Beloved_Logo1

How to Judge Advertising Copy: Approve the Good. Reject the Bad.

Over the years, I’ve seen so many Brand Leaders who love Advertising, yet just don’t love their own advertising.  

I’ve always found this odd.  These Brand Leaders use their instincts on other brands’ work but can’t find those same instincts on their own work.  They are likely the ones sending Super Bowl ads around the office, yet they are the first to crap all over the work of their own agency.  

What really holds back most Brand Leaders from greatness is they actually under-estimate their own role in the process of getting to great advertising.  How they show up does more to make or break an ad than even how the agency shows up.   slide1-1After all, the Brand Leader gets the “final say” on every aspect of the ad–brief, script, director, casting, music, budget and final edit.  The agency can only recommend.  What the Brand Leader does with that “final say” can make or break the ad.  

If you knew that how you show up to your agency got better work for you, do you think you would show up differently?

In terms of giving feedback at that first creative meeting, a Brand Leader can really only do three things.

      1. Approve an ad
      2. Reject an Ad
      3. Give direction on how to make the Ad better 

If you’re sitting in the hot seat, how will you know?  It’s not easy to sit in the hot seat as the decision maker.  I’ve seen some Brand Leaders use all instinct, and no fundamentals.  They miss the most basic of things.  While other Brand Leaders strictly use fundamentals and forget to use their instincts.  They miss the magic or are the first to put together a Frankenstein from various things on the brief.  

Clients aren’t Ready

I come at this discussion from the client side.  I’ve never worked at an agency in my life.  But I have 20 years of CPG experience and have been in the shoes of the Brand Leader at every level.  I feel comfortable to say that Clients are not ready.    

Here’s the problem with the math.  Most brands make 1 campaign per year, and in your first 2-3 years as an Assistant Brand Manager, you might get a few comments in at the meeting. Then all of a sudden, you’re now the newly promoted Brand Manager and expected to lead the campaign.  As bright as you might be, you have never been on the hot seat and you might not be ready to give feedback to the agency.  Even your boss, who will coach you and judge your performance might have made 5 ads in their career.  Across from you sits a creative team, a creative director and a Group Account Director, who each might have 10+ years of experience and each work on 20+ campaigns per year.  

And what you have to say at the meeting will make or break your ad.  If you aren’t nervous at that meeting, good for you.  And good luck.  Because, you should be nervous. 

Slide1

How well prepared are you?  An ill prepared Brand Leader will more than likely deliver a poor ad.   How many hours of training have you had on giving direction to a creative team?   How many times did you role-play giving feedback to the agency?  How good was the coaching you received on your feedback?  Not only do you need the fundamentals through solid training, but you likely need someone coaching you through a role-playing exercise.  

How will you show up?  Are you ready?  Or will you just be another brilliant Brand Leader who can’t seem to make a great ad on their own brand?

Judging the Ad:

The Creative Meeting is not Easy.  You’ve got to balance, the head, the heart and the gut against the good of the brand.  Take your time and sort it through asking the following questions:

  1. Do you love what it can do for your brand?  If you don’t love it, how do you expect your consumer to love it?  A great ad has to have everyone’s heart and soul put into it.  If you “sorta like” it, then it will be “sorta ok” in the end.  If you love it, you will fight for it.  (The Heart) 
  2. Is it on strategy?  Is the Advertisement an expression of what you have been writing in your strategy documents?   Is it doing what we hoped it would do?  I love the ABCS technique (outlined below) because it helps me to frame things in my mind, so I can evaluate it past how I feel.  I think you need something to ground yourself.  (The Head)  If  there is something in your gut says it’s off, it likely is.  (The Gut)
  3. Is it long-term Idea?  Is a big enough idea that fits with the brand, does the hard work you want to do for the brand and can last 5 years.  Think about leaving a legacy—which forces you to think of campaign-ability.  (The Brand)  Look at the Creative Brief and if the ad is not on strategy, then it has to be rejected   Advertising is an expression of strategy.  If it’s not on strategy, it has no value.  

I once was in the midst of fighting for an Ad campaign as it was going up through the approval ranks of my own senior management.  It was a very odd campaign.  Yet I loved it.  One night, I was out for a walk with my wife and she said “what if it gets rejected”.  And I said “it will be the end of me”.   She thought I was crazy and said “you can’t think that way”.  And I said “I have to think that way”.  The question of whether you love it or not, is not a “sort of” question.   You have to be all-in, ready to battle for it’s life.  If you don’t love the work, how do you expect your consumer to love the brand?   The campaign was approved, and it doubled the business over the next 10 years.  

The ABC’S of Advertising 

Here’s a potential tool you can take into the room that is very easy to follow along.  You want to make sure that your ad delivers on the ABC’S which means it attracts  Attention, it’s about the Brand, it Communicates the brand story and Sticks in the consumers mind.  

  • Attention:  You have to get noticed in a crowded world of advertising.  Consumers see 6000 ads per day, and will likely only engage in a few.  If your brand doesn’t draw attention naturally, then you’ll have to force it into the limelight.
  • Branding:  Ads that tell the story of the relationship between the consumer and the brand will link best.  Even more powerful are ads that are from the consumers view of the brand.  It’s not how much branding there is, but how close the brand fits to the climax of the ad.
  • Communication:  Tapping into the truths of the consumer and the brand, helps you to tell the brand’s life story. Keep your story easy to understand. Communication is not just about what you say, but how you say it—because that says just as much.
  • Stickiness:  Sticky ads help to build a consistent brand/consumer experience over time.   In the end, brands are really about “consistency” of the promise you want to own.  Brands have exist in the minds of the consumer. 
Attention

Buying media and putting something on air does not attract attention for your ad.  Why would consumers want to listen to what you have to say.  You have to EARN the consumers’ attention.  The best way to grab Attention is to take a risk and do something not done before. Here are the 5 ways to attract attention.

  1. Be Incongruent:  This is a great technique to get noticed is by being a bit off kilter or different from what they are watching.  A lot of brand leaders are afraid of this, because they feel it exposes them.  Avoid being like “wallpaper”   If you want a high score on “made the brand seem different”, it starts with acting different.   kitkat
  2. Resonate:  Connect with the consumer in the true way that they see themselves or their truth about how they interact with the brand.
  3. Entertain them:  Strike the consumers emotional cord, by making them laugh, make them cry, or make them tingle.  From the consumers view—they interact with media to be entertained—so entertain them.
  4. The Evolution of the Art of Being Different:  As much as Movies,  TV music continues to evolve, so do ads. As much as your art has to express your strategy, it needs to reflect the trends of society to capture their attention.  Albino fruit flies mate at twice the rate of normal fruit flies.  Be an albino fruit fly!!!
  5. Location Based:  Be where Your consumers are open and willing to listen.  The Media choice really does impact attention.  Make sure your creative makes the most of that media choice.  
Branding

There is an old advertising saying “half of all advertising is wasted, but we aren’t sure which half”.  Coincidently, the average brand link is 50%.  Our goal should always be to get higher.  The best Branding comes when you connect the Brand to the Climax of the ad.   It’s not about how much branding or how early the branding arrives.  

  1. Be Part of the Story:  in the spirit of big ideas, how do you tell a story, using your brand.  It’s not how much branding you use, but rather how closely connected the brand to the climax of your ad.
  2. Is it the Truth:  It sounds funny, but if there is a disconnect between what you say, and what you are….then the brand link won’t be there.  People will discard the ad.
  3. Own the Idea Area:  Be a bit different—make sure that what you do sets you apart from anyone else. 
  4. Repeat:  don’t be afraid of building your brand—and the simplest way to get branding is to repeat and repeat and repeat.
Communication

Communicating is about selling.  Keep in mind, communication is not what is said, but what is heard.  The best way to Communicate is through Story Telling that involves the brand.  The modern-day world of the internet allows richness in story telling.  

  1. Start a Dialogue:  If you can do a good job in connecting with the consumer, the branding idea can be a catalyst that enables you to converse with your consumer.
  2. What are you Selling?  You have to keep it simple—you only have 29 seconds to sell the truth.  Focus on one message…keep asking yourself “what are we selling”.drill
  3. Powerful Expression:  try to find one key visual that can express what you are selling.  This visual can be leveraged throughout
  4. Find Your “More Cheese”:  Many times its so obvious what people want, but we just can’t see it or articulate it. 
  5. Sell the Solution—not the Problem:  Brands get so wrapped up in demonstrating the problem, when really it is the solution that consumers want to buy. 
Stickiness

We all want our ads to stick.  You need to adopt a mindset of “will this idea last for 5 years”.  The Best way to Stick is to have an idea that is big enough.  You should sit there and say is this a big idea or just an ad?

  1. Dominant Characteristic:  things that are memorable have something that dominates your mind (e.g.:  the red-head kid)
  2. How Big Is the Idea?  Its proven that a gold-fish will get bigger with a bigger bowl.  The same for ideas.
  3. Telling Stories:   While visuals are key to communicating, in the end people remember stories—that’s how we are brought up—with ideas and morals that are designed to stick. 
  4. Always Add A Penny:  With each execution, you have a chance to add something to the branding idea.  Avoid duplicating what you’ve done…and try to stretch as much as you can. 
  5. Know Your Assets:  There has to be something in your ad that stick Know what that is and then use it, in new executions or in other parts of the marketing mix.

Slide1

If you don’t love the work, how do you expect your consumer to love your Brand.

To see a training presentation on Get Better Advertising: 

 

If you are in the mood to see stories on great advertising, here’s a few other stories:

Slide1

 

Do you want to be an amazing Brand Leader?  We can help you.  

Read more on how to utilize our Brand Leadership Learning Center where you will receive training in all aspects of marketing whether that’s strategic thinking, brand plans, creative briefs, brand positioning, analytical skills or how to judge advertising.  We can customize a program that is right for you or your team.  We can work in person, over the phone or through Skype.  Ask us how we can help you. 

At Beloved Brands, we love to see Brand Leaders reach their full potential.  Here are the most popular article “How to” articles.  We can offer specific training programs dedicated to each topic.  Click on any of these most read articles:

 

blog ad 1

belovedbrands

http://beloved-brands.com

Graham is the voice of the modern Brand Leader. He started Beloved Brands, knowing he could “Make Brands better and Brand Leaders better™”. His Beloved Brands blog has 2 million views, and his public speaking appearances inspire Brand Leaders to love what they do. The idea behind Beloved Brands is the more love you can generate with your consumers, the more power you have in the market which drives higher growth and profits for your brand. As a brand coach, Graham helps to find growth where others couldn’t, creating Brand ideas consumers love and Brand Plans everyone can follow. For Brand Leaders wanting to reach their full potential The Brand Leadership Center offers workshops on strategic thinking, analytics, planning, positioning, creative briefs, judging advertising and media. Graham spent 20 years leading some of the world’s most beloved brands at Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer, General Mills and Coke, rising through the ranks up to VP Marketing. Graham played a major role in helping Pfizer win Marketing Magazine’s Marketer of the Year award. Beloved Brands has a robust Client list that includes NFL Players Inc, NFLPA, Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, Earls Kitchen + Bar, 3M, 649 Lottery, Sunlight, Carlsberg, Slimquick, Red Racer, Shagri-la Hotel, Canada’s Wildlife Health and Fluke.

View more posts from this author
68 thoughts on “How to Judge Advertising Copy: Approve the Good. Reject the Bad.
  1. Pingback: How to Judge Advertising Copy: Approve the Good. Reject the Bad. | Strengthening Brand America | Scoop.it

  2. Pingback: Ten Nike Ads that Will Inspire You « Beloved Brands

  3. Pingback: How to give Feedback on Advertising Copy « Beloved Brands

  4. Pingback: 42 Deadly Ad Copy Sins | Brian-Anderson.us

  5. Pingback: A Brand Leader’s view of what makes a Good Advertising Agency « Beloved Brands

  6. Pingback: How to Get Fired as a Brand Manager « Beloved Brands

  7. Pingback: How to Write a Brand Positioning Statement « Beloved Brands

  8. Pingback: How to Write a Brand Plan « Beloved Brands

  9. Pingback: How to write an Effective Creative Brief « Beloved Brands

  10. Pingback: How to create a Brand Strategy Road Map « Beloved Brands

  11. Pingback: How to write a “MINI” creative brief? « Beloved Brands

  12. Pingback: How to work the Five types of Media to your advantage « Beloved Brands

  13. Pingback: 10 Annoying Things that give Marketers a Bad Reputation. STOP IT! « Beloved Brands

  14. Pingback: The Microsoft Tablet Disaster was so easy to Predict « Beloved Brands

  15. Pingback: How to Think Strategically « Beloved Brands

  16. Pingback: How to Build Your Media Strategy « Beloved Brands

  17. Pingback: How to Be a Successful Brand Manager « Beloved Brands

  18. Pingback: Love = Power = Profit « Beloved Brands

  19. Pingback: What gets in the way of you loving the work you do? « Beloved Brands

  20. Pingback: How to run a Marketing Team « Beloved Brands

  21. Pingback: Best Tourism Ads on the Planet « Beloved Brands

  22. Pingback: 5 Ads that Will Make You Burst Out Laughing « Beloved Brands

  23. Pingback: 5 Ads that will Give you Goose Bumps « Beloved Brands

  24. Pingback: What comes first, the media choice or the creative idea? « Beloved Brands

  25. Pingback: Why Can’t Brand Leaders Focus? « Beloved Brands

  26. Pingback: Emotional Advertising must start with an Emotional Brief « Beloved Brands

  27. Pingback: How to Analyze What’s Happening on Your Brand « Beloved Brands

  28. Pingback: Six Key Principles of Good Analytics for Brand Leaders to Follow « Beloved Brands

  29. Pingback: “Wow Apple, that Sucked!” Now you are just talking to yourselves. « Beloved Brands

  30. Pingback: How to Prioritize your Portfolio of Brands « Beloved Brands

  31. Pingback: How Brand Leaders can get great Advertising: the ABC’s of Good Copy « Beloved Brands

  32. Pingback: Is Samsung a beloved brand? Not quite, but it’s really likeable. « Beloved Brands

  33. Pingback: When it comes to Social Media, here’s why most Brand Leaders still don’t get it « Beloved Brands

  34. Pingback: AMC: Transformation from a sleepy Movie Channel to brilliant Production House « Beloved Brands

  35. Pingback: Better Brand Leaders, make Better Work and drive Better Results « Beloved Brands

  36. Pingback: 10 Laws of Forecasting to help Brand Leaders be better managing their business « Beloved Brands

  37. Pingback: Five Ads that connect powerfully by getting on the side of consumers « Beloved Brands

  38. Pingback: How to write a winning Brand Concept statement « Beloved Brands

  39. Pingback: How good do your Brand Plans look for next year? « Beloved Brands

  40. Pingback: While CPG led the way on TV advertising, they trail dramatically on Social Media « Beloved Brands

  41. Pingback: New John Lewis Christmas Ad (2013), from the company that does the Best Christmas ads « Beloved Brands

  42. Pingback: Everything Starts and Ends with the Consumer in Mind « Beloved Brands

  43. Pingback: How to uncover and frame amazing Consumer Insights to help your brand « Beloved Brands

  44. Pingback: New Google Ad will make you cry, without understanding a word that is said « Beloved Brands

  45. Pingback: How generating more Love for your brand will make You More Money « Beloved Brands

  46. Pingback: Have your say: Is this Holiday ad cute or offensive? « Beloved Brands

  47. Pingback: Are retailers messing up “Black Friday”? « Beloved Brands

  48. Pingback: The most Beloved Ads of 2013, with story-telling dominating the list. « Beloved Brands

  49. Pingback: Captivating Ad about Working Women rivals Dove’s “Real Beauty” « Beloved Brands

  50. Pingback: The love and tradition behind the Starbucks Red Cups « Beloved Brands

  51. Pingback: 10 Things Brand Leaders should be do this week before the Holiday Break « Beloved Brands

  52. Pingback: New holiday ad from Apple will bring a sweet tear to your eye « Beloved Brands

  53. Pingback: How to lead a motivating Year End Review for Brand Leaders « Beloved Brands

  54. Pingback: Is your Brand Team good enough to achieve your 2014 goals? « Beloved Brands

  55. Pingback: So…what is a Brand? « Beloved Brands

  56. Pingback: Here are resolutions for 2014 that will Challenge you to be a better Brand Leader « Beloved Brands

  57. Pingback: Brand = Culture: How Culture can Help Your Brand Win « Beloved Brands

  58. Pingback: Is Bose High Quality or Low Quality? Is Bose a Beloved or Hated Brand? « Beloved Brands

  59. Pingback: The Top 10 worst types of Advertising clients. Don’t be one of these? « Beloved Brands

  60. Pingback: Brand Co-Creation: Brands and Consumers get equal say in developing a Brand « Beloved Brands

  61. Pingback: Why CMO’s are demanding more Creativity « Beloved Brands

  62. Pingback: How to Judge Advertising Copy: Approve the Good. Reject the Bad. | My Karman Line

  63. Pingback: Miley Cyrus six months later: If you’re over 22 you’re not the target « Beloved Brands

  64. Pingback: RETURN ON LOVE (R.O.L.): A new way to look at the power of Brands « Beloved Brands

  65. Pingback: Ten Best Super Bowl Ads of All Time « Beloved Brands

  66. Pingback: Six Habits of Great Brand Leaders | Beloved Brands

  67. Pingback: How your Brand’s Big Idea should drive every part of your Organization | Beloved Brands

  68. Pingback: Is the Tim Horton’s brand at risk? How can they re-kindle the Love? | Beloved Brands

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Protected by WP Anti Spam