Proof HQ, where have you been all my life?

Oh, how I feel for those who worked at ad agencies in the 00’s, 90’s, 80’s, etc. I’m not even entirely sure how I would get work done at my agency without constant access to email. Or the internet.

That being said, I do have experience with some of the relic project tools used by those who have been in the industry a lot longer than I have. I’m talking about job bags.

Job bags, if you’re unfamiliar (and I’m not sure why you would be), are large clear document holders that the creative is routed in.

They looked like this. Only they were as tall as a toddler.

They looked like this. Only they were as tall as a toddler.


Account coordinators go from department to department to get sign-offs on creative held in job bags. It’s a great way to keep everything in one place, but there are a couple of downsides:

1) Cumbersome: Those bags were big, and took up a lot of desk space (or floor space).

2) Accountability/legibility: There wasn’t much accountability unless a coordinator stood over someone to ensure they reviewed and signed off. And if everyone wrote feedback on the piece, sometimes it was hard to see what it said, much less know who it was from.

3) Local: If the team was separated geographically (in different states or countries even), it could be a bit difficult to ensure that everyone reviewed the creative before it went to client. Coordinators would need to scan creative, and email to all team members.

And then Proof HQ was introduced to my agency,  and daily life was forever changed.

Proof HQ is an online tool that stores creative projects electronically. Changes can be noted inside of PHQ (much better than writing on a hard copy in a job bag, and similar to making comments on a PDF). If someone does note changes in PHQ, you’re able to see who made the notation, when, and won’t get a headache reading chicken scratch.  The new revised piece can be loaded to PHQ, and a side by side comparison of the revisions can be viewed on screen.

No flipping back and forth between revised and original creative? Yes please!

No flipping back and forth between revised and original creative? Yes, please!

Best of all, the creative is sent via a link to internal agency parties, and the clean version can go straight to clients for their review. Then, the client can mark up their feedback in PHQ. They can even download the straight from the link.

Though it’s not perfect (people can still let a PHQ link sit for a while in their inbox, leading to a bottleneck effect), and the coordinators still have to follow up with all teams about signoffs, there’s accountability, reliability, and convenience with this system. It’s probably one of the better process tools I’ve experienced in my ad life.

In short, I love Proof HQ.

Note: I don’t work for PHQ, sell their products, nor have I received payment for this post. I’m just a bit of a process nerd, and holy moly, this system has helped streamlined my projects immensely.

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