Ed Cotton: The Creative Brief Project

The Account Planner’s most important “product” is supposed to be the creative brief. However, things have changed.

The Account Planner’s most important “product” is supposed to be the creative brief.

Jon Steel devoted chapters to it in his landmark book,”Truth Lies and Advertising” and “the brief” is still the yardstick by which strategic input is measured.

However, things have changed:

1. The world has gotten faster

2. Technology has fundamentally transformed communication

3. Breakthrough matters more than anything

4. Conversations are often a brand goal

5. Powerful insights aren’t always easy to find

6. Creatives often don’t want to have the most pointed and sharpest brief

7. The internet has empowered every creative to challenge the brief and perhaps even come up with a better one on their own

8. Communication has now fragmented to such a point- how can there be one brief for everything?

9. No one reads anything anymore

I was stuck yesterday by the comments from the Groupon CEO, which seemed to directly reference the brief.

“The firm that conceived the ad, Crispin Porter & Bogusky, strives to draw attention to the cultural tensions created by brands. When they created this Hulu ad, they highlighted the idea that TV rots your brain, making fun of Hulu. Our ads highlight the often trivial nature of stuff on Groupon when juxtaposed against bigger world issues, making fun of Groupon.”

Clearly, he saw how CPB’s brief opens the door for a powerful idea and obviously, we all know now how the execution has been questioned.

I want to hear from everyone- creatives, designers, planners what they think about the current and future role of the creative brief- is it still vital and alive, or is it broken and irrelevant? What have people done to refresh it and to keep it alive? What needs to be done?

I want to encourage a broad-ranging debate and a discussion.

(Continue reading here.)

Ed Cotton is the Director of Strategy at BSSP, and is curious about all things relating to brands, marketing and culture. Read more at influx insights.

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