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Patriotic Jorts

Sorry, folks, we’re not talking about exciting patriotic boxer briefs. We’re talking creative marketing briefs (sigh).

Apparently, one of the most talked about pieces at the Cannes Lions advertising festival last week wasn’t the brilliant Old Spice Mom Song or Chipotle’s Scarecrow.

Instead, it was a slide presented by Beats by Dre VP of marketing Omar Johnson declaring “F*** BRIEFS.”

Beyond pure shock value, his point was that agencies should be working so closely with their clients 24/7, they shouldn’t have to rely on the old school, Mad Men-like process of writing a strategy or creative brief for a campaign.

So, what do our Brokaw experts think?

Tim L

TIM LAUBACHER, DIRECTOR OF STRATEGY: I get the point they are trying to make, but they are oversimplifying and misconstruing the purpose and capabilities of a brief/briefing. Briefs are to analyze and get the story straight. But briefings are where the magic happens in a cross-functional team environment. These strategic discussions are absolutely vital to making sure everyone is on the same page. The last thing we want is a team of brilliant but disjointed minds sprinting in opposite directions.



RENEE ALEXANDER, DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL & SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY: I don’t agree with a brief for brief’s sake. Ideally, you want to have a deep enough relationship with the client and their needs and goals, that we can always be thinking strategically and creatively and creating great work without the need for briefs and to-do lists. I think the real issue is that teams aren’t part of the process from start to finish, so you may have one or two account people researching or getting briefed by the client, and then by the time the rest of the team gets involved, it’s watered down—like a bad game of agency telephone.


Mike K

MIKE KRUEGER, INTERACTIVE DIRECTOR: My world (UX) strongly preaches content first. More specifically, relevant content delivered in a relevant way with end-user’s needs taking the highest priority. So with that being said, I’m all for the brief—that is, as long as it inspires, and the process to arrive at a good one doesn’t create a bottleneck. I love efficiency. (Did I mention I’m 100% German?)



JAYME GILSON, ACCOUNT SUPERVISOR: Writing a brief with our planning team and client forces me to weed through the clutter and articulate the true essence of the problem to solve. Better for me to figure this out before we get our creative, digital, social, paid media, and PR teams working against an unclear goal. Amiright?



STEVE McKEOWN, CREATIVE DIRECTOR: To me, there will always be a need for the brief or a strategic foundation to ensure all work is “on brand,” especially since so many different hands and skill sets touch the work. This won’t change. What has changed is the speed of developing and evolving that strategy, while simultaneously bringing it to life in simple, fresh, smart ways 24/7. Which probably explains why our creative department will be watching the fireworks from our office this year. Yay, America!


Matt G

BROKAW NEW GUY: Not sure about briefs. But does anyone want to try one of my delicious homemade BRO USA cookies?

Cokies 7.3

(Well played, New Guy.)

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