I have always been on the clients’ side in a client-agency relationship. Let me give my viewpoints on this. Do not be complacent, especially when you are working with huge budgets. With huge budgets, you may be able to get away with average quality ads, but not small budgets. Regardless, take risks, break rules and never accept mediocrity.
I used to always show the creatives to a bunch of target consumers, and get them to comment on the creative work. You must use deep consumer insights and feedback for your broad strategy such as positioning, claims and brand characters, but be more lax on the creative execution when it comes to consumer feedback. Focus more on the emotion evoked and understanding of the creative works. Breakthrough, new and unusual ads are usually deemed as uncomfortable by the typical consumers. This is where you have to exercise more of your judgment vs. that of consumers.
You have to dramatize the benefits of your products in advertising, rather than just merely show them. Dramatize it, just like how Rambo and Bruce Willis dramatize their heroism and invincibility in movies. Their heroism is clear, and audiences are entertained.
Go for great ideas, not great ads at first. Check out Timberland shoes and linkage to environmentalism. The fight between Michael Jordan’s Nike Air anti gravity shoes vs. Isaac Newtons theory of gravity. These great ideas should be fantastic enough for 1o year recalls, not last month’s recall.