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Creative Briefs and Briefing. Black Pencil Academy, Toronto. Agenda. 1. What is a Brief? 2. Filling in the Boxes 3. The Briefing 4. A Case Study 5. Conclusion. 1. What is a Brief?. What is a Brief?. A creative brief is the most important piece of paper an account team produces

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creative briefs and briefing

Creative Briefs and Briefing

Black Pencil Academy,

Toronto

agenda
Agenda

1. What is a Brief?

2. Filling in the Boxes

3. The Briefing

4. A Case Study

5. Conclusion

what is a brief
What is a Brief?
  • A creative brief is the most important piece of paper an account team produces
  • It is a demonstration of how good you are
  • Therefore, it is how a creative team judges/curses you
what is a brief1
What is a brief?
  • A distillation of everything you have learned
  • All the information that must be conveyed by the advertising
  • A contract for you, the Creatives and the Client
  • A team effort
what it isn t
What it isn’t ...
  • Set in stone
  • Sole property of the planner
  • A place to copy out the client brief
  • A place to show off every fact you know or marketing term you have learned
  • Primarily for placating the client
  • The same as the strategy or the advertising
the advertising process
The Advertising Process

Develop the Strategy

Write the Brief

Write the Ads

the advertising process1
The Advertising Process
  • Advertising tries to get the consumer to do something that will benefit the client
  • The Strategy is the plan for achieving this goal
      • Who do we want to talk to?
      • What do we want them to do?
      • What can we tell them about the brand so they will do it?

We develop the Strategy and the Creatives carry it out

the advertising process2
The Advertising Process

The Brief is their road map

If the directions aren’t good, they’ll get lost

what makes a good brief
What Makes a Good Brief?

Direction + Inspiration

direction
Direction
  • What is the one thing you want the advertising to say?
  • If you can’t explain it to your friends in one sentence, start again
inspiration
Inspiration
  • The most powerful advertising contains insights that truly resonate with the consumer
  • One important insight should be at the heart of your brief
what makes a good brief1
What makes a good brief?

Direction + Inspiration

One clear and compellingthought about the brand

why briefs go astray
Why Briefs Go Astray
  • “I didn’t have time”
  • “The Client made me write it this way”
  • “There was nothing to say”
  • “There were too many things to say”
  • “We didn’t have enough information”
  • “The Account Team couldn’t agree”

Make No Excuses!

the goal
The Goal

“The best briefs are so good you can’t wait for the account team to leave your office so you can get started”

Unidentified Creative

some general advice
Some General Advice
  • Get your story straight beforehand
  • Take your time
  • Keep it focused
  • Be concrete, not abstract
  • Speak English

Remember the goal is always great advertising!

filling in the boxes
Filling in The Boxes
  • These can be confusing
    • What goes where?
    • What are they for?
  • Just remember, they all have to lead to one main thought - the proposition
  • Include only what is both necessary and illuminating
1 what s the reason for this brief
1. What’s the reason for this brief?

What you need to explain:

  • What is the background/context for what we are doing?
  • Why the heck are we advertising this brand anyway?
  • What do we need the advertising to do for it?
1 what s the reason for this brief1
1. What’s the reason for this brief?
  • Objectives must be realistic
  • Advertising objectives, not business objectives
  • Keep it to the point
1 what s the reason for this brief2
1. What’s the reason for this brief?

A bad example

“The product has a severe saliency deficiency so it does not get into the target’s consideration set. The leading brand sets the category values and our brand is seen as a “me-too” because of these dominant associations. Alternatively, a proportion of the target segment have a dissociated perceptual set with respect to the brand.

The campaign objective is to increase saliency and to communicate a brand identity which is motivating and more appropriate to the product’s experiential manifestation”

1 what s the reason for this brief3
1. What’s the reason for this brief?

A good example

“Cheer’s main benefit is to keep colours bright, but most people don’t know this. We need to make them understand so that they choose it for its own merits and not as a second best to Tide.”

2 who are we talking to
2. Who are we talking to?
  • Be as specific and vivid as you can
  • “Women 18-45” not very helpful
  • Neither is laundry list of meaningless adjectives and media cliches
  • Try to describe a real person
  • But, don’t tell whole life story
  • Include only what will help Creatives to talk to them
2 who are we talking to1
2. Who are we talking to?

A bad example

“Young adults 18-25. Someone self-assured, active and energetic, self-reliant, positive, optimistic, individualistic, self-centred, not superficial, irreverent, somewhat cynical, skeptical, savvy, fashion-conscious, honest, straight-forward, computer-literate, entrepreneurial, self-indulgent, hedonistic, likes having new things, doesn’t change opinions to please others, doesn’t change behaviour in order to be liked, thinks of him/herself as an individual but has a powerful need to fit into a group, preoccupied with sex/gender-related issues, has short attention span, wants instant gratification AND likes chocolate bars”

2 who are we talking to2
2. Who are we talking to?

A good example

“A 19 year-old guy who likes to think he’s the life of the party. He’s into South Park, Mike Meyers, etc. and is constantly repeating comic catch-phases like he wrote them himself. He’s a little too mainstream to be truly hip, but he’s still very concerned with his image.”

3 what do they currently think
3. What do they currently think?
  • This is not about their life in general
  • Rather, their relationship with the brand, the category, the advertising
3 what do they currently think1
3. What do they currently think?
  • How interested are they in the product?
  • How often do they use it?
  • When do they use it?
  • How do they feel about it?
  • How do they feel about our brand vs. the competition?
  • What do they ultimately want the product or brand to do for them?

Don’t go overboard: only include what is truly relevantto the problem the advertising must solve

3 what do they currently think2
3. What do they currently think?

A bad example

PMB 99“If I work hard enough I will get to where I want”, “I don’t like taking orders”, “What brands I buy says a lot about me”, “I hate anything that is hype and smacks of phoniness”, “If it’s too perfect, it can’t be trusted”

3 what do they currently think3
3. What do they currently think?

A good example

They chew gum all the time but it’s not something they think about much. As far as they’re concerned, all gum is pretty much the same. What’s more, they’re completely turned off by gum advertising which they see as cheesy and trying too hard. Still, they might be persuaded that one gum was superior if it made its point convincingly and actually managed to be entertaining.

4 what s single message should this communication convey
4. What’s single message should this communication convey?

Many Creatives don’t look at anything else!

4 what s single message should this communication convey1
4. What’s single message should this communication convey?
  • The most crucial to get right and the easiest to go astray
  • Remember, the box says single-minded
  • Be concrete, not abstract
  • Err on the side of simplicity
  • Distinguish between what you tell them and what you want them to think

One clear and compelling thought about the brand!

single minded vs double headed
Mr. Big is the biggest bar,

bar none

Mr. Big is the big bar that won’t slow you down, now available in new Peanut Ripple flavour

Single Minded vs. Double-headed
concrete vs abstract
Concrete vs. abstract
  • Abstract ideas are much harder to demonstrate
  • Abstract language can make you sound like you’re saying something important, even when you aren’t
  • Concrete language makes your point for you, and doesn’t let you hide behind it
abstract vs concrete
Brand X is a totally different kind of car

The Second Cup isthe Ultimate Coffee experience

Brand X is specially designed for women drivers

Second Cup coffee is the strongest coffee you can buy

Abstract vs. Concrete
deep thoughts vs simple thoughts
Deep Thoughts vs. Simple Thoughts
  • These days, it’s fashionable for advertising to make Profound Statements About Life
  • It makes us feel better about selling things to people
  • It can also lead to cliched and generic advertising

More important to be pertinent than to be profound

deep thoughts vs simple thoughts1
Deep Thoughts vs. Simple Thoughts
  • Don’t be afraid that a simple idea is too dull, just because it is simple
  • A simple idea is easier for the Creatives to work with

It’s their job to make it interesting

proposition vs desired response
Proposition vs. Desired Response
  • Often confused
  • Distinction between what you tell them and what you want them to think
  • Desired response ultimately more important to brand
  • But proposition more relevant to creative team as a starting point
proposition vs desired response1
Heinz is the thickest, richest ketchup

Pizza Pops have a lot of stuff in them

Heinz is the best tasting ketchup

Pizza Pops will really fill me up

Proposition vs. Desired Response
the final test
The Final Test

Write it out on a blank sheet of paper and ask yourself: “Can I write an ad from this and this alone?”If you can’t, probably no one else can either.

5 kick start
5. Kick start!
  • For proposition to be credible, it must be backed by evidence
  • Should be one of most inspirational elements of brief
  • Give Creatives ideas they can dramatize
  • Try to unearth interesting nuggets that might inspire
slide44
Proposition: Cadbury Milk Chocolate is the creamiest milk chocolateSupport: Only Cadbury Milk Chocolate contains a glass and a half of fresh milk in every 225g Holy Shit Factor: All the milk in Cadbury Milk Chocolate comes from Cadbury’s very own herd of Irish dairy cows
brand voice
Brand Voice
  • How you say it, not what you say
  • Most well known brands have an established tone - an essential part of their equity
  • Don’t list contradictions: “energetic, peaceful”
  • Try and do it in one perfect word
creative considerations
Creative Considerations
  • Executional mandatories
  • Media ideas and opportunities
when you think you re done
When you think you’re done:
  • Re-read it
  • Sleep on it
  • Show it to someone older and wiser (not your Dad)
  • Get agreement from the Creatives
  • Sell it to the client
  • And finally, be sure you haven’t used any of the following words...
jerk off words to avoid
Ultimate

Experience

Virtual

Aspirational

Contemporary

Edgy

Synergy

Breakthrough

Savvy

Modern life

Empower

Proactive

Self-actualizing

Hectic

Extreme

Clever

Jerk-Off Words to Avoid
slide49
The more we use language rooted in the real, ordinary world, the better equipped the creative team will be to communicate with it in the advertising
paper plus personality
Paper plus Personality
  • Both parts of the briefing should inspire and excite and motivate
  • One part is notoriously neglected
what is not a briefing
What is not a briefing?
  • Slipping a brief under a Creative’s door, or the old leave-on-the seat trick
  • A rushed, last minute meeting
  • Something attended by client
  • A formal, boring presentation
  • A spoon feeding
  • A one-time meeting with your Creatives
how to brief
How to Brief
  • Set aside enough time
  • Show the packaging
  • Show historic / competitive ads
  • Touch, smell, eat product
  • Get out of the office
  • Visit the factory
  • Use images, music, animals
  • Get drunk together and brainstorm
in conclusion
In Conclusion
  • Remember: it’s your road-map for the creative team!
  • Know exactly what you want them to do and make sure they can understand:
    • Speak English
    • Include only what is both necessary and illuminating
    • Focus on one clear and compelling thought about the brand
  • Put time and effort into writing and briefing
slide55
Remember:

Crap in = crap out