When people write a brief, they often write it as if it’s the end of the process.

Just because to them the brief is the end of their part of the process.

They think that’s what they’ll be judged on.

So they try to get absolutely everything into the brief.

To make sure no one will feel ignored.

You see as creatives, we think the brief is just written for us.

But that isn’t necessarily true.

The planner has a view.

The account director has a view.

And all the clients will each have a view.

And they will all expect to see their contribution represented in the brief.

So we are at the end of a long process.

But, although all those things are in the brief, we can’t get them all in the advertising.

We all know that advertising should be done from a single thought.

So how do we decide what that thought is?

In my experience, when the brief seems complicated, confusing, and even contradictory here’s a good tip.

Get a yellow pen and go through the brief.

Highlight whichever word occurs most often.

You’ll usually find this word is the actual brief.

Here’s a vastly oversimplified made-up example to make the point:


Audience:             Young, modern thinking professionals. Not excluding older families, who are open to modern ideas.


Out-take:              This is an established brand, but which understands the modern world. It fits with my traditional family values and my modern lifestyle.


Proposition:         A reliable, familiar brand you can feel comfortable with, that has adapted perfectly          to modern needs.


Support:               This is a well known company with traditional values, that has made significant changes. It is now well equipped to compete in the modern market place in which it finds itself.


Obviously that’s not a real brief, but it’s not a million miles away.

And behind all the mass of detail, you can see what’s really on

everyone’s mind.