Long Brief/Short Brief.


The Gettysburg Address, arguably one of the most important speeches in America-dom, was 272 words long. (I read that on the internet.)

As someone who writes strategy for a living, I’m a fan of the brand brief. Smart people in the advertising business will tell you a short brief is the best brief.  And when I say smart people, I mean high-powered, highly-paid creatives and strategists like Mark Pollard.

Well, as a contrarian by nature I am going to take issue with the whole short brief thing. Just like a great piece of long form copy or other well-written pieces one cannot put down, I want a brief that gives creative people and marketers thoughtful inspiration. A spark.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve written my fair share of shitty briefs. And I’ve read my fair share of other people’s shitty briefs. Most were elongated by repetition. Some were just boring. Many lacked a thread that storified the brand.  But those were the result of improper research, lazy construction and brand craft.

Briefs can always be briefer. They can always be better. But as stimulus to marketers and creatives they need to inspire. They need to open doors to exciting creative ideation and energetic consumer response.

Back in the 80s there was a direct mail letter written by someone at Ogilvy Direct for American Express that out-pulled every other direct mail letter for years and years.  It was the absolute best. It was long. It delivered. It sparked consumer action.  That’s what a brand brief should do. Yes, the Gettysburg Address was short — about the length of this post. But length isn’t on trial here. Creative conviction is.