creative team can explain why they have done what they’ve done, you should support them, even if the ads aren’t what you find appealing. See point 1. If they can’t defend the ads in a reasonable, easy-to-understand manner, turn up your BS detector. Advertising is a craft. A qualified professional can explain why what they developed will work.

Hip Shots

  • Don’t forget the strategy it’s your guide to successful advertising.
  • Keep your comments focused on facts. Let your creative team do their work.
  • Don’t be afraid of personality. It may be your only differentiation.
  • Don’t be afraid of design. Design supports the message and makes your advertising distinct.
  • Defend the work. The only thing standing between great work and mediocrity is you.
  • Trust the experts. They know what they are doing so let them.

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