09 November 2009

Brevity takes a lot of work

NEW YORK -- My agency's chief creative officer observes "This isn't the Information Age, it's the Too Much Information Age." We are all overwhelmed with too much information, and many of us exacerbate the problem by passing along too much of it ourselves.

In agency life, creative briefs are a prime example of TMI. Whether the assignment is a shelf talker, a direct mailer or a :30 TV spot, we often brief the creatives in a way that isn't... brief.

To be sure, there may be a lot of information required to write a brief. Our job as agency executives is to synthesize all that information into a powerful, insightful strategy that gets to the heart of the matter.

That's why I loved the poster you see above, which I saw today on a wall in Draftfcb New York. The longer you think, the shorter the presentation.

(This is akin to the oft-quoted statement, "I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead," attributed variously to Mark Twain, Blaise Pascal and others.)

Next time you have to write something, take the time to make it short. Brevity takes a lot of work.


  1. I have a friend who is the Principal at a large suburban high school who has a self-imposed rule that his emails maintain a seven-word maximum. Brevity does take a lot of work.

  2. Esteban,

    Well, I wish to remain anonymous. My name has been changed to protect my innocence.

    Ronald Wilson Reagan

  3. Anon 21:09 -- The same applies to comments.

  4. "Anon" 21:11 -- Whatever you say, Mr. Reagan.