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How to Evaluate the Advertising Creative Brief

Updated on July 14, 2014
The Creative Brief Is Crucial For Writing A Memorable Ad
The Creative Brief Is Crucial For Writing A Memorable Ad | Source
David Ogilvy Stressed The Importance Of The Creative Brief
David Ogilvy Stressed The Importance Of The Creative Brief | Source

"Give me the freedom of a tight briefing" - David Ogilvy

The creative brief is essentially a list of questions and answers that enables copywriters to produce creative work. All questions must be answered accurately if writers are to come up with excellent creative.

"Give me the freedom of a tight briefing," said David Ogilvy, the legendary founder of the famous ad agency, Ogilvy & Mather. It is one of his less famous quotes, maybe because it is so simple. Yet writing the ideal brief requires so much work.

In fact, Ogilvy & Mather invests heavily in training. Copywriters are even trained to write briefs themselves.

Although the following document extract from the Ogilvy & Mather archives is written primarily for the guidance of Account Servicing, it is also an eye opener for copywriters.

Briefing Creative Team In An Ogilvy & Mather Office
Briefing Creative Team In An Ogilvy & Mather Office | Source

Why The Creative Brief is So Important

Aside from our invoice, there is no document more central to what we produce as an agency than The Brief.

The Brief is the contract between the agency and the client regarding the work. It is the interpretation of the client brief to the agency, the distillation of the agency’s strategic process, the input to the creative process and media planning.

It's the mother of all agency documents, all right. The scaffolding you use to climb up to an idea. A concise means of organising all the essential information about a specific communication problem- so that you can inspire someone to do what we do best: create a big idea.

And big ideas are how we keep our most valuable clients."

The next part of this document emphasizes the importance of extracting the relevant information from the material given by the client and presenting it in the brief.

List of Questions For a Creative Brief

  1. What is the Business Opportunity and what gap is being closed?
  2. What is the specific role of this communication?
  3. What's the brand positioning for all communications?
  4. Who is the copywriter talking to? (Demographics and psychographics)
  5. How do they think and feel about the category, key competitors, the brand? And are there particular moments when their thoughts or feelings are strongest?
  6. How do we want them to think and feel about this brand?
  7. What is the single most important thing that this creative work should convey?
  8. Why should they believe this?
  9. What does the copywriter want them to do next?

Copywriters should pay special attention to the kind of person they are addressing (demographics and psychographics) and to the last couple of sections of the brief:

  • How do we want them to think and feel about this brand?
  • What is the single most important thing that this creative work should convey?

Good creative work depends on a good creative brief. Ideally, copywriters should know how to write a brief in order to ask the appropriate questions about the product.


Present Facts Clearly in the Creative Brief

Writing The Brief is hard work. And the work is not - as many people seem to believe - the collection of as much information as possible. No, the real work starts after that.

You have all the information you need. You understand the client's objective. You know the target audience and understand their relationship with the Brand. And if things weren't clear when you were first briefed by the client, you have asked and asked again. You have trawled for information, talked to salespeople, talked to the consumer.

You have a lot of information, and now it's your turn to make the big cut. You have to put aside 90% of this great material, and clearly present the critical facts and insight. If you can't clearly articulate the essence of the task on one or two sheets of paper, you haven't got a chance of successfully presenting the brand to the consumer.

When a creative team asks for a brief, or asks you to explain exactly what you mean, they're not being bureaucratic or difficult. They're making sure they understand exactly what you want to do. The creative team is your translator, the link between you and the consumer. They have a great responsibility, and to deliver they have to know exactly what you want to achieve."

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