Evaluating new creative work at first sight might seem daunting, especially when comparing alternative answers to a single brief.

It has always been common to regard judging creative as a matter of subjective opinion. This was never entirely true and modern communications demand a more scientific approach.

A structured, consistent approach will help to separate the incisive from the merely adequate, or worse. For each piece of creative, always ask the same five questions:

Did you understand it immediately?

You viewed it knowing what should be coming. If you struggled to get it, a relatively uninformed customer has no chance.

Is it clear?

Your creative should focus on a single customer need and offer a credible solution. A customer seeing it for the first time must accept the relevance to their situation, instantly and without question.

Were you surprised?

It needs to be distinctly unlike anything else in the market. If there is nothing obviously different about your creative, the customer can easily confuse you with your competitors.

Is it memorable?

Your customer may not be able to respond immediately when seeing your creative. It has to stick in the mind, ahead of competitor creative, for when the customer is ready to take action.

Is it compelling?

Your creative must be so motivating that a customer feels the need to respond as soon as possible. It should also show exactly how to respond, which should be simple for the customer to do.

Each of these five questions requires a simple yes / no answer. Unless a positive answer can be given honestly to all five, then the creative must be revisited. Subjective opinion only becomes a secondary, ‘tie-breaking’ factor if two or more alternatives can pass all five tests.

If a piece of creative work passes four of the five tests, remember that there is no such thing as ‘almost’ incisive.

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Clive Hurcomb
Creative Director