Marketing: Finding that Perfect Pitch - Pharmaceutical Executive


Marketing: Finding that Perfect Pitch

Pharmaceutical Executive

What About Impact?

Even with a good brief in place, evaluating creative is still subjective. We can, however, attempt to put objective measures into the mix to make sure the communication is doing what its needs to do and delivering the right message the right way.

Here's a list of questions to ask when you look at creative. It's just the basics—great ideas will blow through this list in a minute—but it's a place to start, rather than starting with liking red better than yellow or believing that headlines can't be longer than six words (they can). So the next time you see creative, ask:

Does it reflect the thinking in the creative brief?

Does it clearly differentiate the product from competition?

Does it answer the target's question: "What's in it for me?"

Is it fresh and original enough to get noticed, whether through graphics, copy, attitude, unique angle of attack, or other aspect?

Is it singular in focus?

Does it dramatize the product's benefit?

Will it create an image or personality that enhances value and differentiate it?

Does the idea have legs? Can it be extended to a full, long-lasting campaign?

If the work doesn't meet a point on the list, then it doesn't work. If every concept passes the test, then the question becomes which is the strongest out of a good bunch. Not a bad problem to have. And that's a question we can ask our customers through research.

What About Your Boss?

One of the most frustrating scenarios, for both your brand team and your agency, is when senior management wields significant decision-making power yet is invited to the party late. They haven't been involved in agency input, haven't seen the brief, yet are weighing in (quite heavily) on the creative. To avoid this, make sure anyone who's involved in the creative decision is involved in the entire process, from input, to the creative brief, to the final decision. Get their signoff on the brief, consult with them on agency questions during creative development, have them at the agency presentation. We can't stress these points enough.

On To The Next ...

At this point, you should be well-equipped to make your next creative presentation more productive. You know not to send the creative team off without a good brief, approved by all powers that be. You have a list of questions to copy, hand out, and provide a framework for your group evaluation of the ideas. And you've promised to have senior management involved all along the way.

The result should not only be better work that's easier to evaluate, but it should ensure more lively, productive discussions after the big presentation. You may find you won't even have to ask if Mr. X likes it.

Al Topin is President of Topin & Associates, and a member of Pharm Exec's Editorial
Advisory Board. He can be reached at

Abby Mansfield is is Senior VP and Creative Director at Topin & Associates. She can be reached at


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