The nice young man from the television station has patiently presented his ratings, shown you the qualitative studies on his viewers, and presented the package pricing. You’ve decided to run a television ad. .

Whazzat? He needs to know what you want your ad to say? Let him decide. He’s the advertising expert. You’ve got a business to run.

Oh, look. He’s back with the finished ad. Humm. Interesting idea. Maybe you should get another opinion. Let’s ask the salespeople who have to deal with our customers what they think of this ad.

Stop it.

Either accept the ad, or don’t. But stop gathering opinions of people who flat out don’t know. There’s never been a conclusive study to indicate why, but there are three things everyone believes they can do better than their fellow citizens: drive a car, make love, and create advertising.

We’ve all seen their driving, and seen entirely too many bad ads to believe that a substantial portion of the population can be good at either.

You can trust your spouse.

Yes, you can, but the issue isn’t trust. It’s difficult for any spouse to get past the “I don’t like it, and I can’t imagine anyone else liking it ether,” stage.

And your staff? Yes, they’re available. But an odd thing happens when you ask people for their opinion. They always have one.

Even when they don’t have one, they will have one. But take the spousal response, multiply it by the number of staff people being consulted, and recognize that as soon as you ask for an opinion EACH OF THEM WILL BE COMPELLED TO CREATE ONE… on the spot… with no training, no knowledge, no preparation.

You’re going to get bad advice.

So, you shouldn’t get staff input?

Well, that would be a mistake. Your salesfolk are probably pretty good at dealing with customers one-on-one. They will have some good suggestions of things to include, when you ask them in advance.

And that’s the key.

Ask for key points to include before the copy is written. Once it’s done, you decide whether the ad leaves the correct impression in the minds of those watching it. Then, based on that impression only, either accept the ad as it is, or reject it outright.

But don’t ask anyone’s opinion after the fact.