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.

Headline Roundup

From Kohl’s To Nordstrom, Registers Ringing – via MediaPost

A Digital Boot Camp to Groom Talent for Agencies – via New York Times

The Pocket Guide to Defensive Branding – via Ad Age

On-the-Fly Advertising Swiftly Becoming More Commonplace – via Ad Age

Opinion: One Name, One Brand—One Potentially Deadly Idea – via Brandweek

Digital Dissonance – via Adweek

Our Measurement Problem Begins With Definitions – via Ad Age

Traditional Ads Yield Social Traction– via Adweek

Our Measurement Problem Begins With Definitions

Just What Is a Creative Director?

Phil Johnson, of PJA Advertising and Marketing, recently published a good piece on the Ad Age Small Agency DiaryWhat the Hell Is a Creative Director Supposed to Be?

An excerpt from Phil’s piece:

I’ve come to the conclusion that the job of creative director is bigger and more important than any one task. Rather than the person with the best ideas, or the person who is the best judge of good work, or the person who can best manage the creative process, a creative director needs to shape the creative brain of the entire agency and build a creative conscience. His influence extends well beyond the creative department. This conviction has made me question many of the traditional expectations for a creative leader.

Take the time to read the entire post on the Small Agency Diary.  It’s a good read for anyone involved in this business.  And, if you feel so inclined, leave him a comment over there as well.

There’s a New Year Coming, But its Going to Take Work

2009 is almost done crumbling to the ground, and that shiny new toy that is 2010 still looks good in the display case.  But before you go thinking that things are going to turn on a dime, take a few minutes to read the latest piece from Bart Cleveland on the Ad Age Small Agency Diary.  In it, he offers some good advice on How to Roll Strong Into 2010, such as:

Communicate. Not much good to talk about? You’re not looking hard enough. Even if it is how great everyone is being in the face of hardship, talk about it in your staff meetings, e-mails, etc.

Walk and talk. The economy can’t kill what makes your agency a great place to work; only you can. It has no effect on your imagination or your will to succeed; only you do. It can’t keep you from smiling, or patting someone on the back. Move around your office and talk to everyone at least once a day.

Take a few minutes and give it a read. You’ll be glad you did.