The degeneration of the creative brief: Innocence, Cynicism, Farce

The Creative Brief

Most mediocre pieces of advertising (and design) have often started with a degenerate creative brief where lofty ideals have degenerated to meaningless banality, faster than melting ice.

Here’s a sneak peek from the bored room bug on what happens behind those closed doors.

The Cast:

Loo: The client – Marketing head of a large firm

Fro: Account servicing head – advertising agency

Xes: The Creative head – advertising agency

3 silent figues – Loo’s team members in marketing (who remain in the shadows all through the play)

Scene: A bright cheerful day at the agency that gradually turns dark and glows with a harsh red light

Loo: Uh, we want to brief for a new ad

Fro: Yeah, I know. That’s why we are here.

Loo: We want something that’s path-breaking, creative and works with very little monies.

Fro: Oh wow! I’ve been waiting to hear that from you! You got us all excited!

Loo: I want this brief to inspire creative!

(Xes Manages a very polite yet guarded smile)

Loo: However, there are a few things we want you to keep in mind.

Fro: Sure…

Loo: While we have a sharp TG in mind, we do not want to alienate everyone else.

Fro: Uh oh…

Loo: I know we are targeting kids, but let it not offend their parents, ok?

Fro: How’s that possible?!!

Loo: C’mon boys! You are the creeeeaaaative guys! (at different stages he keeps saying the same thing but stressing different words everytime)

Fro: Oh Ok… (sneaks a look at Xes, who glowers at him and hurriedly looks back)

Loo: Along with our key message we want to toss in some additional information…

Fro: Like what?

Loo: We want to tell them it’s cool. But also that it’s very healthy. Don’t forget to mention the 2 eggs that go in. And the fact that it is the only brand endorsed by geriatric experts. And it has been voted the top brand amongst middle aged women last year.

Fro: How can that be done in a 30 sec ad?!!

Loo: You can do it guys! Youu are the Creaaaative guyssss!

X: What the.. (Fro turns back and gives Xes a imploring look)

Loo: We’d like to show our product the way that our much larger competitor does. I think it’s god awesome cool!

Fro: Aw. C’mon! How’ll we be different from them then?

Loo: I am sure you can find a way! I can’t tell you Creative guys how to do thaaat!

(Xes coughs loudly)

Loo: I also want a strong call to action.

Fro: Such as …?

Loo: Like, I want to say ‘Buy Now’!

Fro: Oh…

Loo: Also keep in mind that my boss likes a certain kind of bawdy humour. If he doesn’t think its funny, it’ll be very difficult for us to pass the ad

Fro: When would he see it?

Loo: Just after the PPM maybe.

(Xes seems to choke and break off into a fit of coughing – and leaves the room mumbling not-so polites sounding excuses)

Loo: Oh, by the way (leans forward to whisper into Fro’s ear) I think we can look at casting the same woman we had as an extra the last time…

Fro: We haven’t even frozen the script!

Loo: That’s why I am telling you now. I heard a talk given by Karan Johar on advertising where he says scripts should always be created with the actors in mind.

Fro: Oh. How interesting…

Loo: Reminds me, I want to discuss my latest views on the fine arts with you if you have a few hours to spend with me in a lounge bar next door.

(Fro notes Loo getting up to hide his wallet in his bag, so that he can look surprised when the bill comes – and act as if he never carried one)

Fro: I would love to do that Loo, but I just have to rush for my next meeting. I’ll send Myu with you and take a download from her.

L: (can’t hide his glee) Oh that will fantastic. But we should catch up over a drink soon.

M: Yeah, sure.