David Ogilvy famously said:
“Much of the messy advertising you see on television today is the product of committees. Committees can criticize advertisements, but they should never be allowed to create them.”
That observation from the Mad Men era still rings true today.
The inherent dynamic of committees to to sand the edges. That’s the path of least resistance. Yet it’s also the approach most likely to result in messy and forgettable work.
How we review creative and how we respond to creative feedback is as valuable a part of the creative process as the creative itself. Yet the creative review is often overlooked and frequently misunderstood.
The most talented creatives in the world will create mediocre work if the creative review process is managed in a mediocre way.
I think that’s the default mode within organizations, but it is particularly evident in the chasm between client and agency.
An ad agency exec told me once she assigned creative teams based partly on how good the clients were at the creative review. As she put it, “‘A’ clients get ‘A’ creative teams. “‘B’ clients get ‘B’ creative teams. You don’t want to waste the talents of ‘A’ teams on ‘B’ clients.
I think it’s part of the job of the client to continually improve how they give creative feedback to make the creative stronger. I think it’s also part of the job of the creative team to push back when that doesn’t happen.
Here are a few related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years: