Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - 48

by MAL KARLIN

CHaNNel CROSSiNG: CReatiVe

it’s all in the Brief
“These are not doing anything for me. They’re just not working.” That’s what I told my partner after looking over the latest round of concept scripts we had for a client presentation. It’s what happens in the process of developing breakthrough ideas that will turn into profitable DRTV commercials. Voices get raised, egos get bruised, ideas get trashed and panic sets in. And that’s even before the client tears into them. Doesn’t exactly fit the picture portrayed in Mad Men. Of course, that show isn’t about direct response TV, where a great creative idea is not great until the client gets a huge call volume, the cost per lead is way below the allowable and the spot gets a couple thousand hits and comments on YouTube. Ideas are what advertising creative types are supposed to come up with. Ideas that sell are what direct response advertising creatives have to come up with. We have to do everything the image and traditional brand agency folks do – break through the immense clutter of ads on TV with visuals and copy that stop the viewer from hitting the remote or running into the kitchen for chips – and then we have to up the ante by producing some kind of immediate action. Ideas can come from anywhere. But great ideas, ideas that intrigue, entertain and compel the viewer to take action, ideas that also build trust in a brand, those ideas come from the wellspring of a dynamite creative brief. A creative brief is not like a mission statement where lofty ideals are committed to paper and then promptly forgotten during day-to-day business. A well-crafted brief is the fuel for igniting creativity. Creative briefs are action plans that lead to a sales goal. They shouldn’t be filled with purple prose that a college marketing professor would fall in love with. The key to a good creative brief is in the second word: brief – as in short, pithy and to the point. Think Sgt. Joe Friday of Dragnet – just the facts, ma’am. For example, let’s pick a project; a DRTV spot for a device that sharpens shaving razors. The brief for our razor sharpener should quickly define the target audience. Who are we talking to? We don’t need a Freudian analysis, just age range, gender and a defining characteristic, if necessary. Men, age 18-54, who use manual safety razors.
electronicRetaileR | august 2011

Next we need to know what our prospects are thinking about the disposable blades they are currently using. They’re thinking, “I hate the high cost and inconvenience of replacing dull blades.” Then we need to define what we want our prospects to think: “This razor sharpener means I’ll save thousands of dollars a year by not having to buy new blades.” The creative teams now know who they’re talking to, what they are thinking and what the client would like them to think. The next question that needs to be answered is, “What are the features of the razor sharpener that will enhance the sell?” The creative team must then turn those features into benefits – tap into the emotional reasons for purchasing the razor sharpener. And lastly, we need a statement that answers the big direct response question: “Why should the prospect buy our sharpener right now?” – or in DRTV jargon, “What’s the offer?” Without it, we don’t have a direct response TV commercial worth airing. Now, we have a game plan! At Karlin+Pimsler, we call it the Five Ws – who, what, what, what and why. Armed with this Hemingway-style brief, the creative teams retire to the war room to come up with ideas that will win the war of wills with consumers. Coming up with ideas is easy. As Red Barber, the famous sportswriter, said of newspaper journalism, “You just sit at the typewriter and wait for the blood to drip from your head onto the keys.” While our “Five Ws” creative brief may seem counter intuitive to letting imaginations run wild, it works because a certain degree of oppression is necessary for breakthrough creativity. The great artists who made the early Warner Bros. cartoons were banished to the far ends of the studio complex in a cramped, run down trailer that served as their studio. In response to the studio’s disrespect, they created a menagerie of funny, manic, antiauthoritarian characters that redefined the art of animated shorts. Even Shakespeare wrote many of his brilliant lines within the constrictions of poetic limitations. When it comes to DRTV, no matter how entertaining and intriguing the ideas creative folk come up with, they must be dragged back down to the strategic spine that is the creative brief. Will this

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Electronic Retailer - August 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Electronic Retailer - August 2011

Calendar of Events
Your Association, Your Bottom Line
Industry Reports
FTC Forum
eMarketer Research Facebook Marketing:
IMS Retail Rankings The Top 25 Shows and Spots
Jordan Whitney’s Top Categories
Lockard & Wechsler’s Clearance & Price Index
Ask the Expert
Cover Story TVGoods Buys AsSeenOnTV.com
Come Face2Face at D2C
The Wired World of U.S. Hispanics
Real Truth in Advertising
Marketing for TV is Just the Beginning
Teleservices
Legal
Creative
Member Spotlight
Advertiser Spotlight
Bulletin Board
Advertiser Index
Classifieds
Rick Petry
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - Cover1
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - cover2
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - 3
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - 4
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - 5
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - 6
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - Calendar of Events
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - Your Association, Your Bottom Line
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - 9
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - Industry Reports
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - 11
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - 12
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - 13
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - FTC Forum
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - eMarketer Research Facebook Marketing:
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - 16
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - 17
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - IMS Retail Rankings The Top 25 Shows and Spots
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - 19
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - Jordan Whitney’s Top Categories
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - 21
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - Lockard & Wechsler’s Clearance & Price Index
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - 23
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - 24
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - Ask the Expert
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - Cover Story TVGoods Buys AsSeenOnTV.com
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - 27
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - 28
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - 29
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - 30
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - Come Face2Face at D2C
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - 32
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - 33
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - The Wired World of U.S. Hispanics
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - 35
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - 36
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - 37
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - Real Truth in Advertising
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - 39
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - Marketing for TV is Just the Beginning
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - 41
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - 42
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - 43
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - Teleservices
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - Legal
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - 46
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - 47
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - Creative
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - 49
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - 50
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - Member Spotlight
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - 52
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - Advertiser Spotlight
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - 54
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - Advertiser Index
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - Classifieds
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - 57
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - Rick Petry
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - cover3
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - cover4
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - Outsert01
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - Outsert02
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - Outsert03
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - Outsert04
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - Outsert05
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - Outsert06
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - Outsert07
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - Outsert08
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - Outsert09
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - Outsert10
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - Outsert11
Electronic Retailer - August 2011 - Outsert12
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