Three Words Help Evaluate Advertising Content

Q: “Jack, how I can learn to evaluate advertising’s creative content.”

A: First, a quick summary. We want to think about how to send the right selling message using the right media channel to reach the right customer group.

This statement generates several other questions.

When and where are customers most receptive to our selling message? That answer helps us decide where to advertise (geography), when to advertise (timing), and what media channels to use (media mix).

What stimulates creation of the right selling message? Start with a creative person. One who has an intimate understanding of the target customer and a well-defined creative strategy.

The stumbling block for many marketers is evaluating creative content. Every seasoned copywriter knows a creative evaluation is more likely to be subjective than objective. Please smile, you know it’s true!

So, to make my point, please visualize this imaginary conversation about advertising between three great American humorists.

Bill Cosby observes wistfully, “The very first law in advertising is to avoid the concrete promise and cultivate the delightfully vague.” Will Rogers, with his pithy sense of humor, says his piece: “Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money they don’t have for something they don’t need.”

Mark Twain, with his keen wit and a twinkle in his eye, reminds them, “Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.” Could this conversation be the source of the original Creative ROI theory?

The Creative ROI tool uses the meaning of three words – relevancy, originality and integrity – to evaluate content of a selling message.

Relevancy asks, “Is there some sensible or logical connection to the product or service?” Originality questions, “Is there a distinctive characteristic of newness? Something not done before or not derived from anything else?” Integrity looks for a true reflection of the company or product core values.

Set aside some time soon to visit Advertising Age. Their Advertising Century Report is located at Among its most meaningful contents are lists and articles outlining the 20th century’s top 100 advertising campaigns, top 10 jingles, slogans and advertising icons. Explore! Enjoy!

Yes, creative styles in advertising change over the years, but every marketer, copywriter, art director or digital expert can profit now by studying proven creative successes, whether today or many years ago.

I selected Bill Bernbach’s famous Volkswagen Beetle campaign to test the Creative ROI tool. ( – search for Volkswagen “Think Small”)

“Think Small” and other self-deprecating headlines presented the Beetle in an offbeat manner and provided an opportunity to make things right with honest, explanatory body copy. Think small in terms of price and the efficiency of a non-gas guzzler.

Hindsight helped me give the Beetle ad a 5 star rating: It was highly relevant, original – even for today – and clearly reflective of Volkswagen’s integrity. Maybe that’s why they’re now using an adaptation of the original idea!

Please don’t think humor is an easy way to create a selling message. Actually it’s the most difficult! Prove it to yourself while you test the Creative ROI tool.

Visit – a worldwide collection of humorous TV commercials. Each is rated for being funny – lots with 5 stars!

Try your hand. What rating will you award a five-star “laugh?” Use the Creative ROI tool to test for a powerful selling message. Go for it! You may be surprised!

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