What no one says about the creative brief.

The creative brief is old school.

The creative brief is dead.

The creative brief inhibits creativity.

The creative brief does not guarantee good creative. (This one is true.)

All of these statements have popped up in the trades, on social media, in conversations, at conferences and award shows. They have been heard before.

But what is the one thing no one says about the creative brief?

No one wants a creative brief.

Think about it. Every project kick off always includes something called the brief. Someone always asks, “So what’s the brief?” No one ever does not ask that question, even if they do not expect a good answer.

Someone always asks the question. Always.

Because the truth is, creatives need a brief. Even if they never get a good brief, they need something to react to, to push back against, to fight, to resist.

This is the nature of creativity. Creativity does not exist in a vacuum. Creativity requires walls, bars, restraints.

I have worked with every variety of creative brief known to planners. I have worked with no brief at all.

That never stopped me. I always swung for the fences. I often only hit a double, maybe a triple, occasionally a homer, but I never came to a creative review empty handed. That would be career suicide.

The brief is the starting point. The first step in the creative process. The nudge.

My job as the creative is to say, “Thanks, I’ll take it from here” even if I had to crawl back to my cubicle, huddle with my art director and sob because we had nothing to work with.

We figured it out.

We all want and need creative briefs. Even bad briefs.

There was never a time when there was no creative brief.

There was a time before account planning, and guess what happened back then?

Creatives ruled. We wrote our own briefs. One, maybe two sentences. We figured it out.

No one says they don’t want a creative brief. Ever.

The biggest challenge is, how to we make them better?

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