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Ad Critique

Ad Critique
How to Deconstruct Ads in Order to Build Better Advertising

February 2012 | 216 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Ad Critique teaches advertising, marketing, and management students - both the 'suits' and the 'creatives' - how to effectively judge and critique creativity in advertising. This textbook is an instruction manual; a facilitator of dialogue; a companion piece to classroom content. Its lessons result in actual skills that enable students to look at the creative product and embolden them to say something constructive and worthwhile.
PART 1: The Language of Critique
Chapter 1: The Case for Critique: Why We Need Constructive Criticism to Make Great Ads
Befriending the Beast

What Exactly Is Critique?

Critique Is a Skill, Not a Talent . . .

. . . So Let’s Teach It

Print: The Ground Zero of Critique

The Critique Paradox

Critique Basics

Further Reading


Chapter 2: AdSpeak: The Vocabulary of Avertising
Every Language Needs a Vocabulary

The Basic Terms of AdSpeak

The Creative Strategy: AKA “The WHAT”

The Target Audience: AKA “The WHO”

The Concept: AKA “The HOW”


The Layout



The More Advanced Terms of AdSpeak

Brand Identity and Equity


Brand Personality

Page Personality

Demo: AKA "The Proof"

The Terms : A Cheat Sheet

Critique Exercises

Suggested Viewing

Suggested Reading

Chapter 3: AdErrors: When Good Ads Go Bad
AdError One: The Headline and the Visual Are Redundant or Disconnected

AdError Two: Meaningless Gimmicks and Borrowed Interest

AdError Three: Using Spokespeople Who Are Irrelevant to the Product or Message

AdError Four: Lack of Focus

AdError Five: The Page Is Overdeveloped and/or Poorly Planned

AdError Six: Sacrificing Clarity for Cleverness

AdError Seven: Overacknowledging Your Competition

AdError Eight: Letting Your Strategy Show

AdError Nine: Being Edgy for Its Own Sake

AdError Ten: Huh? Using Pretzel Logic, Being Too Subtle or Obtuse

AdError Eleven: Forgetting About the Product

AdError Twelve: Being Boring or Too Obvious

AdError Thirteen: The Tonality and/or Visual Style Is Inconsistent With the Product or Message

Critique Exercises

Chapter 4: AdAnalogy: How Art and Copy Play Together
Why Are Single-Panel Cartoons Funny?

Funny? Unfunny? How Cartoons Work

Headline Swap: How Print Ads Work

Critique Exercises

Suggested Reading

Great Collections of Single Panel Cartoons

Chapter 5: The 360-Degree Critique: Being Digital, Going Viral and Beyond
Defining Our Media Channels

Timeline and Traits of Media Channels

AdSpeak 360

Critique Exercises

Find Out More

PART 2: Critique in Action
Chapter 6: AdAlliances: Your Partners in Creating Great Advertising
The Dance

The Cast of Characters

Knee Jerk Reactions to Those on the Other Side of the Table

Stories From the Combat Zone

Two Sides to Every Stereotype

Critique Exercises

Suggested Reading

Chapter 7: AdSpeak Up! Who Says What When
The Cast of Characters

The Basic Chronology of the Process

Critique Exercise--in Four Parts

Chapter 8: The Creative Team's Bill of Rights
The Creative Team's Bill of Rights: Eight Things Every Art Director and Copywriter Have a Right to Expect During the Presentation of Their Work



Chapter 9: The Client's Bill of Rights
The Client's Bill of Rights: Six Things Every Client Has a Right to Expect During a Creative Presentation


Suggested Viewing

Critique Exercises

Chapter10: Presentation Prep
Prior to the Meeting


Suggested Reading

Chapter 11: Critique Cheats: Tips to Make the Most of the Critique
Shhhh! Blatant Cheats for a Killer Critique

Role Playing Exercise


Excellent combination of cultural theory and practical information

Paul Dwyer
Business Administration , University of Westminster
July 1, 2014

I really like this book. The layout and navigation is good and it covers essential aspects of deconstruction and critique without getting too academic.

very useful indeed for all aspects of creative production.

Mr Andy Frith
Media Production, Northumbria University
November 13, 2013

Excellent text - core reading for MG3020/MG6308 marketing communications courses - where students analyse and develop their own IMC campaigns

Ms Carol Kelleher
Marketing , University College Cork
August 7, 2013

I love this book. It is clear and concise and offers great insight into the development of and understanding of effective creative media. But unfortunately it's scope is too narrow for the class I was considering it for. I may in the future be able to include it as a supplement to the class.

Mr Roger Gonce
Communication Dept, Appalachian State University
March 25, 2013

Well-written and full of great case-studies which have been very suitable for my class teaching communication strategies and marketing.

Mrs Line Thomsen
Inst for Information & Media Studies, Aarhus University
October 31, 2012

Great for expanding resources in the Advertising Copywriting course.

Dr Roy Winegar
Communications Dept, Grand Valley State University - Allendale
September 21, 2012

This books does what it says on the tin - and is perfect for year two or three undergraduate students who have grasped the basic principles of the discipline and now need to evaluate and critique campaigns in more detail. The text/image ratio is spot on and the overall layout thoughtfully composed. I particularly liked the section on digital which was very up to date. The exercises are a valuable teaching tool. I cannot see how this text could be improved.

Dr Helen Powell
Schl of Soc Sci, Media & Cultural Stud, University of East London
August 28, 2012

Good coverage of key approaches and theoretical concepts and some good examples. Written in a clear, accessible style. Most suitable for practically-oriented courses.

Dr Lisa El Refaie
English, Communication & Philosophy, Cardiff University
July 2, 2012

very nice text, examples and exercises
very practical book for advertising

Department of Marketing, University of Vaasa
April 18, 2012

Wow! Nancy Tag delivers a key resource not just to advertising theory or student development, but also to graduate careers. The book takes the reader from understanding critique, through applying critique to practice and on to developing a template for advertising consultancy. Whether undergraduate, postgraduate, academic or industry professional, this text is a must have in every library.

Mr Paul Matthews
Business Administration , University College Birmingham
March 12, 2012

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 3


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