What account planners don’t want you to know about the creative brief.

Bless your hearts, account planners. You’ve changed advertising for the better.
But let’s be honest: Even though you gave us the tools to make creative more effective by means of insights into the consumer’s minds and hearts, you suffer from some kind of -itis that compels you to fiddle with the very thing that gave practitioners of advertising this new power: the creative brief.

You deride it as no longer useful. Like engineers, you always want to change things!


There’s an equivalent disease among creatives. I don’t know if it has a name, but it fits nicely in the A.D.D. category. Creatives tend to get tired of their best work far sooner than the consumer does. That’s because they’ve lived with their own creations far longer. So of course creatives grow bored. We think the work loses its zing, its ability to move people, to get them to act.

What’s really happening here is a loss of objectivity. Creatives forget that consumers don’t wake up each morning and say, “Gee, I wonder what’s going on with BRAND X today. Why haven’t I heard from them?”

Ditto with account planners. Too many think that the creative brief they work with loses its effectiveness to impart the insights they hand off to brief writers to deposit into it. That if they somehow just reframe those insights into a better or different brief, then voila! Better creative appears as if by…by I don’t know what.

Not so!

So here’s what account planners don’t want you, who toil at writing inspired, billiant creative briefs, to know about the creative brief itself:

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to write an inspired creative brief.

Yeah, I know: what a let down. You’ve read those words before. Right here. I’m starting to sound like a broken record.

Get used to it. And don’t let this utterly true fact (redundancy intended) distract you from your task.

You still need to write the first ad for the creative team with an inspired creative brief, as John Hegarty said.

You still need to collaborate with your creatives. They don’t do creative in a vacuum. You shouldn’t attempt this either.

You still need a focused summation of what it is that your product or service does for the consumer that is relevant and compelling.

All of this requires insights from our beloved account planners.

But planners be warned! Leave well enough alone! Do your digging into the hearts and minds of consumers and let the brief writers do what they do best:

Inspire creatives with brilliant creative briefs.

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