2 Things Your Agency Should be Doing to Create 5-Star Advertising

Is your agency helping you reach 5-Star Advertising? This coveted 5-Star ranking is based on System1 Research’s pioneering behavioral science work to predict long-term profitability by ranking ads on a 1- to 5-Star scale based on emotional impact. The higher the star rating, the more likely you are to generate long-term return on your marketing investment. However, only 4% of the over 20,000 ads tested by System1 Research, have achieved 5-Stars. Anything below a 3-Star (a huge 30% of advertising) is a waste of money, time & talent.

At System1 Agency, we passionately help marketers stop wasting money and create marketing that makes a real difference. Here are just 2 things your agency should do in the pursuit of 5-Star advertising:

Creative briefs that maximize the breadth of brand-building ideas.

In the pursuit of adding value during the development of the creative brief, agencies sometimes add an interpretive layer to the client brief that is often unhelpful. From simply restating it using different jargon, through to unnecessarily diluting the strategic intent, or limiting the potential creative canvas.

To avoid this, the agency should demonstrate how their recommended creative strategy enables a breadth and depth of brand-building ideas. Given there are always a number of “ways in” to solving the challenge, also sharing the creative strategies which were considered and rejected helps demonstrate this. At System1 Agency, our Brand Monitoring and Interrogation Process ensures this.

Ensure creative ideas are truly different.

Sometimes an agency will present a whole bunch of ideas which are essentially different executions of the same or similar big idea, resulting in a game of spot the difference in assessing the ideas. The opportunity to assess truly different ideas, spanning the entire creative canvas, is often (unknowingly) lost. Get the agency to demonstrate how the ideas are truly different from each other. Succinctly expressing each core idea is key to this and enables enhancements to be made later without compromising the idea.

More money and time is wasted if similar ideas go into consumer research. The result is a loss of big-picture perspective, thinking you are selecting and optimizing the best idea, when there could have been truly different and potentially better ideas to compare. This can be embarrassing when someone internally, who is less close to the process, is more able to see the ideas are too similar and conclude Marketing have wasted time and money. Big ideas are usually distinguishable. Activation ideas can initially seem different, but can simply be different expressions of the same idea. We’ll cover this important distinction of ideas in a future blog post.

At System1 Agency, we follow these two rules (among others) to guarantee our clients ideas that will generate profitable growth. We test everything and if we don’t hit the 3-Star benchmark the first time around, we keep going at our cost, until we do. Does your agency do the same?

Written by Paul Spriggs; President, Americas – System1 AgencyConnect with Paul.


System1 Agency is the first to guarantee clients advertising that will generate profitable growth with zero waste.


At System1, we help the world’s largest advertisers make confident, creative decisions that lead to transformational business results. Our powerful ad testing platform (Test Your Ad) and our idea testing platform (Test Your Idea) help brands predict the commercial potential of ads and ideas. Complementing TYA and TYI is Test Your Brand, our brand testing tool which measures the impact of ads and ideas on brand health, ensuring long-term brand growth through predictive success.
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