The Last Brief You’ll Ever Need

Dave Grohl: “Why can’t it always be this easy?”
Paul McCartney: “It is.”
From the film Sound City

Fellow Creatives, your suspicions are correct. Despite all the PowerPoint decks, hours-long strategy sessions and touchy-feely tortured logic masquerading as valuable insight you’re forced to sift through every day just to make sense of your newest banner ad assignment on the Acme Drain Cleaner account (or as I call this task, “Scraping off the varnish to get to the raw wood”), there really are just a few basic project briefs floating around out there in the advertising universe.

I know this because after thorough analysis I discovered that every job I’ve ever worked on could easily be started by one of the simple briefs listed below. Just add basic target info and any client mandatories and you’re ready to start concepting.

So let the Overthinkers overthink, the Meddlers meddle and the Babblers babble. Back here in the business world, you can relax in the knowledge that no matter how they try to dress it up, the brief can always be boiled down to something as simple as Some Crap Is On Sale. Your job is to simply come up with a creative way to sell the shit out of it. Enjoy.

RETAIL BRIEFS

Hey everybody, the following list of crap is on sale:

Hey everybody, none of this crap is on sale, but you should still buy some because ____________.

Please buy some of our new crap.

Please buy more of our old crap.

This crap is (better, cheaper, fluffier) than that crap.

BRANDING BRIEFS

Hello, we’re ________. We’re new here and this is what we sell. Please buy some.

Hello, we’re_______. We used to suck, but now we don’t. Here’s why.

You have the following emotional need(s): ____________.
The crap we sell can help you fulfill it(them) in the following ways:

Hey, Look Over Here! We’re not trying to sell you anything specific right now, we just want you to know what our logo looks like. And that we paid a shitload of money for the actor who’s doing the voiceover. This spot is only being made to appease Wall Street. Sorry we don’t have anything any actual information for you at the moment but we promise we will as soon as we put some crap on sale.

SUPERBOWL

Life is good. But sometimes it’s sad. But it’s mostly good. And the crap we sell is part of it. So when you think of the good things in life, please think of the crap we sell.

Life is fun. And sometimes it’s funny. With animals. And bikinis. And maybe some CG. So when you think of funny animals, bikinis or CG, please think of the crap we sell.

Find something on YouTube. Add logo.

Hold a contest. Have people submit videos. Add logo.

PUBLIC RELATIONS

No, the crap we sell won’t kill you. Here’s why.

We’re sorry that certain people are saying the crap we sell killed some of you. Obviously, we disagree with them. Here’s why.

OK, maybe some of the crap we sell might have killed some of you, but not everything we sell did. America. Freedom. Here’s why.

About Wade Sturdivant

Creative Director/Copywriter at The Richards Group, Wade spent his formative years in Chicago (DDB, Leo Burnett) and has worked on accounts as diverse as BMW, Firestone, Bud Light, McDonald’s, Kellogg’s and the U.S. Army.