What I want in a creative brief.

I’m speaking now as a creative, a former copywriter and creative director. I’m speaking as one of the people to whom the creative brief is directed, for whom the brief is written, of whom much is expected once I have this document in my hands. In my hands and my art director partner’s hands. It’s […]

Who decides when a creative brief is “inspiring”?

Allow me to share with you a recurring sentiment I hear during my creative brief workshops when I show marketers and account people examples of well-written creative briefs. I hear this comment often enough to have made note of it even if I don’t hear it at every training. When I present one of these […]

The State of the Creative Brief.

Rather than make predictions for 2023, I choose to draw some conclusions about the status of the creative brief in our industry. I was a practicing copywriter and creative director in legacy ad agencies for 26 years. I started writing about and teaching creative briefs in 2004, so I’m about to enter my 19th year […]

Remember your audience.

When you do as much creative-brief training for brands big and small as I have in the past 17 years, you see trends. I could provide a hefty list of the trends I’ve observed, but today I’ll focus on one. Audience. Not the audience for the product, but the audience for the creative brief. The […]

Are you trustworthy? It’s a must for a creative brief writer.

(Originally published February 9, 2015) I used to say that before you can write a single word on a creative brief, you need a strategy. It’s time to amend that. There’s an important precept that straddles the two: trust. Strategy must be in place before the brief can be written. But before you can begin […]

How deconstructing any ad can help you polish your brief-writing skills.

December 9, 2022 (Published originally in June 2012) When was the last time you even saw the word, “deconstruct”? Unless you were an English major in college you likely never came across it at all. There’s nothing mysterious or complicated about the process. Deconstruct simply means to take something apart and analyze the pieces. In […]

The filters we hide behind.

I was in Orlando, Florida, recently doing a couple workshops. I had the good fortune of being able to visit one of the more famous theme parks where I happened to watch a light show just after sunset. It was a remarkable sight. More remarkable still was something I witnessed as I took in the […]

The burger account syndrome.

“We work in the _______ industry and you don’t have a ________ industry creative brief. You don’t know our business.” I hear this only after my creative brief workshop and only when there was resistance to my training. I never hear it when things go well. The truth is that the number of outstanding creative […]

E93: A conversation with Paul MacFarlane.

Airs November 23, 2022 Henry Gomez and I welcome one of our more devoted viewers and fans, Paul MacFarlane. He’s also a fellow traveler committed to writing and advocating for great creative briefs. His work as a creative director and brand strategist for his own company, The 1101 Experiment, demonstrates how he puts walks the […]

What all good single-minded propositions have in common.

(I’ll break down the single-minded proposition to its basic elements on The Brief Bros., my video podcast. You can also follow me on Youtube.) Many years ago, about a week into a new job I’d taken as creative director on a major international brand, I was reviewing a creative brief that had been approved by […]

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