How to judge creative advertising

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

Great execution must balance the creative and strategy, finding ways to be both different and smart. Finding the space where you are different will help to break through the clutter in the market. Being smart ensures that your message will motive consumers to see, think, feel or act in the way you need for your brand to succeed. Many Brand Leaders tense up when the creative gets “too different” yet they should be scared when it seems “too familiar”.How to judge great advertising

While we encourage you to use a balance of your instincts and strategy, many Marketers need tools to help with their Advertising decisions. That’s how we came up with the ABC’S model.

This will drive higher awareness and higher persuasion scores.

  • Branded Breakthrough: How you say it helps break through to connect with consumers, while linking brand closely to the story. This is all about driving Attention and ensure your Branding is part of that breakthrough.
  • Moveable Messaging: What you say as your main message connects with consumers and motivates them to think, feel or act differently about the brand. This becomes all about your executions to deliver the Communications of your main message in ways that ensure Stickiness in the consumers mind over time.

Said another way, we believe that the best ads start with a Creative Idea that helps to:

  • Garner the consumers’ Attention to break through (A)
  • Puts spotlight on Brand so it is remembered (B)
  • Communicates brand’s benefits through story (C)
  • Sticks over time making brand seem different (S)

The ABC’S is a great tool to help you judge the potential impact the ads will have on consumers and your brand.

The ABC’S Decision Tool

  • Attention: Get noticed in a crowded media world where consumers see 7000 ads per day. If your brand doesn’t draw attention naturally, then you’ll have to force it into the limelight.
  • Branding: 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: Tap into the insights of the consumer helps tell the brand’s life story. Keep your story easy to understand, not just about what you say, but how you say it.
  • Stickiness: Build a consistent experience over time to drive a consistent reputation in the minds and hearts of the consumer.

Just like the Strategic Big Idea should drive all parts of your brand, the Creative Big Idea should drive all parts of your brand communications. It should be the creative idea that earns the consumers’ attention, the creative idea that draws attention to the brand, the creative idea that builds benefit into story and the creative idea that consistently builds a reputation.

How to judge great advertising




The best way to grab attention is to take a risk and do something creatively different. Here are 7 ways to gain more attention:

  • Be incongruent: Get noticed by being different from what they are watching. Different type of creative can help drive a high score on “made the brand seem different”. A lot of brand leaders are afraid of this, because they feel it exposes them.
  • Resonate: Leverage consumer insights to connect with the consumer, in a true way they see themselves or interact with the brand.
  • Entertain them: Make them laugh, make them cry, or make them tingle. Consumers interact with media to be entertained.How to judge great advertising
  • The evolution of the art of being different: As much as movies, TV, music continue evolve, so do ads. Reflect the entertainment to capture consumer attention.
  • Location based: Be where your consumers are most open and willing to listen. Make sure your creative makes the most of that media choice.
  • Be part of the content: As much as consumers are engaged in the content, not the advertising, then having your brand front and center and part of the story.
  • Be Sharable: Amazing story-telling ads getting passed around on social media vehicles. These long videos are great for engaging the consumer emotionally.


The best BRANDING comes when you connect the Brand to the Climax of the ad. 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 usually around 50%. Your goal should be to get past that mark. Here are 6 ways to increase the branding in advertising:

  • Make your brand a central part of the story: It is not how much branding you use, but rather how closely connected the brand to the climax of your ad.
  • Is it the Truth?: It sounds funny, but if there is a disconnect between what you say, and what you really are, then the brand link won’t be there.How to judge great advertising
  • Own the Idea: Be a bit different—make sure that what you do sets you apart from anyone else.
  • Repeat: Simplest way to get stronger branding is to repeat and repeat and repeat.
  • Avoid cutting away to a white screen: My pet peeve in advertising is when I hear creatives say, “And then we cut to the pack shot”. When I hear that, I wonder why people are afraid of the brand? That’s the “gag and tag” approach where consumers like that ad, but then “can’t remember what brand its for”. The way to get maximum involvement is to force your creatives to make the brand part of the story.
  • People remember stories: If the story involves the brand naturally, we would have more branding. A powerful story can capture the consumer, and hold them, but also leave them with a little magic. It is the brand’s life story, the purpose or the reason for being and that will make the brand much more memorable.


The best way to communicate is through story telling that involves the brand. Communicating is about selling. Keep in mind, communication is not what is said, but what is heard.How to judge great advertising

  • 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.
  • 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”.
  • Powerful expression: Find one key visual that can express what you are selling and stand behind it over time.
  • Find your “More Cheese”: This is where the benefit is so obvious what people want, we need to scream it or find ways to demonstrate it.
  • Sell the solution—not the problem: Brands get so wrapped up in demonstrating the problem, when really it is the solution consumers want to buy.
  • Diminishing returns of messages: Tracking studies show that the more messages you put in an ad, the less the consumer can retain.


The best way to stick is to have an idea that is big enough.

  • Dominant Characteristic: Things that are memorable to the senses (visual, sounds, smells, etc) and have something that dominates your mind
  • How big Is the Idea? It is proven that a gold fish will get bigger with a bigger bowl. It is the same for ideas. How to judge great advertising
  • Telling Stories: While visuals are key to communicating, people remember stories—that’s how we are brought up—with ideas and morals designed to stick.
  • Always add a penny: With each execution, you have a chance to add something to the branding idea.
  • Know your assets: Build creative and brand assets into your ad so that it sticks. Keep using in new executions or in other parts of the marketing mix.


To read more on Marketing Execution, here is our workshop that we run for Brand Leaders:


Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. We provide a new way to look at Brand Management, that uses a provocative approach to align your brand to the sound fundamentals of brand management. We use workshop sessions to help your team create a winning brand positioning that separates your brand in the market, write focused brand plans that everyone can follow and we help you find advertising that drives growth for your brand. We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. Our Beloved Brands training center offers 10 training workshops to get your team of brand leaders ready for success in brand management–including strategic and analytical thinking, writing brand plans, positioning statements and creative brief, making decisions on creative advertising and media plans.

To contact us, email us at or call us at 416-885-3911.You can also find us on Twitter @belovedbrands.




Share this story with other MarketersShare on LinkedIn
Share on Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Email this to someone
Print this page