DDB Tribal’s Nina Rieke explores the brief, an essential component of the creative process


Issue 22: A Good Brief

Nina Rieke

Nina Rieke is Executive Strategy Director of DDB Tribal with offices in Berlin, Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Vienna and Wolfsburg and leads the planning department across the group. She has worked as a strategic planner for more than 17 years and has held positions both on the client and agency side. Rieke has a degree in social and business communications from the University of Arts Berlin and started her agency career as an account manager. She trained as a planner with LOWE Lintas and has worked as a strategist for different agencies, including Jung von Matt and Springer & Jacoby and as an independent strategy consultant before joining DDB Tribal. She is a frequent lecturer at Miami Ad School and the Art Directors Club (ADC) and was member of the board of the APG (Account Planning Group) in Germany until 2013. She can be found on twitter as @ninarieke and on her blog. Nina is based in Berlin and enjoys urban life and the chances it offers in observing culture – in art as well as the everyday. She prefers bike riding over cars, is a passionate reader of contemporary English fiction, a dedicated foodie, and loves to investigate destinations across the globe whenever possible.

Defining The Problem

There are no great briefs, only great ads.
There are no great briefs, but there are la lot of bad ones.

A good brief is probably about as good as a brief gets.
(L. Butterfield, Excellence in Advertising, 1997)

There are no great briefs, just great ideas – as much of our work is not limited to traditional ads any more. Have you ever heard anyone outside of advertising discuss the potential insight or message behind a campaign? No – this doesn’t happen – planners are not rock stars and often don’t get the credit they deserve.

Planners play a vital role in the creative process. Creatives look to the brief to provide them with a clear understanding of the business situation and the challenge that needs to be solved. If creatives are unable to do so, they can come up with nice creative ideas – but won’t be able to deliver the solution the client needs. So the question is – what makes a good brief?

Keep Reading

Extract from Volkswagen creative brief:
Problem: Every year Volkswagen registers a large number of car accidents caused by women who are putting on make up while driving.
VW Don’t Make Up and Drive → media behaviour as an insight into how to reach women.

Extract from eBay creative brief:

Problem: eBay is a large online retail platform – but it has lost its emotional appeal in the course of becoming a commerce platform for a wide variety of goods.

eBay Hank the Hamster → inspiring people to integrate new technology for whatever inspires them.

Extract from Homeless Paper BISS creative brief:

Problem: A well-established “homeless paper” is losing the basis of their business – their street sales staff – and traditional media will not be able to recruit new ones.

Biss Bottle Recruiting → behaviour becomes the media, which becomes the creative idea by turning bottles with redemption value into media to advertise job opportunities.

Extracts from Telekom II creative brief:

Problem: Telekom has claimed, “Life is for sharing” – but sharing has long become common sense through the rise of social media and thus losing its true value to people.

Telekom Tutu Project  showing the benefits of sharing and what great things it can lead to through the lens of real-life stories.