A Good Advertising Brief

Imagine a boat designed by a committee, where each member is responsible for a different part of it, and everyone is invited to make alterations to anyone else’s part.  Heath Robinson would have a field day!

When you’re creating something original, whether it’s a boat, a house, a painting, a film, a book or a piece of marketing communication, the team approach is not ideal.  It’s always best if it’s essentially one person’s vision. 

That way all the constituent parts, the words and visuals, have a much better chance of being relevant, meaningful, harmonious and coordinated.

Inevitably in the real world of marketing communications there will always be additional people who need to have their say, that’s just the nature of organisations.  The important thing is that they should have their input before work begins, not when the job is finished.  Tinkering around with a completed piece of creative work will invariably make it worse, not better.

So the initial brief is key.  The creatives must know from the start everything that the piece needs to say, everything that has to be included and anything that’s forbidden.  Only then can they work their magic and produce something that reads smoothly, looks tidy and conveys the right message clearly and succinctly.  

Robin Petherbridge


July 2013