Towards a simpler creative brief


To do great work David Ogilvy asked his clients to give him the freedom of a tight brief. It’s a polite way of saying: “tell me exactly what you want, and please, let’s not play that stupid I’ll know it when I see it game.”

If most variables in the marketing, sales, advertising and internal communications mix will remain the same and you’re only making a few minor changes to an ad for example, you might want to try this “reframing” approach.

Simply summarize the facts, the feelings + the future.

Here’s an example:


Apple supports HIV/AIDS programs that provide counselling, testing and medicine that prevents the transmission of HIV from a mother to her unborn child. In the last ten years, Apple has raised over $130 million through the sale of their (RED) products. The new Special Edition series is Apple’s latest blended HIV awareness raising series of products which function as HIV awareness media too.


We want to let people know that each time they buy a red iPhone case, smart battery case, watch sport band, wireless headphones, portable speakers, iPod shuffle, nano or iPad case, Apple will send a contribution to the global fund, and my (public) use of these red cases will draw attention to, and promote greater awareness of this important cause. Each person's little contribution, in conjunction with other small contributions the world over, will make a real difference in this and future generations.


Fewer mothers and children with HIV/AIDS.