Creative Conjecture

On this holiest of mathematical holidays, National Pi Day, we’d like to offer our own marketing hypothesis. As you know, a hypothesis is a proposition consistent with known data, but that has neither been verified, nor proven false.

Math and art are often treated as opposites. However, marketing proves this to be false on a daily basis. Despite our marketing automation tools, data-driven decision making, and carefully collected web metrics we can’t escape the need to evaluate the art.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

- Margaret Wolfe Hungerford (1878)

All creativity must be judged. The highway billboard was vetted a dozen or more times. What about logos? They are reviewed, cut up, torn apart and reassembled umpteen times.

How we review the creative has serious business implications for any agency. If time is money, creative reviews are the clockmaker.

Now comes our hypothesis, or as we call it, the Creative Conjecture. If we all agree that creative reviews are necessary, then we can calculate the number of revisions (aka time) required before final approval.

As a formula, Creative Conjecture is articulated below where z equals the number of expected revisions requested.


Here’s a sample result scribbled on our very own hotel napkin. Please keep in mind that all results should be rounded up to the nearest whole number.

The numbers don’t lie. Six changes needed. What are the variables, you ask?

a = number of meeting attendees

l = length of meeting in minutes

y = number of creative directors present

x = number of decision makers in the room that haven’t read the brief

Pi = 3.14159

z = the number of revisions you should expect

Now that might seem convoluted and pointless. You might be right, but it is our Pi Day hypothesis. It can’t be verified or disproven.

In the end, we all want the same thing. We want to work together and effectively communicate ideas to humans with well-defined objectives and measurable results. It’s as easy as pi.

Are you client-side? Want to keep those revisions to a minimum? Check out this piece by Seth Godin. Or, here’s a shortcut to Bonnie Siegler’s book: Dear Client: This Book Will Teach You How to Get What You Want from Creative People.

We don’t encourage agency manipulation, but her advice is sound.

Happy 3.141592653589 Day!

VLG has been fantastic to work with. They never fail at thinking things through and pushing creative boundaries.
— Gretchen Weaver, Avere Systems
VLG is very creative, proactive, accommodating and responsive.
Would highly recommend them.
— Elias Abdo, ABBYY
VLG has a grasp on who our target market is and understand our goals.
— DeLaine Nick, ICE Mortgage Technology, Inc.
The pieces VLG designed have been so successful that prospects are actually calling us directly as a result!
— Courtney Pierce, Rapid7