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Smart Thinking blog

Insights and expert advice on the key issues facing today’s pharma marketer

Creative genius? How to evaluate creativity…

Being a creative genius isn’t easy. How can everyone around the table make that creative partnering work, so that amazing gem of an idea gets enough airing and is properly evaluated?

So does being a creative genius mean being constantly misunderstood? Does it go with a tendency toward emotional outbursts over demands made by clients "who wouldn't understand a good idea if they were slapped with it"? Does it mean occasions of 'flouncing' out of meetings over logo sizes, not to mention lengthy sulky quarrels about why the first idea was the best in any case?

As a client you want the best for your brand… you love it! In briefing your agency, you will naturally want to include all its best points, even dare one suggest, exaggerate its brilliance against all others. Then, when the creative comes back having visualised your brand (as briefed) heroically saving the masses from unspeakable evil, it's a case of having to cut back on the brand's superlatives.

So does this all say that clients are really looking less for a creative genius and more for a creative problem- solving partner?

A discussion should ensue with your creative PROBLEM-SOLVING partner, the culmination of which will be a distillation of the true advantage (or perception thereof) of your brand, and an agreement that this one and only advantage will form the messaging of the creative. Showcasing just one interesting fact is infinitely more likely to nurture a striking and creative concept than when trying to shoehorn a dozen other things into the mix.

And that's the point… creativity isn't about eureka moments….it's an ever-changing journey taken by adaptable individuals and groups all heading for the same place. Take that journey with your creative partner and get the best creative solution for your brand.

Here are some handy travel tips…

  1. Is the creative on brief – have you got what you asked for and more importantly did you ask for the right thing?
  2. Trust your reaction to the creative – do you like it? (Does your boss like it?) Is it impactful? How are you reacting to it – emotionally and logically?
  3. Is it approvable?
  4. Is it conveying the key message (oh OK – messages) whilst adhering to the core brand values?
  5. Think about your audience and get reactions from your peers.
  6. Remember that this is only a concept which can be moved forward – don't get hung up on a particular model or stockshot.
  7. What are your competitors doing? Do you stand out in the market place (and for the right reasons!)?
  8. Most importantly… Enjoy the Journey.


Article by
Piotr Hennig and Lisa Dodd

creative director CAN Advertising and client service director CAN Advertising. Piotr and Lisa can be contacted at and

18th October 2011


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