The most important sentence on the brief is never written on the brief.

The most important sentence on the brief is never written on the brief.


The most important sentence on the brief should always be, “This advertising must stand out, it must be noticed.”

That’s what we do.

If we don’t do that what do we do?

It should be written at the top of every brief, but it’s never written on any brief.

It should be written on every brief because unless it’s noticed there’s no point in spending your money.

No one notices it.

Nothing can happen.

The money’s wasted.

(And the figures show that 90% of the money spent on advertising is wasted, because it’s neither noticed nor remembered.)

Yet everyone assumes that just because you’ve done an ad it will be noticed,

So everyone’s attention is focused on the details of the ad.

The size of the logo, the position of the pack, the brand values, etc.

Is the ad pretty enough, witty enough, stylish enough, will it win an award?

No one’s attention is focused on the really big issue.

Well anyone even notice it?

Will it stand out?

Is it different?

Because the environments our advertising is judged in aren’t the environments they have to work in.

Account men and clients judge them in boardrooms.

Creative people judge them on awards juries.

In these forums the person presenting says something like,

“First I’m going to show the advert.

Then we’ll discuss it.

Okay, blinds drawn, everybody quiet.


Here we go.”

Then everyone concentrates on the press ad or the commercial, and debates it afterwards.

There is no context.

No interruption.

No extraneous noise.

Nothing to distract you from giving it 100% of your attention.

Now contrast that with the actual environment it has to work in.

If it’s a print ad it may be folded over while standing on a crowded tube train in rush hour with someone’s armpit in your face.

Or flicked past while idly chatting to a friend in Café Nero.

If it’s a commercial it comes on in the middle of a programme.

Good excuse for you to leave the TV set to go and make a snack or do some texting.

If it’s online, it pops up while you’re looking for something else, so it’s just part of the general onscreen clutter, so you brush it aside.

The rules are always the same.

Unless you get noticed, nothing can happen.

Unless you’re different, you won’t get noticed.

Now of course, different on its own isn’t enough.

But without it, you haven’t got anything.

If you can’t be different to your environment you become just part of the wallpaper.

So being different is the first and most important job.

The sine qua non.

I was explaining this one night to a group of students.

On put his hand up and said,

“Yeah, but being different’s been done hasn’t it?”

You see the problem.