1. Be positive and enthusiastic
If you turn up looking like a shower of shit and proclaiming the brief as a waste of time, we sure as hell aren’t going to bother investing our time or efforts into it. We’ve got that other job that may just win us a Cannes Lion. Or football practice after work. Lie if you have to.
2. Make it interesting
We don’t want you to just read out the brief for us. The copywriter can do that for the art director later. Try to liven the process up a bit. Bring the product with you for us to play with. Or brief us somewhere relevant. If the brief is for a new burger, take us to the fast food outlet and brief us there. With no Facebook or emails, you’ll be guaranteed our undivided attention. And we’ll like you more. Creatives love free shit – remember that and you’ll go far.
3. Condense stuff
We don’t need to know all the background history and every research result. Just include what you think is important. Or what got you to the proposition. In all honesty, we’ll probably only read the proposition anyway. One page only please. And don’t try the 6pt type trick either.
4. Really, really, really, really think about the proposition
Then make sure you get it signed off by your boss and the client. In fact, give the creatives a sneak peak too. What’s the worse that could happen? Above reading for ourselves, we hate having our time wasted. A creative only has 5000 buckets of creative juice in his lifetime. Fact. If you waste one bucket on a crap proposition or worse, one that’s wrong, you’re effectively reducing the length of our careers. Nice one.
5. Seriously, really, really, really think about the proposition
We’ll base all our thinking and ideas on what that little proposition says. So invest some time and thought into it. Make it single-minded and clear. Get it as close as you can to an endline. The best propositions we’ve ever seen always sound like an endline. Persil – Take your Pants to Paradise. What a proposition! So good, it became the actual endline. Stick that in your planner book and smoke it.
6. Never use our work to solve your brief
Again, see point 4 about time wasting. We hate planners that employ this sneaky testing strategy. In big agencies it means another team will come in at the last minute and steal the brief once it’s been refined (using our work). At a smaller agency we just have to keep going on the same brief until we’d rather just quit and go to work for Three Drunk Monkeys. Try to get it as close to perfect before you come in to brief us. If you don’t think it’s quite right, delay the briefing. We have football practice anyway.
7. Don’t be lazy
We don’t want a brief that’s just passed down from the client. Each time you do that, somewhere in the world an account guy gets promoted. Don’t add fuel to the debate that you guys aren’t needed and are basically redundant. Get it in a room and interrogate it like you’re Bunk from the Wire. Put those big old brains of yours to some use. Sheeeeeeeeeeeett…
8. Give us insight and we’ll give you a high five
All the best propositions come from a great insight. Something that will raise our eyebrows when you say it. Most good insights produce better creative work, as they invariably lead creatives down less trodden paths. Tell us something we haven’t heard before and you’ll get our attention because we’ll sense the ‘Magic O’ (that’s ‘opportunity’ not ‘orgasm’). We may even high-five you if it’s that’s good. Maybe.
9. Remember who’s side you’re on
You don’t work for the client. You work for the agency that employs you. The same agency that employs us. Your mission is the same as ours – to produce award-winning and effective work. To do this we need to take risks together. Just because you spent a lot of time with the client (brown nosing), you don’t need to think like them.
10. Don’t be a stranger
Even after the briefing, pop in and catch up with us. Ask how we’re getting on and see if you can help. We always encourage planners to do this. Sometimes it gives us the opportunity to tell you how shit the brief is you’ve written. Other times it helps us to test ideas and chat about any stumbling blocks. We did this with Cat on Flora at BBH and she ended up writing a top ad with/for us. If anything, it also helps break up the monotony of a creative team spending every fucking, God forsaken, waking hour with one another.