Gone are the days when advertising held a charm for creatives working day and night to crack the big idea. In the instant coffee, instant info and instant everything era, ads also are expected to be delivered instantly.
Most briefs that come our way are adhoc, thought out at the spur of the moment, perhaps when the client came across some fanciful ad in the morning papers, or perhaps when the team got a dressing down for not achieving sales target, or perhaps just to keep the retainer agency busy, ‘coz they would have to pay anyway!
Whatever the reason, the all important brief which was once considered as the foundation of any ad / creative campaign that sparked off great ideas and strategies, has now been trimmed down to a no-frills no-nothing one line telephone / email brief. And this brief sometimes comes with reference to a trail of internal mails, each proving the hierarchy of the people in conversation, with changing offers and objectives, some even suggesting headline and copy with a ‘PS:’ to creatively tweak it as appropriate (but to be read as ‘don’t you dare change a word’). Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you get a brief document that looks very professional but is based on a standard brief format, meaning only the product name and deadline changed visibly, but the communication message / objective remained more or less the same.
Coming to the deadline, we’ve always heard of the “yesterday” deadlines, which has perhaps existed since the beginning of advertising, but now our brethren in the client organisations seem to take it to heart. A brief almost always comes only in the evening, and the deadline is almost always ‘A.S.A.P’ (As Soon As Possible) which has graduated to ‘By EoD’ (End of Day), since “as soon as possible” would again give a free hand to the creative agency.
Fact is, such short deadlines don’t really result in ads / creatives being done, approved and released within a short period. It only denies creatives the time and space to think and work creatively. Then there are a million drafts, back & forth iterations and so on, which finally results in substandard work. This eventually takes longer than the deadline, as changes are again arbitrary and at the spur of the moment, which results in more time than the actual time taken for conceptualising, copy, design & artwork.
The produced work is more often a mix and match of options, with client ideas imposing itself on the final creative, and agency a mere bystander or witness to the mayhem and cacophony in between. Why then are agencies held accountable if the ad doesn’t kick up any dust or make any noise (not even a whisper) among the TG (Target Group)?
I hear the death knell, so I got to wind this up. So I leave you with these grave emotions of an adman at the brink of madness with briefer briefs and yesterday deadlines!