What's in a format?

Thank god for that, a few of you have started the ball rolling and submitted briefing formats.

We need a whole load more and from every corner of the globe.

Just got my mits on Naked, M&C and BBH's formats. We now need briefs from places like AMV, Mother, Wiedens, Goodby, Crispin Porter, 180 you know the kind of thing. We also need briefs from some tip top digital agencies - Glue, Dare, Poke in London come to mind - it would be interesting to compare and contrast these with agencies from a stronger advertising tradition. And how about briefs from design agencies, sales promotion and PR?

Saatchi & Saatchi - London

This is the new naked brief format we are working to. Essentially is a blank sheet of paper with a nice logo at the top and the idea is that you write you brief from the heart rather than filling in a form.Download file.

Fallon - London

This is Fallon's brief - look at how lovely and naked it is. Download file

And here is their Red brief - for re-briefs and pitch briefs. Download file

BBH - London

A powerpoint version of the BBH brief.Download file

M&C Saatchi - London

This is the briefing format I have been banging on about, Download file. Interestingly this is now a little dated and they no longer use a briefing format. Up the revolution.

M&C Hong Kong/APAC

This is the brief from last year as M&C have dispensed with a format here as they have in London.Download file

Modernista - Boston

M! creative brief format. Download file

Testardo Redcell - Poland

A classic format from my old network. Download file


Naked's naked brief Download file

Euro RSCG Australia

Download file

Singleton Ogilvy & Mather - Australia

Download file

Oomph - Cirencester, UK

Download file

Sudler & Hennesy - Sydney

Download file

Impact BBDO - Dubai

Download file

Tullo Marshall Warren

Download file

McCann Erickson - Indonesia

Here is their official brief Download file. And here is an personal approach from one of their plannersDownload file.


I am a first year planner in a growing agency in Spain (Dommo Creative Center).
As we say here, heaven got opened to me when I saw this briefs, I am very thankfull for this, because my first creative briefs are so...sad?

But I have a little suggestion/requirement related with my little experience:
would anybody be so kind to post here a real brief filled with the insights and everything, just like it was given to the creatives?

sorry for the english and thank you very much,
regards from Madrid,

Posted by: AgusCentZ-DommoCC at October 23, 2008 05:46 PM


C'mon, we're alrdeady thinking most important thing is the brief... isn't this a mistake?! I belive in people because being a Planner is not a standard process. C'mon men! just make your own brief and you'll be better.

Regards from the World.


Posted by: There is no name at October 24, 2008 08:52 AM

Ah yes. Briefing - formats - creativity - dulled - process - control...
A briefing format means there is a process for getting a job done. That's good.
A good briefing format will encourage creative insight and even remind the writer about some rules on proposition and writing.
A bad one will look rubbish.
A good planner will write a good brief with a crap format.
A bad planner will write a crap brief with a good format.
A good creative team will evolve a crap brief into a good one - or throw it out.
A bad creative team will waste a good brief and amplify a bad one.
Getting good work is simple and rarely if ever related to briefing format. Simply be very good at planning and have a great creative team to work with.

Nice idea to pull briefs together though.

Posted by: Stephen Priestnall at October 31, 2008 12:55 PM

This is really interesting. I work in PR and we don't write briefs per se because we would just be writing them for ourselves. It is something we should probably do more of though to introduce a bit of discipline to the brain-storming process most agencies use.

Posted by: Tim at December 7, 2008 01:20 PM

thanks for making these briefs available. a gold mine of smart thinking here. like my agency, i noticed a few of the briefs shared, having a client sign-off section. sometimes i struggle with a standardized brief format, especially when it is written so that it's more of a "cover your ass, contract between agency and client". our shop attempted to have 2 versions, (e.g. client and agency) it started to get redundant. the client version being the one that had all the mandatory nuts 'n bolts of what the client was looking for. the agency version was the one that had the "a-ha, the singular insight" that would lead to good creative. 5 different brief versions later in my 5 years at the shop, we're now down to one new version that being presented next month.

how about we look at the brief as an inspiration...a kick in the pants, fuck i think we can come up w/the best idea to solve your problem, mr/mrs client?

most of the creatives that i've worked with, have expressed to me that they don't find inspiration from briefs, they see them more as a contract (or work order) coming from the client/account/planning team instead of a document that inspires and leads. can we help change this perception? i'm in agreement w/Stephen's comment. above all else, it's not the brief format that matters, it should be the pool of talent that is being asked to solve the problem. thanks for allowing me to share my 2-cents.

Posted by: windo at December 21, 2008 05:48 PM

Hurrah! This is such a brilliant idea!

I'll send you two - one that is used at McCann (it's unimaginably long and boring) and one that I prefer using (from my previous agency).


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