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Creative Operations Case File: A sticky situation...

Posted by Hannah Cameron on May 21, 2015




In Enterprise Marketing departments, Review and Approval based offenses are considered especially heinous. Today, the dedicated detectives who investigate these marketing felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Creative Operations Unit. These are their stories.


  1.   Company: Minor League Lawn Dart Association
  2.   Department: Brand Licensing.
  3.   Their Mission: Review and approve 3rd party vendors proposed licensed merchandise.
  4.   The Reviewers: Brand Licensing, Merchandising, Legal.
  5.   Review & Approval Process: Proposed branded designs are printed off and passed around from department to department to collect feedback. The feedback is written on sticky notes and then stuck to the asset.



Mark was hard at work in the Licensing Department at the Lawn Dart Association. He was in charge of the latest project, a new backpack design.  Mark was under a lot of pressure to not let this project miss its deadline, he had a short window of time to get the design reviewed, approved and back to the client.

Mark thought his process was flawless, it was quick, easy and would allow him to finish this project well before the deadline. He would print the asset out, give every department different colored sticky notes and let them stick their feedback to the asset. He wouldn’t have to wait around for email replies, he wouldn’t have to sift through long email chains, everyone would be looking at the proper asset and be able to quickly attach feedback to it. What could possibly go wrong he thought?

*Warning the following before and after images may be too graphic for organized individuals to stomach.                                

                Pasted_image_at_2015_05_21_03_16_PM                                  Untitled-1_1

The asset was returned to Mark with a jumble of sticky notes, the feedback was scattered and hard to understand. Mark started to panic, his deadline was creeping up and he needed to start tracking down departments for clarification.

Mark’s day suddenly turned into never ending phone calls, emails and running around desperately trying to get the feedback he needed from every department.  He had to find out what part of the picture Branding was referring to when they wrote  “Wrong colour”, he had to track down Legal who simply wrote “We will wait for final version” and someone from Design dropped off 3 sticky notes they found in the hallway.  

So what happened to Mark at the end of the day, did he make his deadline? Did he find all the proper feedback? Was his “sticky note” process really as simple as he thought…….


The Licensing Department was found GUILTY of missing their deadline by having a confusing and highly inefficient Review & Approval System and liable for the following damages:

1. Lost feedback: Feedback is not directly attached to the asset, leading to sticky notes falling off or getting removed.

2. Longer feedback cycles: Longer time to explain feedback, double check feedback and search for clarification. 

3. No tracking: There is no way to set reminders, deadlines or quickly check who has seen & reviewed the asset. 














Interested in more Creative Operations Case Files? Find out how one company lost 2 whole days of work because of a locked door in...... "The Job Bag is Dead"

Follow the case here.

Topics: Creative Operations, Creative Review and Approval

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