Just a quick bit of grand larceny — loved this diatribe by W+K’s Rob Campbell so much, thought I needed to post it here…
The bane of my fucking life.
I hate them. HATE THEM!
But – and it’s a very important but – you have to do them because they not only provide the framework and inspiration for creative teams to start creating their magic, but they become a piece of historical reference on the brand that ensures people won’t post rationalise the execution and miss out all the little bits that made all the difference.
That said, the debate of what should and shouldn’t go in a brief still rages and I find that sad because at the end of the day:
+ You should never be a slave to the briefing format, the briefing format should always be a slave to you.
+ Different people like different levels of information so a ‘one size fits all’ mentality, is totally and utterly ridiculous.
+ A short brief shouldn’t be an excuse for ignoring the real issues that need to be addressed & conveyed.
+ A long brief shouldn’t be an excuse for not being clear, concise and interesting.
+ Regardless of what you are being asked to do, a brief should always be interesting, informative & inspiring.
Read the whole thing here
Tell me this quote doesn’t sound like it could be a Planner talking?
You wake up at Seatac, SFO, LAX. You wake up at O’Hare, Dallas-Fort Worth, BWI. Pacific, mountain, central. Lose an hour, gain an hour. This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time. If you wake up at a different time, in a different place, could you wake up as a different person?
I’m constantly getting questions about how to break into Strategic Planning, and honestly answering this is more difficult than responding to my 3-year-old son when he asks ‘Where does hair come from?’ The point being, there is no clear rhyme or reason, which is a beautiful thing. But we can sometimes get caught up in this mystery. A recent blog post by Rob Campbell, Asia regional head of planning for Wieden + Kennedy, caught my attention. Rob writes: ‘planners – love to make a big deal out of being curious…Let’s be honest, curiosity is a basic human trait and even if planners execute this more than the majority [which I'd say is open to debate] they’re no where near as curious as people in the finance, technology, R&D or criminal investigation industries, to name a few.” Rob is spot on. All too often we set up Planning as some form of creative Black Magic. Something that can’t be described or discussed –The first rule of Planning is: You do not talk about Planning. The second rule of Planning is: You do not talk about Planning. We Planners have no magic powers (other than being loquacious and absurdly profound at times). In fact, quite the opposite, we are ‘liberators’ as Rob succinctly writes. It is our role to help liberate our client business. Now, rather than being seen as the mysterious agency people who lurk in the background, Planners are the ones who release the hounds! There is something tangible here. But alas, how does this help us in regards to breaking into Planning. Well, we don’t need to frame it up as a special club only for the curious few — but we can introduce it as a club for those who truly want ‘to understand and represent our client audience.’
So, my advice?…Go to your cave and find your power animal.
I just heard a description from an arson expert that got me thinking about how we sometimes mistake a good brainstorm for one cohesive great idea. This fire expert was talking about investigating arson cases and how they can determine if a fire was set simply by looking at the burn pattern. He was talking about a flashpoint, the lowest temperature at which a fire can vaporize to form an ignitable mixture in air. The quote that struck me was: ”The difference is, it goes from being a fire in a room — to a room on fire.” Now, think about that perceptual shift. Similar words. Very different meanings…So all brainstorms are merely just fire in a room — but it’s those very special sessions where the room is on fire…To quote Backdraft: ”When the doors open, if it’s hot, don’t get out.’
So every agency is constantly toying with their creative briefs, trying to find just the right fit for their strategic ethos and agency culture. Well, I knew the CIA was good for something — and think I’ve found it. The Phoenix Checklist is a set of questions developed by the CIA to enable their agents and operatives to think about a problem thoroughly. There are some great questions here, such as “What isn’t the problem?” and “What are the best, worst and most probable cases you can imagine?” This is a perfect foundation for the creative process and solving our client’s business needs…