What Happens When Zulu Alpha Kilo Lets Consumers Judge Award-Winning Work?


By Jordan Teicher Comment

This month’s Advertising and Interactive Annual issue of Applied Arts Magazine features some unusual creative thought from Zulu Alpha Kilo. ZAK is guest art directing for the magazine, and the agency decided to produce a thought experiment that would challenge the way industry insiders perceive quality work. In short: the issue’s winning work was rejudged by “regular” consumers, and the results were quite different.

In the accompanying video, we don’t get to see what work was praised by critics and panned by consumers, but we are told that 70% of the critically-acclaimed work wasn’t as acclaimed when consumers were judging. The remaining 30%, praised by both, went on to have success at Cannes. Such a large split brings up a compelling debate about what makes certain work good, accessible, and appealing to the public. It’s the same debate that comes with any creative format, be it movies, music, art, but when consumers are involved, their opinions should help qualify what makes something good or bad. How much those opinions should count, I’m not sure. This type of experiment may not lead to easy answers, but at least it asks some very interesting questions.