A brief for the Creative Brief

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An article of mine was published in the Brand Wagon section of Financial Express yesterday. It was a long over-due, last minute, deadline-looming effort – and maybe it shows? Would love to have your comments.

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How about sharing some of the good briefs you have received or written, especially in the context of a new media or integrated campaign?

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  1. (Nice glasses, btw. A cool senatorial touch) Just a slightly tangential line of thought. IMHO entirely, as always.

    Traditionally, briefs focussed on the what to say, as opposed to the how to best express the idea. Disassociating the creative expression from the proposition. Or posing the right question to trigger an appropriate creative response.

    (Am following Gareth's work, he's spot on about finding relevant ideas, but I disagree on a different count.)

    Two things have happened more or less, simultaneously.

    – Media channels have changed much faster than creative expressions, even faster in say, Gareth's part of the world.

    – Traditional agency response to this above, may not have changed as quickly as we have liked. Leading to the rise of either planning independents or the rise of engagement planning as a discipline (Jury is still out on the results)

    At the heart of the creative brief still lies the articulation of an idea – and the evidence/where it stems from (a prevailing trend, a "holy shit" statistic, consumer insight, semiotic truth etc.).

    In Old Spice's case, the general idea that men are getting emasculated/more effeminate may lie at the heart of their strategy. Apart from finding the right tone to overcome the problem of being a "father's brand". Finding and articulating that insight alone is useful & time-consuming. But not impossible.
    (Project managers: factor for that time!)

    Trick may then lie in exploding the idea across media. Not all insights lend themselves to such an expansion. Come to think of it, only genuine brand ideas translate well across media. The rest are possibly single-media executions (film, more often then not) disguised as an insight. A much bigger problem than lots of people may even admit.

  2. To qualify my comment (differences in Gareth's work & advertising in this part of the world)

    The question before agencies is what will people do/how will they interact or talk about the communications/products. As opposed to our part of the world, where we're still debating, 'what should the brand be saying'

    As a reflection of this thinking, conversations still centre around,
    'how much will this advertising sell' as opposed to,
    'will it get people to talk about my brand/will people prefer this brand'

    Is it any wonder we are not seeing 'digital' ideas like these; or this extraordinary piece of work
    (Not very difficult ideas. In fact, blindingly simple utilitarian ones)

    Many reasons; market maturity, stage of evolution, maybe mindset? Personally, I don't think we (clients & agencies alike) have fully understood that creativity is a response. It doesn't necessarily work in the abstract.

    And that audiences still enjoy advertising in this part of the world. It will change slowly. JWT has been working on this interesting idea that seems not a bit unlike the story of the golden goose. Do read it & share your comments

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