coroner's report on the creative work

Lifeless creative work; if the ads you see on your mobile device, TV or out and about these days are anything to go by, it’s a growing phenomenon. But no one sets out to produce communications without a heartbeat, so where does it all go wrong and why does it happen so often? The autopsy has been completed and the coroner found the creative work lost its life for the following four reasons:

Suffocated by information overload

mosb9.jpgThis wouldn’t be the first creative work to fall victim to an unwieldy proposition on the brief. Your proposition needs to be clear and simple and if it isn’t then the work won’t be either.

Say you need a headline for an email or a billboard, for example. The headline will only ever say what the proposition says, but in a more compelling and persuasive way. So, if the proposition is three sentences long, then everyone involved in the project needs to know the headline will be three sentences long too.

Equally important, the proposition needs to be as competitive as legally possible. If the proposition feels “meh”, then the resulting headlines will be dead in the water too.


Great ideas don’t necessarily result in great creative work. Bad execution can kill the best concepts in every media from commercials to Facebook ads. Most of the responsibility for this lies with the creative department, but clients and Account Handlers need to play their part too. Is there enough money in the budget to do the creative idea justice? If not, you need to risk a bloodbath in the creative department by demanding a new idea.

Death by committee

bride of Frank.jpgMore common than a corpse on the village green of Midsomer is creative work strangled by lots of different opinions from lots of different people, all at different times. However senior these people might be in the organisation, agency or client, they really need to be in the room for the briefing and then again for the return on brief. That way they can hear all the reasoning from everyone involved in the project and they can understand why the creative work has ended up like it is. Otherwise, it is liable to face death by a thousand cuts and will emerge from the shadows looking a bit like Frankenstein’s ugly sister.

Criminal lack of ambition

In our business, playing it safe can be the deadliest mistake of all. Taking risks, though, is easier said than done, particularly if someone thinks their job could be on the line. But if you don’t aspire for your creative work to be different, how can you expect it to make a difference?

Apparently, all of us are exposed to more than 3,000 different sales messages every day. 99% of those don’t even register. So how do you make yours one of the 30 messages that does cut through? No, doing what everybody else is doing is not the right answer.

If you would like to know the best ways to keep your creative work alive and kicking, join us at our Creative Briefing and Assessment Masterclass at hps on 26 January.

book your place here



Alternatively download our FREE creative brief template, a step-by-step guide to help you hit the spot, save time, and ensure effective creative results.

download the template



Images courtesy of:


Creative Director

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