The well-crafted brief

If you haven’t seen it by now, you owe it to yourself to take a few minutes and watch Close to Home, the latest in the It Can Wait campaign from AT&T.

Go ahead, we’ll wait.

As good as this piece is, for those of us in the ad world, the story behind it is even better.

Recently, Ad Age published The Story Behind AT&T’s Disturbing Phone-Safety Ad, Ann-Christine Diaz goes inside baseball on the film, how it was made, and the thinking behind it.

A few notable nuggets from the article:

AT&T research found that while the general audience, namely, consumers in their 30s, had agreed with messages from the previous ads, they were “rationalizing, giving reasons why they could [use their phones and drive] safely, whether it’s because they’re an experienced driver, or doing it at a stop sign,” among other things, said Ms. Kuckelman. Moreover, it showed that not just texting or email, but social media and other phone activities were contributing to accidents.

And this:

“The agency brief started with, ‘think of this not as an advertising campaign but an opportunity to save lives,'” Mr. Planchon said. “They wanted the tone to be raw and emotional.”

Take a few minutes and read the entire article. It’s worth it.

In the end, however, this a fact that we’ve seen over and over — in the right hands, a well-crafted creative brief provides the framework, and the opportunity, to do some amazing work.

If you’re on the creative side, insist on them. If you’re on the account side, write them. Then rewrite them. Make them better. Your client — and your agency — with thank you for it.

Doing things differently

Perhaps it’s just me, but I’ve heard so many people, companies, brands, etc. talk about how they ‘do things differently’ than anyone else. About their patented, trademarked, put-our-seal-and-watermark-on-it way of doing things.

But here’s the thing — when everyone is ‘doing things differently’ in their own way, no one really is. It’s a sentiment that was similarly echoed in David McCullough’s commencement speech to Wellesley High School recently (which you should really watch if you haven’t taken the time to yet).

So, the question I’ll pose to you dear reader is this: What can you do differently today? Does it have to be something earth-shattering? No. Take, for example, this recent piece for Coca-Cola:

In reality, there’s nothing spectacularly unique about the content. It came from security cameras that are everywhere you look. But by using that footage differently, Coca Cola found an entirely new source of content, all while maintaining – and in many cases reinforcing – their Happiness brand position.

What can you do differently today? Tomorrow? Next week? Think about it, and then go do it.

By hook or by crook, by book or by NOOK

Maybe it’s the bookworm in me, but the more I see the latest work from Barnes & Noble for their NOOK tablet, I more find myself liking it.

This spot is part of Barnes & Noble’s Read Forever™ campaign, billed as “a celebration of reading.”

And while this spot is specifically for the NOOK Color tablet, it doesn’t take away from the core of the company, the products they offer or what you do with those products.

In addition to the :30 version above, there’s also a :60 version:

Well done to everyone involved in creating this campaign.

And yes, dear readers, I know this is outside the typical realm of coverage on this site, but I felt it was too good not to share. Feel free to leave a comment and let others know what you think.