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A Guide to Effective Ad Creative

A creative mage once said, “Clients get the creative they deserve.” Will you delight viewers with wildly effective, risk-taking work or sail into the watered-down, boring-but-safe, sunset? We prefer the former (or close to it). Here’s our guide to get there!


1. Stay on Brief.

A good brief is our beacon for making effective ad creative. Provide clear direction and objectives and then sign off on a document that communicates all that information to your creative team. Once that brief is set, stick to it. Resist making major changes without a good reason. A lot of heavy creative thinking goes into delivering on brief objectives, revising the brief restarts the project.  

2. Stay Curious.

Creatives are bursting with ideas that will push your initial vision outside its box. By staying curious, you’ll be able to better receive new—and sometimes wild—ideas   that come your way. Without curiosity, you’ll likely opt for what feels comfortable, not impactful. Humans are known for this type of familiarity bias (see #3). 

3. Revel in Risk-Taking.

Dig deep when something makes you uncomfortable. Studies show we are biased towards the familiar.  Familiar feels cozy AF but doesn’t help us discover exciting, unusual, effective ad creative. If an idea makes you uncomfortable, pause….you could be onto something.

4. Let Your Creative Team Solve the Problems.

Collaboration is key, but also… let us first take a stab at solving the creative problems you’re paying us to solve! You wouldn’t go to a restaurant and insist on cooking your meal after ordering it.

Just tell us first what you like – “I like the sauce.”
Then tell us what you don’t like – “I don’t like the mushrooms.”
We’ll figure out how to make you fall in love with sauceless mushrooms!

kidding…kind of…

5. Be Lazy When You Review Work.

We all do it. We notice a lot when reviewing work. Lots of details. So many details. Soso sososo. many. details.

But when we are just watching TV on our time, are we really paying close attention? Not one human is noticing what we notice. Truly. Consumers are likely multitasking while watching TV: texting, eating, drinking, and half yelling/gentle parenting.

So we must trade in our microscope for the big picture: “Do I know what the product is? Do I know who’s selling it? Am I interested in seeing this ad through to the end? Can I remember the brand and product five minutes later? 24 hours later? A week later?”        

If the answer is yes across the board: winner, winner chicken dinner! You’ve struck gold in the realm of effective ad creative.

6. Let Go.

Creatives have a unique pulse on how communication is being leveraged, manipulated, and reinvented to make an impact. Trust our weird, wild, mad ideas more than you want to and enjoy the ride, even if you don’t quite “get it.” 


There you have it, lovelies. A guide to making effective ad creative. Remember, we get the creative we deserve! Revel in the risk, stay open-minded, let go, and enjoy the ride. Together, we’ll make something truly amazing.