Friday, November 6, 2009

Download the ARF 2009 David Ogilvy Award winning case studies

The ARF 2009 David Ogilvy Awards Winners
In March 2009, ARF announced the 2009 Winners of The ARF David Ogilvy Awards sponsored by Microsoft Advertising.

You can download all of the case studies here:

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Kenji Summer has created --> Planners who Wave!

For all of you with Google Wave accounts, Kenji Summer ( has created a great Wave just for planners! Join up HERE.
Thanks Kenji!

For those that don't have invites yet, I'll help people out as soon as I get some!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The secret of being promoted - A sneak peek at part 1 of Heather's World Famous Account Planning Survey!

If you don't know her already, you should. Heather is an international strategist at DDB and the author of the loved planning blog "buy me and i'll change your life."

But, every year she does something that can only be described as epic.

She interviews the entire planning world.

Why is that so important? For most of the year, the voice of Account Planning is the voice of it's leaders, public speakers, and the plannersphere. Their wisdom guides us and inspires us, but the voice of planning as a whole is silent.

But, once a year, planning grows a central nervous system and comes close to feeling its whole body all at once. And when that happens we get a glimpse of who we really are and what we really stand for.

That is why the annual account planning survey is so important for all of us. It's a mirror into the very soul of our industry.

This year the survey was the best yet. Participation has been through the roof, and Heather is busy distilling 100 pages of raw answers into 40 pages of premium planning wisdom. Cheers to Heather and all her hard work! Bravo!

But, we must wait for that. For now, we just get a sneak peak.

Heather has given us the raw answers to one subject. What makes a planner ready for a promotion? This was asked to Planning Directors only and covers all levels from assistant planner up to group planning director.

To quote Heather..."let the games begin…"

4 years of Account Planning Survey's from Heather Lefevre!





Wednesday, July 15, 2009

FAST COMPANY ARTICLE: Design Is a Point of View: Seven Truths in Designing

Here's a great article by Brett Lovelady, for Fast Company. Brett is the founder and driving force at ASTRO Studios of San Francisco, a company he launched in 1994. Within a short time, ASTRO has become an international design powerhouse by designing industry leading products and brands for companies like Nike, Microsoft, HP, Alienware, Herman Miller, Xbox, Virgin and many more. In the past decade, ASTRO has won numerous design and industry awards, including 2 prestigious BusinessWeek/IDSA Design of the Decade Awards, for both NIKE Triax Sportwatches and Kensington Smartsockets and was featured as one of Fast Company's Fast 50 in 2003.

In the article below, Brett outlines ASTRO's Design Theory.

Quoted from:

1. DESIGN is a point of view.
Many people believe design equals the visual object or result of the presentation skills a creative person creates; pictures, models, sketches, photos. I believe that design happens prior to these results and is actually about taking an original idea and applying a point of view by translating it into presentable, tangible elements for ease of sharing with others. Good designers happen to have talents or skills that allow them to make their point of view tangible, but that's not enough. Designers should be engaged due to their ability to create and support a strong point of view first, followed quickly by their ability to produce the goods.

2. PEOPLE are our ultimate clients.
As designers, we collaborate with a lot of other disciplines to bring our designs alive. We often come up with the vision for a program, develop the details and then spend a lot of time protecting the original design intent through production. But after these efforts are complete, they matter little. The end results are all people see, experience or remember. No one typically cares how you got to the result--the battles, the compromises, the inspirations--they only know the final product. Because of this, I believe that as the other disciplines cover their specialties, designers should be the end-user advocates through the entire program, reminding the team that people are our ultimate clients.

3. EMPOWER individual creativity.
We've all heard the term "design by committee" or possibly the old maxim that a camel is a horse designed by a committee. And I strongly agree. It's very difficult to create groupthink around multiple points of view. It's great to voice them, collect them and prioritize them, but to avoid camels, I recommend empowering one ultimate individual you trust to become the director and keeper of the vision. Empowering individual creativity also ensures a higher level of passion, focus, commitment and ownership for the results.

4. PROACTIVE over reactive.
You can wait to be told what to do when someone else takes the lead and imposes their directives. Or you can identify opportunities, then take things into your own hands and provide options, ideas and leadership. A favorite mantra at ASTRO is "I'd rather get a speeding ticket, than a parking ticket." Of course, approval for certain levels of involvement are necessary, but I believe designers are leaders, and should be proactive over reactive.
5. DESIGN is not a democracy. Democracies are fine, mainly for collecting diverse input. But they can kill design. Often too many opinions water down the clarity of the design intent. I've had many clients where there are way too many brilliant people involved in programs. They find it their duty to provide all the alternative solutions or insights to every program--always broadening the thinking--instead of focusing on decision-making. If not for the benevolent dictatorship of the program director in these programs, they would never reach the goal. Design requires focused leadership, not democratic consensus.

6. CULTURE is the key to soulful work.
Designers are kinda like plants (I know, I know...but it's a good visual). They really need an environment that supports their needs. I believe they need sunlight, nutrients, good weather, conversation, or music, maybe a hug, pruning, cleaning and sometimes transplanting. On top of all of that, they need space to express themselves individually, even while being part of a greater identity. Burying designers in cubicle-land, away from other creatives or off in isolation can be effective for those who have strong wills to survive, but for more relevant, beautiful, inspiring results, designers need a culture of design stimulus. They need environments that feed their visions and help them reflect and generate more soulful work.

7. CHALLENGE anything.
I like to tell the designers I work with to simply ask questions: There are no bad ones except the ones you don't ask. And to not take everything at face value, especially if your gut tells you otherwise. It's always good to immerse yourself in data, but it's best to digest it like fuel for the process, not take it as absolute gospel. Notice I said challenge 'anything' and not 'everything.' The idea is to think about what you're creating, but not overthink it. Learn to trust your instincts and intuition, especially once you've digested all the information. I believe the magic of design can really occur when you challenge convention with confidence, then apply design talent and skills to make everything look super sweet.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


This site always seems to get access to the latest scientific research before anyone else. Use it to stay up to date on the latest academic studies.

Here's a recent study of interest: the fall of an item’s popularity mirrors its rise to popularity

Monday, July 13, 2009

Planning Blog Aggregation Magic! THE PLANNER COLLECTIVE

Whoa! Look at this aggregation wizardry! Several popular account planning blogs have been corralled into one continuously uploading webpage. And, it even gives you a sweet little mouse over pop up with the posts. Excellent work Brent Terrazaz! We salute you! CLICK!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Continum's “Resonance,” a Short Film on Planning

An short film by Continuum called “Resonance,” talks about the importance of consumer insights in generating design ideas. While most of us will be familiar with their approach and methodologies, it is a worthy case study of a clear presentation of services that caries a sense of transparency and honesty.

Resonance from Continuum on Vimeo.

Anomaly, BBH, Trumpet, And Fuseproject discuss how account planning is helping agencies are build their own brands.

Force the government to contact you as soon as new numbers are available!

If you are a US marketer and are not already on the US Department of Labor's email mailing list, click here, sign up and always be the first to know when key numbers change!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

MRS (Market Research Society) Code of Practice principles

In "What is Account Planning" The official Account Planning Group's document that defines the field written by Merry Baskin in 2007. Mary writes,

"We believe quite strongly that market research craft skills (and adherence to MRS (Market Research Society) Code of Practice principles) are the backbone of the planner’s platform."

"If you can’t devise, conduct, analyse, report on and monitor surveys objectively, how can you possibly hope to judge their usefulness or commission them appropriately? The planner should never assume that the researcher is the sole expert. Elements of questionnaire design, the way a question is phrased, for example, can fundamentally affect the outcome of the study. Black box modeling techniques may be so much impressive theory but they can critically enhance or destroy projects. Planners need to be able to ignore, challenge or exploit such things from a perspective built on understanding or on at least something more solid than assertion and prejudice."

So, what is the MRS (Market Research Society)? And What are these Code of Practice principles?

About The Market Research Society

With members in more than 70 countries, The Market Research Society (MRS) is the world’s largest association serving all those with professional equity in provision or use of market, social and opinion research, and in business intelligence, market analysis, customer insight and consultancy. In consultation with its individual members and Company Partners, MRS supports best practice by setting and enforcing industry standards. The commitment to uphold the MRS Code of Conduct is supported by the Codeline service and a wide range of specialist guidelines. MRS contributes significantly to the enhancement of skills and knowledge by offering various qualifications and membership grades, as well as training and professional development resources.

How to Join The Market Research Society

Here's a link to a PDF with information about joining the MRS: About a MRS Membership

And here's a Link Directly to the membership page!:

The Membership Options are:

Regular Membership - $115
Student Membership - $30
Unemployed Membership - $30
Retired Membership - $30

And here is a document that provides and
overview of MRS's Code of Practice principles.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A classic planning story about creative brief writting: The Sistine Chapel Brief

This is a classic account planning story about brief writing written by Damian O'Malley. It first appeared in "How to Plan Advertising - the Blue Book", published by the APG, 1987 and exists now on Tweaking a few words and adding some pictures, Steven Stark has created a power point version. You can download that document here and also find it below:

And here at RSOAP we added some summary speech bubble's and just a bit more graphics to Stephen Stark's great presentation.
A Classic Example of How to Write Effective Creative Briefs


The Brief for the Sistine Chapel

Written by Damian O'Malley, Interpreted by Steven Stark

When you have a proposition you should try to express it in a way that will propel your creative team towards a solution. Here is a story to help illustrate what this means. Everyone knows the frescoes that were painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo. They are among the greatest works of art of all time. You can imagine the briefs he might have been given for this work by his client, Pope Julius II, or the Pope’s account man, Cardinal Alidosi:

Brief #1: Please paint the ceiling.
There is no doubt that this is what Michelangelo was being asked to do, but this brief gives him no hints as to what the solution to the request might be. It leaves all the decisions and thinking to the artist before he can put paint to plaster.

Brief #2: Please paint the ceiling using red, green and yellow paint.
This brief is worse. Not only does it not tell him what to paint it gives him a number of restrictions without justification; restrictions which will inevitably prove irksome and which will distract him from his main task.

Brief #3: We’ve got terrible problems with cracks in the ceiling. Can you cover it up for us?
This is much worse. It still does not tell him what to do and it gives him irrelevant and depressing information that implies no one is interested in what he paints because it won’t be long before the ceiling falls in anyway. How much effort is he likely to put into it?

Brief #4: Please paint biblical scenes on the ceiling incorporating some or all of the following: God, Adam, angels, cupids, devils and saints.
Better: now they are beginning to give Michelangelo some direction. They have not given him the full picture yet (pardon the pun) but at least he knows the important elements. This is the sort of brief that most of us would have given. It contains everything the creative needs to know, but it does not go that one step beyond, towards an idea and a solution.

Here is the brief that Michelangelo was actually given:
Please paint our ceiling for the greater glory of God and as an inspiration and lesson to his people.
Michelangelo took this brief and painted frescoes which depicted the creation of the world, the fall, mankind’s degradation by sin, the divine wrath of the deluge and the preservation of Noah and his family. He knew what to do—and was inspired by the importance of the project. With direction like this he was free to devote his attention to executing the details of the brief in the best way he knew how.

Words are little bombs: the right ones can explode inside us, demanding an original and exciting solution instead of a mediocre, pedestrian one. Always work very, very hard to find the right proposition and then even harder to find the words which express it in the least ambiguous and most exciting way.


Alison Burns
Introduction to 40 years of Planning
Alison Burns: Introduction to Planning begins at 40 from JWT on Vimeo.

Jeremy Bullmore
In Praise of Antinomies
Jeremy Bullmore: In praise of Antinomies from JWT on Vimeo.

John Grant
Planning's Midlife Crisis?
John Grant: Planning's Midlife Crisis? from JWT on Vimeo.

Jon Steel
Planning at 40: Solving the Wrong Problems
Jon Steel: Planning at 40: Solving the wrong problems from JWT on Vimeo.

Guy Murphy
‘What Would Stephen Say?’
Guy Murphy:'What would Stephen say?' from JWT on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lectures from Parsons School of Design:

Tim Stock's Lectures from Parsons School of Design Strategies


Culture Networks (Lecture)

The Structure of Trends (Lecture)


Just had an amazing meeting with Scenario DNA. Here's some links to their great thinking.
Consumers are gaining knowledge. They are wisening up to the real meaning behind green. They understand tradeoffs vs. trivial. They’re at the brink of growing green deaf.
When it comes to luxury, much like the emperor staring in the mirror at his non-existent new clothes, luxury is at its crossroads.
Recession Washing 2009 | VIEW SLIDESHOW NEW
Fast on the heels of green washing, recession washing will test marketers not to push empty messages in tough times.
Understanding Gen Y Narrative: The Transformer Generation | VIEW SLIDESHOW (Fall 2008) The narrative that Gen Y shares with Transformers is an open-source story of collaboration, new globalism, a currency of culture, eBay economics and mash-up. In this contemporaneous tale, the impact of technology blurs the lines from urban/suburban and east/west.
Tried and texted approach to getting consumers talking | Admap January '09 | DOWNLOAD
... it means using an authentic organic approach to understanding the consumer in their world. Unfortunately, for some brands and agencies, it means taking shortcuts on research.
“Admap articles reproduced with permission of Admap, the world’s primary source of strategies for effective advertising, marketing and research. To subscribe visit © Copyright Admap.”

Green: Co-mingling Perspectives | VIEW SLIDESHOW (Fall 2008)
In the midst of economic crisis, the concept of Green becomes tightly interwoven with old school recession planning. Our research has found three distinct personas that are driving green concepts side-by-side. A fourth persona is ironically pushing back, but following a tenet of self-reliance. Together they’ll make green grow more mainstream. Secret Vices and Depression-style DIY will be the backlash as green gets too slick.Redefining Luxury: From Excess to Stealth | VIEW SLIDESHOW (Spring 2008)
Tried and texted approach to getting consumers talking | Admap | DOWNLOAD
... it means using an authentic organic approach to understanding the consumer in their world. Unfortunately, for some brands and agencies, it means taking shortcuts on research. The result is that recruitment loses its balance, time in the field is diminished and incentives dwindle. There are no shortcuts when it comes to dealing with real people. Good research requires a relationship to coax information out of people and there’s no easy way to do it. Optimising budgets is crucial in the current market conditions

Casting Confident Brands |
Too often product placement is not seen as part of the overall longterm brand strategy. The thought is to get it in and get it visible. But we know the rules have changed and the consumer is filtering out more and more messages, as the media landscape becomes more and more cluttered. To get past this is all about finding the ideal venue to demonstrate honestly the 'coolness' of the brand. As video-on-demand and mobile content delivery evolve from mass to niche market, it becomes easier to alienate people. Now we need to get closer and focus in to get these new techniques to work.

How to Market Brands in a People Economy |
Brand marketers are in the midst of a fundamental shift in human behaviour and consumption. Getting increasingly more elusive and enabled by networked personal technology, consumers are moving from mass market to multiplying custom markets. Today's emerging demographic segments and affinities devalue traditional consumer market boxes.

Can Consumers Own the Brand? | Admap | DOWNLOAD
Exactly who is holding the reins on brands these days? Does it really matter? Or should branding be more about the way a campaign evolves, rather than from whom or where? With everyone talking about how much power the consumer wields, the advertising industry is in desperate need of embedded consumer insight.

“Admap articles reproduced with permission of Admap, the world’s primary source of strategies for effective advertising, marketing and research. To subscribe visit © Copyright Admap.”

What Unites Global Youth | Young Consumers | DOWNLOAD
There are emerging similarities in youth culture across the globe, in particular technology is a focus. The brands and styles preferred by youth around the world are surprisingly alike. The more exposure young people have to common information, for example through the internet, the more homogeneous they appear to become.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A new media platform. An amazing new gaming interface from Xbox. (Just announced on JUNE 15th at the E3 2009 Microsoft conference)

Xbox's Project Netal! Still a prototype right now, but this is something you should keep track of.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hiring Account Planners: A look at posted job descriptions from the past month

Account Planning Director at Digitas

Job Description

Join the Digitas Planning team to uncover breakthrough customer insights, and help turn them into big creative marketing ideas!
Do you have experience developing and applying breakthrough customer insight within a creative agency? How about exceptional thinking, communication and influence skills, leadership, and energy? Digitas is recruiting an Account Planning Director who continues to push the frontier of how digital media can evolve to meet the needs of an ever more powerful consumer. The Account Planning Director is the customer insight lead for Digitas clients with 3 primary responsibilities:
- Leveraging customer insight to help the team come up with great creative marketing ideas
- Helping our clients make the most of the evolving digital landscape
- Being a champion of the client’s brand
You should have solid experience working in a marketing and/or strategic services organization, such as a digital marketing or advertising agency or brand consultancy, and be passionate about applying cutting edge qualitative methodology to the development of insight. An understanding of marketing strategy and disciplines and a clear view on how each aspect of the marketing mix can and should be applied to the client’s business is necessary as is a clear understanding of specific digital marketing disciplines and how digital marketing can work and should be applied within the broader marketing context.
If you feel you could be a key partner in communication and implementing the Digitas planning vision across the network and our clients’ businesses get in touch!


You should have solid experience working in a marketing and/or strategic services organization, such as a digital marketing or advertising agency or brand consultancy, and be passionate about applying cutting edge qualitative methodology to the development of insight. An understanding of marketing strategy and disciplines and a clear view on how each aspect of the marketing mix can and should be applied to the client’s business is necessary as is a clear understanding of specific digital marketing disciplines and how digital marketing can work and should be applied within the broader marketing context.
If you feel you could be a key partner in communication and implementing the Digitas planning vision across the network and our clients’ businesses get in touch!


Title: Sr. Account Planner
Location: San Francisco, California 94105

ATTIK, a Division of Dentsu America, with clients the like of Scion, NFL, Sony Online and various emerging technology companies, is looking for a Senior Account/Strategic Planner with 8-10 years of planning experience to work on Scion and other youth brands. Automotive and ad agency experience is required. Product launch experience a plus.

The Sr. Account Planner will be adept at defining and understanding target audiences, their lifestyles, the decisions they make and their relationship with brands. You will be responsible for uncovering core insights into the attitudes and behavior of the consumer, bringing this to bear on creative briefs that are focused, concise, logical and creatively inspiring.

The ideal candidate is comfortable in a highly creative, fast-paced environment where insights often have to be found in non-traditional ways.

Account Exec/Junior Planner
at Circus London

Job Description - Brief:
An insightful analyst/researcher, an excellent communicator with an empathy for brand/communications and strategy, a well organised team player

Broad responsibilities:
• to support Associates/Senior Associates in delivering insightful brand strategy and communications projects
• to undertake primary and secondary research for projects
• to undertake one-on-one stakeholder interviews
• to plan appropriate research methodologies with an Associate/senior Associate
• to undertake day-to-day client contact
• to interrogate research & market data, extract insights and communicate those insights internally and to the client
• to write appropriate summaries and presentations for the investigate phase
• to deliver their contribution on time, to budget and in the spirit of the Circus brand engagement® ethos

Key attributes:

• brand literate
• ability to assimilate and interrogate data
• commercial and business minded
• ability to work across all disciplines
• excellent communicator (verbal and written)
• good project and people management skills
• budgetary and financial awareness
• well organised
• confident and pro-active

Company Description:
A Circus person is exceptional. S/he is a strategic thinker who has honed her/his sparkling creativity, organisational flair and people skills in our specialist area – consultancy for people-centred brands and services. Entrepreneurial and business-orientated, s/he relishes getting under the skin of organisations, relates confidently to clients at the highest level and is keen to challenge and innovate. S/he’s an impressive communicator and an empathetic, thoughtful listener. A strong team player with excellent project management skills, s/he’ll remain formidably organised and disciplined even under pressure.

[Circus traits]

There are three facets to a Circus role:
1. It is the quality of our strategic response which more than anything creates value for our clients, drawing on the insights produced by meticulous research and investigation. So a Circus person needs to be analytical and creative – as well as inquisitive, well-informed and genuinely fascinated by each new client challenge.
2. Because a Circus role is client-facing, s/he also needs to be articulate and astute, with super-sized empathy and intuition.
3. And because s/he will be running projects, a Circus person needs a good practical head for business, efficiently managing time, clients and budgets and spotting new commercial opportunities.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Presentation Skills Training: Business Week Carmine Gallo's 2008 article about delivering a Presentation like Steve Jobs

It's old, but good presenting wisdom is timeless. Here's an article from last year (Jan 2008) where Business week's communications coach, Carmine Gallo, breaks down the ace presenter's Macworld keynote. He gives us a 10-part framework on how to be a presentation rockstar.

Gallo writes, "When Apple (AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs kicked off this year's Macworld Conference & Expo, he once again raised the bar on presentation skills. While most presenters simply convey information, Jobs also inspires. He sells the steak and the sizzle at the same time, as one reader commented a few years ago.

I analyzed his latest presentation and extracted the 10 elements that you can combine to dazzle your own audience. Bear in mind that Jobs has been refining his skills for years. I broke down his 2007 Macworld keynote in a previous column (, 7/6/07) and in a chapter in my latest book. Still, how he actually arrives at what appear to be effortless presentations bears expanding on and explaining again.

1. Set the theme. "There is something in the air today." With those words, Jobs opened Macworld. By doing so, he set the theme for his presentation (, 1/15/08) and hinted at the key product announcement—the ultrathin MacBook Air laptop. Every presentation needs a theme, but you don't have to deliver it at the start. Last year, Jobs delivered the theme about 20 minutes into his presentation: "Today Apple reinvents the phone." Once you identify your theme, make sure you deliver it several times throughout your presentation.

2. Demonstrate enthusiasm. Jobs shows his passion for computer design. During his presentation he used words like "extraordinary," "amazing," and "cool." When demonstrating a new location feature for the iPhone, Jobs said, "It works pretty doggone well." Most speakers have room to add some flair to their presentations. Remember, your audience wants to be wowed, not put to sleep. Next time you're crafting or delivering a presentation, think about injecting your own personality into it. If you think a particular feature of your product is "awesome," say it. Most speakers get into presentation mode and feel as though they have to strip the talk of any fun. If you are not enthusiastic about your own products or services, how do you expect your audience to be?

3. Provide an outline. Jobs outlined the presentation by saying, "There are four things I want to talk about today. So let's get started…" Jobs followed his outline by verbally opening and closing each of the four sections and making clear transitions in between. For example, after revealing several new iPhone features, he said, "The iPhone is not standing still. We keep making it better and better and better. That was the second thing I wanted to talk about today. No. 3 is about iTunes." Make lists and provide your audience with guideposts along the way.

4. Make numbers meaningful. When Jobs announced that Apple had sold 4 million iPhones to date, he didn't simply leave the number out of context. Instead, he put it in perspective by adding, "That's 20,000 iPhones every day, on average." Jobs went on to say, "What does that mean to the overall market?" Jobs detailed the breakdown of the U.S smartphone market and Apple's share of it to demonstrate just how impressive the number actually is. Jobs also pointed out that Apple's market share equals the share of its top three competitors combined. Numbers don't mean much unless they are placed in context. Connect the dots for your listeners.

5. Try for an unforgettable moment. This is the moment in your presentation that everyone will be talking about. Every Steve Jobs presentation builds up to one big scene. In this year's Macworld keynote, it was the announcement of MacBook Air"

Monday, June 1, 2009

Now Showing in the Society's Grand Hall: Creative Brief Formats From All Over The World

Ad literate has let there prized collection of brief formats travel to the Great Hall of the Royal Society to become a truly wonderful exhibition. We are overjoyed. Great work literate! At the opening reception there will be free homegrown beers for all and we have heard rumors about an exquisite batch of mead straight from our abbey. Cross your fingers! {R.S.O.A.P!}

Here are the links to each brief format and the delightful comments from the Adliterate:

Quoted from: What's in a format? Posted in adliterate on October 15, 2008

Saatchi & Saatchi - London
Download file
This is the new naked brief format we are working to. Essentially is a blank sheet of paper with a nice logo at the top and the idea is that you write you brief from the heart rather than filling in a form.

Fallon - London
Download file
This is Fallon's brief - look at how lovely and naked it is.
And here is their Red brief - for re-briefs and pitch briefs. Download file

BBH - London
Download file
A powerpoint version of the BBH brief.

M&C Saatchi - London
Download file.
This is the briefing format I have been banging on about, Interestingly this is now a little dated and they no longer use a briefing format. Up the revolution.

M&C Hong Kong/APAC
Download file
This is the brief from last year as M&C have dispensed with a format here as they have in London.

Modernista - Boston
Download file

M! creative brief format.

Testardo Redcell - Poland
Download file

A classic format from my old network.

Download file
Naked's naked brief

Euro RSCG Australia
Download file

Singleton Ogilvy & Mather - Australia
Download file

Oomph - Cirencester, UK
Download file

Sudler & Hennesy - Sydney
Download file

Impact BBDO - Dubai
Download file

Tullo Marshall Warren
Download file

McCann Erickson - Indonesia
Download file. And here is an personal approach from one of their planners Download file.


Naked Briefs - Thoughts on Creative Brief Formats from AdLiterate.
It is one of the least edifying characteristics of planning directors that they spend alot of time creating a new briefing format for the agency or network. It is what my old boss Jim Kelly would call "displacement activity". I don't know about you but I have never liked briefing formats and forms. The theory goes that if you fill out all the boxes on the funky new template that someone has spent the last six months of the agency's time putting together then you will miraculously end up with a brilliant brief. If only it was that easy.

I have always believed that filling out boxes on a brief reduces the process to something more akin to applying for a credit card and thus regarded the whole briefing form approach with utter derision. But some agencies seem to like it. Fortunately neither of the places I have spent most of my career (AMV - the UK's largest agency - and HHCL - for a long time the UK's most interesting), had a briefing form. Both places felt that planners should write the right brief for the task in hand. Lets face it we are all grown ups here and we can all write a brief without the help of some ridiculous form. I tend to write mine using a decidedly simple, decidedly old fashioned structure which I am minded to call the naked brief. It is naked because the structure is so spare that it directs one's attention to the quality of the thinking and away from the quality of the form.

And this is how it goes:

1. The role for communications. Look mum, no background. Background is usually an excuse to dump a load of stuff that is not important enough to get in the body of the brief but somehow seems like it might be relevant. My advice is to bin the background and get straight into the effect the activity is intended to create. The role should get to the absolute heart of the problem. And when you have nailed it it is still worth asking yourself 'why' a couple more times simply to get to right to the root of the task.

2. Target audience. This is the stuff about the audience that is absolutely relevant to the task. And don't write it in a "Timothy and Samantha are both aged 24 and like to go out a lot, watch DVDs at home and have a very experimental attitude towards sex" unless you have actually met these people and you aren't just making up some ghastly advertising targeting confection. This sort of trite story is the 21st century equivalent of telling the creative team that the audience are ABC1, Men and Women aged 25-44 - the square root of fuck all use.

3. Proposition. Call it what you will but this is what you are trying to communicate about the brand. Propositions work with the role for communications. The role for communications sets the challenge the work must meet and the proposition is the idea that we want to land about the brand.

4. Support. The stuff that convinces you that the thinking can be supported, will convince the creatives and ultimately will convince the consumer. This is not the repository of all knowable information on earth but the stuff that makes the thinking compelling.

5. Tone. Only if it makes the difference and you can elevate yourself above the cesspit of statements like "businesslike but not formal". On Tango briefs I used to write that if the work wasn't so funny that it made you piss blood then the work wasn't right.

6. Requirements. What do we know we have to do. If it is prescriptive then tell the team what the media agency has already bought. If this is a campaign that can achieve its aims by any means necessary then keep it open.

7. Mandatories. This is not the place on the brief to get creative. It is the place to communicate the stuff that is non-negotiable.

8. Creative starters. Use this to road test your thinking and to open up the ambition of the brief. Ensure that a couple are media starters, and if the requirements are open guide the team about the nature of potential solutions - digital applications, events, promotional ideas - whatever it takes.

It's as boring as hell but that is the point. Minimum time spent designing a funky new creative brief and maximum time spent on the thought or thinking that goes into them.

- Adliterate, February 29, 2008

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Note was found in the society hallways...

We found a sheet of notes in the Society Hallways, and decided that its now public access! If you are the original owner, you can pick them up at the front desk! If not, enjoy the gossip!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Wisdom of Bill Bernbach

William (Bill) Bernbach (August 13, 1911, New York City - October 2, 1982, New York City) was a legendary figure in the history of American advertising. He was one of the three founders of Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB) and directed ad campaigns such as "Think Small" for Volkswagen Beetle (recognized by Advertising Age[1] as the top advertising campaign of the 20th century). Bernbach was noted for his devotion to creativity and offbeat themes, a legacy that has hailed him as a major force behind the Creative Revolution of the 1960s and 70s. He is also credited with being the first to combine copywriters and art directors into two-person teams—they had commonly been in separate departments—a model that still flourishes in advertising agencies today.

Here is a collection of his quotes. You can download them as a PDF here

“Rules are what the artist breaks; the memorable never emerged from a formula.”

“You can say the right thing about a product and nobody will listen. You’ve got to say it in such a way that people will feel it in their gut. Because if they don’t feel it, nothing will happen.”

“Properly practiced creativity Must result in greater sales more economically achieved. Properly practiced creativity can lift your claims out of the swamp of sameness and make them accepted, believed, persuasive, urgent.”

“If your advertising goes unnoticed, everything else is academic.”

“Is creativity some obscure, esoteric art form? Not on your life. It’s the most practical thing a businessman can employ.”

“There is no such thing as a good or bad ad in isolation. What is good at one moment is bad at another. Research can trap you into the past.”

“You can turn a page and, before you really comprehend it, there’s a feeling. There’s a vibration. If it’s the wrong vibration for what you want to convey, what follows is going to fight it-an uphill battle against the original impression you made.”

“The magic is in the product.”

“It’s not just what you say that stirs people. It’s the way that you say it.”

“Merely to let your imagination run riot, to dream unrelated dreams, to indulge in graphic acrobatics and verbal gymnastics in NOT being creative. The creative person had harnessed his imagination. He has disciplined it so that every thought, every idea, every word he puts down, every line he draws, every light and shadow in every photograph he takes, makes more vivid, more believable, more persuasive the original theme or product advantage he has decided he must convey.”

“Surely it is better to state our proposition with the kind of talent that will touch and move the reader and viewer than to bore them to death with the ordinary.”

“Nobody counts the number of ads you run; they just remember the impression you make.”

“You can get attention and really make people resent you if you do it with an unrelated gimmick. They won’t like you for that.

“You can have everybody coming in on time, everybody leaving on time, all work finished on the due date, and still have a lousy ad, and fail.”

“I can put down on a page a picture of a man crying, and it’s just a picture of a man crying. Or I can put him down in such a way as to make you want to cry. The difference is artistry- the intangible thing that business distrusts.”

“It is one thing to have a selling proposition and quite another to sell it.”

“Properly practiced creativity can make one ad do the work of ten.”

“It’s that creative spark that I’m so jealous of for our agency and that I’m so desperately fearful of losing. I don’t want academicians. I don’t want people who do the right things. I want people who do inspiring things.”

“Technique for its own sake can be disastrous. Because, after a while, you’re so anxious to do things differently, and do them better and funnier and more brilliantly than the next guy, that becomes the goal of the ad, instead of the selling of the merchandise.”

“Imitation can be commercial suicide.”

“Just because your ad looks good is no insurance that it will get looked at. How many
people do you know who are impeccably groomed ... but dull?”

“We are so busy measuring public opinion that we forget we can mold it. We are so busy listening to statistics we forget we can create them.”

“Today’s smartest advertising style is tomorrow’s corn.”

“Be provocative. But be sure your provocativeness stems from your product. You are NOT right if in your ad you stand a man on his head JUST to get attention. You ARE right if you have him on his head to show how your product keeps things from falling out of his pockets.”

“We don’t do just snob ads, we don’t do just short copy ads, or just long copy ads, or any particular style. If you want to know what makes DDB ads, it is a fresh and original idea that conveys the advantage of the product memorably. We have no formula.”

“I warn you against believing that advertising is a science.”

“I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to choose the plain looking ad that is alive and vital and meaningful, over the ad that is beautiful but dumb.”

“Our job is to sell our clients’ merchandise ... not ourselves. Our job is to kill the cleverness that makes us shine instead of the product. Our job is to simplify, to tear away the unrelated, to pluck out the weeds that are smothering the product message.”

“Know your product inside and out before you start working. And relate that knowledge to the consumer’s needs.”

“No matter how skillful you are, you can’t invent a product advantage that doesn’t exist. And if you do, and it’s just a gimmick, it’s going to fall apart anyway.”

“There will be a time when no headline is proper; there will be a time when a headline is proper. There will be a time when a logo is good and there will be a time when using a logo is the worst thing in the world you can do.”

“Our job is to bring the dead facts to life.”

“A great ad campaign will make a bad product fail faster. It will get more people to know it’s bad.”

“The truth isn’t the truth until people believe you, and they can’t believe you if they don’t know what you’re saying, and they can’t know what you’re saying if they don’t listen to you, and they won’t listen to you if you’re not interesting, and you won’t be interesting unless you say things imaginatively, originally, freshly.”

“Forget words like ‘hard sell’ and ‘soft sell.’ That will only confuse you. Just be sure your advertising is saying something with substance, something that will inform and serve the consumer, and be sure you’re saying it like it’s never been said before.”

“Adapt your techniques to an idea, not an idea to your techniques.”

“Playing it safe can be the most dangerous thing in the world, because you’re presenting people with an idea they’ve seen before, and you won’t have impact.”

“Advertising doesn’t create a product advantage. It can only convey it.”

“The difference between the forget-table and the enduring is artistry.”

“You’ve got to live with your product. You’ve got to get steeped in it. You’ve got to get saturated with it. You must get to the heart of it. Indeed, if you have not crystallized into a single purpose, a single theme, what you want to tell the reader, you CANNOT be creative.”

“There are two attitudes you can wear: that of cold arithmetic or that of warm, human
persuasion. I will urge the latter on you. For there is evidence that in the field of communications the more intellectual you grow, the more you lose the great intuitive skills that make for the greater persuasion-the things that really touch and move people.”

“Execution becomes content in a work of genius.”

“Can you really judge an idea from a storyboard? How do you storyboard a smile?”

“A dull truth will not be looked at. An exciting lie will. That is what good, sincere people must understand. They must make their truth exciting and new, or their good works will be born dead.”

“Don’t confuse good taste with the absence of taste.”

“At the heart of an effective creative philosophy is the belief that nothing is so powerful as an insight into human nature, what compulsions drive a man, what instincts dominate his action, even though his language so often camouflages what really motivates him.”

“There is practically nothing that is not capable of boring us.”

“In communications, familiarity breeds apathy.”

“It is insight into human nature that is the key to the communicator’s skill. For whereas the writer is concerned with what he puts into his writings, the communicator is concerned with what the reader gets out of it. He therefore becomes a student of how people read or listen.”

“There are few things more destructive than an unsound idea persuasively expressed.”

“To succeed an ad (or a person or product for that matter) must establish its own unique personality, or it will never be noticed.”

“To keep your ads fresh you’ve got to keep yourself fresh. Live in the current idiom and you will create in it. If you follow and enjoy and are excited by the new trails in art, in writing, in industry, in personal relationships ... whatever you do will naturally be of today.”

“It took millions of years for man’s instincts to develop. It will take millions more for them to even vary. It is fashionable to talk about changing man. A communicator must be concerned with unchanging man, with his obsessive drive to survive, to be admired, to succeed, to love, to take care of his own.”

“Word of mouth is the best medium of all.”

“Find new symbols, even though in time those symbols will grow old and die. The most
freshly sculptured phrase will eventually become a cliché.”

“With our industry being watched so carefully by governmental agencies, with the FTC
ready to pounce on every claim we make, what we CAN say in our ads is forever narrowing and the sharpest tool left for us is HOW we say it.”

“Finding out what to say is the beginning of the communication process. How you say it makes people look and listen and believe. And if you are not successful at that you have wasted all the work and intelligence and skill that went into discovering what you should say.”

“Dullness won’t sell your product, but neither will irrelevant brilliance.”

“An idea can turn to dust or magic depending on the talent that rubs against it.”

“You’ve got to believe in your product ... you’ve got to believe in your work. Only a deep belief will generate the vitality and energy that give life to your work.”

“You cannot sell a man who isn’t listening.”

“Getting a product known isn’t the answer. Getting it WANTED is the answer. Some of the best known product names have failed.”

“Maybe we’re getting bogged down in too much detail. Maybe our advertising ideas are
being ground up in that multi-level American efficiency machine.”

“It’s not how short you make it; it’s how you make it short.”

“The great mistakes are made when we feel we are beyond questioning.”

“Today, everybody is talking ‘Creativity,’ and frankly, that’s got me worried. I fear lest we keep the good taste and lose the sell. I fear all the sins we may commit in the name of ‘Creativity.’ I fear that we may be entering an age of phonies.”

“Logic and overanalysis can immobilize and sterilize an idea. It’s like love-the more you analyze it the faster it disappears.”

“A unique selling proposition is no longer enough. Without a unique selling talent it may die.”

“Because an appeal makes logical sense is no guarantee that it will work.”

“Working from a method or a formula is guaranteed to do the same thing to the
effectiveness of an idea that time does to a loaf of bread. Ideas must be hot out of the oven if they are to arouse the appetite. That is why, in communications, imitation is commercial suicide.”

“The fragile structure of logic fades and disappears against the emotional onslaught of hushed tone, a dramatic pause, and the soaring excitement of a verbal crescendo.”

“Knowledge is ultimately available to everyone. Only true intuition, jumping from knowledge to an idea, is yours and yours alone.”

“An important idea not communicated persuasively is like having no idea at all.”

“It is ironic that the very thing that is most suspect by business, that intangible thing called artistry, turns out to be the most practical tool available to it. For it is only an original talent that can vie with all the shocking news events and violence in the world for the attention of the consumer.”

“The men who are going to be in business tomorrow are the men who understand that the
future, as always, belongs to the brave.”

“In this very real world, good doesn’t drive out evil. Evil doesn’t drive out good. But the energetic displaces the passive.”

“We don’t ask research to do what it was never meant to do, and that is to get an idea.”

“Most readers come away from their reading not with a clear, precise, detailed registration of its contents on their minds, but rather with a vague, misty idea which was formed as much by the pace, the proportions, the music of the writings as by the literal words themselves.”

“All of us who professionally use the mass media are the shapers of society. We can
vulgarize that society. We can brutalize it. Or we can help lift it onto a higher level.”

“However much we would like advertising to be a science-because life would be simpler that way-the fact is that it is not. It is a subtle, ever-changing art, defying formularization, flowering on freshness and withering on imitation; where what was effective one day, for that very reason, will not be effective the next, because it has lost the maximum impact of originality.”

“More and more I have come to the conclusion that a principle isn’t a principle until it costs you money.”

“The real giants have always been poets, men who jumped from facts into the realm of
imagination and ideas.”

“If you stand for something, you will always find some people for you and some against you. If you stand for nothing, you will find nobody against you, and nobody for you.”

“When we started our agency, we had in mind precisely the kind of people we wanted with us. There were two requirements: You had to be talented and you had to be nice. If you were nice but without talent, we were very sorry, but you just wouldn’t do. We had to ‘make it.’ And only great talent would help us do that. If you were a great talent, but not a nice person, we had no hesitation in saying ‘No.’ Life is too short to sacrifice so much of it, to living with a bastard.”

“A great talent, sailing in the wrong direction will, like the lost pilot breaking the speed record, reach the wrong destination all the more quickly.”

“The purpose of advertising is to sell. That is what the client is paying for and if that goal does not permeate every idea you get, every word you write, every picture you take, you are a phony and you ought to get out of the business.”