What Is an Advertising Brief?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 04 March 2020
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An advertising brief is a summary document providing information about the expectations associated with an advertising campaign so all parties know what is expected of them. The client understands what services are included and has information about the time frame, while the advertising firm knows how much money it will receive for the campaign and what it will need to do to fulfill the contract. This is also known as a creative brief, and becomes an important part of the client file, as a reference for both parties to use over the course of developing an ad campaign.

The advertising brief defines what kind of advertisement is being prepared, like a series of radio spots, print ads with smaller spot ads for various publications, and so forth. It describes the advertising objective and target audience to create clear goals, and may provide metrics for assessing the success of the campaign. These could include response surveys and other measures to see how the general public responds to the ad and whether it meets the stated objectives.

It can discuss the creative content, including limitations, of the campaign. The advertising brief should discuss the company's overall image and what kind of message the company wants to project with an ad. This can prevent situations like offensive advertisements made by advertising firms that do not understand their clients. The advertising brief may include specific limitations on the ad, like rejoinders against particular kinds of content.


The costs are also discussed in the advertising brief, to provide information about how much money is due and when. Advertising firms typically require a deposit or retainer to start work and may receive the remainder of the balance after delivery, or at various points in the course of the development plan, depending on the complexity of the ad. The advertising firm must deliver on its end of the contract, and could face late fees if it fails to complete an ad on time.

This document can also discuss where advertisements will be placed, and how the advertising company will secure advertising space in appropriate venues. It may discuss alternate venues in the event that placement is not possible with a first choice. The advertising brief can also contain contact information for key players on both sides so everyone knows who to contact over the course of developing the campaign, and how to address various concerns that may arise.


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Post 4

@StarJo – I agree with you. I design ads for a newspaper, and it is always helpful for me to have a copy of the original advertising brief.

The sales reps usually just write down the information to be included in the ad on a separate sheet and give it to me, but I have begun requesting copies of the briefs, as well. I tell them that it isn't because I don't trust them. It just allows me to make the most efficient use of everyone's time if I have all the information I can possibly get about what is expected of me.

Since I have begun using the advertising briefs to design ads, I have saved myself and the sales reps a lot of time. I don't have to go back and revise ads nearly as much, and they don't have to give them back to me with corrections.

Post 3

The information included in an advertising brief can be helpful to graphic designers, as well. Though the account manager receives all this information, she will eventually have to relay it to the designers so that they can craft an effective advertisement.

I design ads, and the account manager always gives me a copy of the section of the advertising brief related to ad content and target market. She sits down with me and explains it first, but I have the copy to refer back to if I forget anything. I like to read it anyway, because it includes words that came directly from the client, and the account manager might have missed something while relaying the message to me.

Post 2

I am a sales representative at a newspaper, and I often have clients that agree to run multiple ads in a certain time frame for a discounted cost. To ensure that they don't back out on this deal, all the information they agreed to is included in the advertising brief.

It is surprising how many of them don't understand that they can't just cancel this agreement. If they agree to run four ads over the next month for a certain rate, then they can't just decide that they don't want to run the last two and not pay for them.

The special rate was given because of the multiple runs. I always point customers back to this section of the advertising brief, which they signed, but they are never happy about having to keep their end of the deal.

Post 1

The advertising company I work for had experienced problems with customers not paying their bills in the past. So, they decided to make all new customers pay in advance.

This information was included in the advertising brief. The first time that our company does an ad for a new client, he agrees to pay the full amount up front. After that, he will have the option in the future to set up a payment plan and pay it off a little at a time.

This has helped us weed out the clients who intend to get free advertising from us by skipping out on their bills. If clients refuse to agree to this part of the advertising brief, then we cannot work with them.

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