How to identify a bad brief.

A creative should be able to identify a bad brief as easily as an account person can identify a bad piece of creative.

Signs you’ve been given a bad brief:

  • The brief is longer than one page.
  • The single-minded message section contains more than one message. (I’ve had single-minded messages presented in bullet points. Wish I were kidding.)
  • It’s creatively worded so that several messages are scattered throughout different sections (e.g. One in the key insight, one in the net takeaway, a different one in the mandatory).
  • The target description is mostly demographic. (We’re talking to 18-32 year old men who make between $20,000 and $80,000 a year…) 
  • It’s a “middle strategy.” Tastes good, but also good for you. Not to big, not too small. Fancy, yet affordable. Not too boring, but not too memorable either.
  • There’s nothing unexpected, inspirational or insightful.


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