Look Before You Print: Quality Assurance for Creative Pieces

We’ve all heard the phrase “Look before you leap,” but when it comes to the advertising industry, it’s all “Look before you print!” Look up “marketing fail” and you will see article after article of campaigns with spelling errors, unfortunate ad placements and consumer backlash.

Here are a few steps you can take to avoid having your campaigns show up as the prime example of what not to do:

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  1. Spell check. I can’t stress this enough! Some people can spell check just by reading a document and, for some, it’s easier to copy and paste the text into a Word doc in order to use its built-in tools. However you get the job done is up to you.
  2. Compare the ad piece to the original creative brief, copy deck, TPS report, etc. This makes sure it meets all the objectives and contains all the mandatories. If you take the time to organize the project from the get-go, it will be everyone that wins in the end.
  3. Keep the end user in mind when reviewing. Think about what they will do with this piece once consumed, and then ask yourself if your communication will help elicit the desired response. For instance, if you are reviewing a banner ad, users (hopefully) will be clicking on it, so make sure the destination URL goes to the correct website.
  4. Make sure there are a few sets of eyes on it and—before final signoff—new eyes. After you’ve looked at a piece of creative for a while, it sometimes makes it more difficult to spot errors. Having another person review the work will bring fresh perspective and another opportunity to catch mistakes.
  5. In addition to an existing brand standard, keep a running preference list for your clients. The more you work together, you’ll get used to their likes and dislikes. For instance, they may have a certain logo for print-only pieces, or they might like to use only certain brand colors for TV.

If you have any more quality assurance and proofreading tips and tricks, we’d love to hear them in the Comments section!

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