Creativity can flow from the tightest of client briefs
Let me start by saying that every rule must have one or two exceptions but, creatively speaking, operating within a set of strict parameters can lead to genuinely innovative thinking.
The If Agency's Joe Dawson
In our field there's obviously a certain amount of stress involved for creatives in delivering against briefs which contain their own set of rules. And occasionally, as we all do when trying to solve a problem, they might object to the challenges or constraints of a brief. This is normal and completely understandable.
As an account handler you do everything you can to create scope in a creative brief but a lot of the time you feel like you're asking for the impossible. Financial services, in particular, are a minefield for things you can't say without tempting legal reprisals. With that said, time and time again it's surprising how much work comes back answering the brief perfectly and looking ace. I think there must be something in the barriers that helps to create really good work.
Creatives argue that they need freedom to let their minds run wild and for their true genius to be shared. That's all well and good - but if you wouldn't mind doing that in your own time and spend the next two hours working on this job for me that'd be great. There are many places for limitless unfiltered creativity; art galleries, for example, or in our industry the numerous awards that are designed to challenge and push boundaries. However, the real creativity comes from facing details in the brief head on, acknowledging what the client wants and still coming up with something you're actually proud of.
Think of it like Grand Theft Auto, while it's fun to walk around punching people in the street there must come a point where you look at yourself and think 'what am I doing?' The missions are what make the game rewarding, structured challenges that you need to overcome. Otherwise you're just walking around making a nuisance of yourself.
As restrictive as the brief may first appear, there's always the opportunity to create great work and even something completely unexpected. Having said all that, there are always cases when certain rules in the brief need to be questioned in order to improve the end product, and that's when the account handler earns his or her money by questioning it or really selling the work in!
Joe Dawson is an account manager with The If Agency.