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.





Driving School Pic

 This driving school's name reminds me that different people see life in VERY different ways and that when we take the “perspective” of others for granted, we are making a very big mistake. Understanding how someone arrives at their interpretation of reality - or a creative decision is critical to doing more, and better, work for them that is just like, or very unlike, the work that was done before.  




The agencies I work with like to brain-storm. Or have ideation sessions. Some work better than others.

Here’s some insights as to why.

Brainstorming 101 takes a “free-for-all” approach to the act of exploring options. It’s a great approach if the challenge is very open ended: “We won $10,000. What should we do with the money?”

Brainstorming 201 is more akin to identifying all of the ways that something can be done. Moving a one kilo box from point A to B for example. Then comparing and ranking the options against your objectives + conditions.

Regardless of which approach you use, here are a few tips that will help you achieve better session outcomes.

  • Don't start "storming" until all participants understand what your objectives, conditions and performance metrics are.
  • Is the agency process, strategy and logic sound?
  • Don't be a yes-(wo)man - even if you're the most Jr. person in the room. 
  • Be vigilant and employ active listening + critical thinking skills.
  • Have you had time to "think" about ________________ or are you blindly being asked to agree to something without having the time to think about the longer term implications - or the slippery slopes?
  • Are participants confusing enthusiasm for wisdom. Many agency practitioners don't know the difference and lose accounts as a result.
  • Is what we're doing + thinking really on brand?
  • Do those in meeting know the brand well enough to recognize if the brain-storm "fall-out" is on or off brand?
  • Will the recommended path(s) forward be good for the brand both short + long term?
  • Is this going to be an easy sale to the client? If not, it may well be off-brand, or you missed something (in your logic chain).
  • What's the best manner in which to present the creative ideas?
  • Which creative team member is the most appropriate creative idea ambassador relative to the client(s) that you're presenting to?
  • Are you "speaking in tongues" - or speaking plain English?
  • Are you speaking to yourselves, to the client, for the brand, to the general audience, or those who enable change for the better (relative to your brand)?





In our local dog park the city put a fence around these young trees that protects them from misuse + abuse by too many people and dogs, but lets all the good things in: light, air, rain, snow, birds and squirrels.

I took this picture in the afternoon, the day after a fresh snowfall. Every square meter of ground around the tree enclosure is trampled and tossed.

But with-in the enclosure all is calm.

I think we all need a retreat that allows the good stuff in but keeps the madness at bay on both professional + personal levels if we're to do our best. It’s why I’ve come to love working alone - from home.