Category Archives: advertising

All Hail the Beauty of the Brief


Oh creative brief, defender of the deadline, protector of the project, and crusader of clarity-you make projects seem seamless and goals getable.

A creative brief is a working document that outlines a specific marketing problem while inspiring solutions. It keeps creative teams focused and ensures that deliverables have a consistent voice and brand image.

Let’s say you’re launching a digital ad campaign to promote a new product. You would craft a creative brief to define your objectives, the target audience, the message you want to convey to that audience, the call to action, and the overall look and feel of the campaign.

So let’s look at the specific elements of the creative brief?

Contact Information: The brief should list the project name, key stakeholders and contact information for each team member.

Background: Why do you need this piece? What’s your goal? What do you hope it will achieve? How will it support your marketing objectives?

Audience: To whom are you speaking? Get specific here. List demographics and psychographics.

Objective: What do you want this piece to achieve? What is your call to action/CTA?

Messaging: What do you want to communicate to your audience? What key words and phrases will resonate with them?

Tone: What’s the personality of the piece? Is it fun and whimsical or serious and somber? Use adjectives to describe the personality of the piece.

Must Haves: What elements does the piece need to include? Think logos, taglines, photos, URL, contact info, etc.

Timeline: What are the deadlines for the project?

Format: What format do you need it in and what are the specifications?

So what say you? What’s in your brief? I’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas and suggestions.

Peace, love and powerful press.

PR Guy



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Filed under advertising, Branding, How to Write a Creative Brief, Marketing

Moving Targets-A Review of Teriffic & Terrible Transit Ads



I’m not huge fan of taking the subway. It’s an incubator for germs, there’s a lack of personal space, and it always seems to be breaking down when I’m running late.

Being a lifelong marketing geek, I really enjoy checking out the interior card ads and judging which ones nail it…and which ones miss the mark. It helps pass the time and makes for excellent blog fodder.

I judge the effectiveness of an ad on a few simple criteria. Did it capture my attention? Is the messaging clear and simple? Is the design bold and compelling? Do I know where to focus my eyes? And is the copy readable?

I like to think of a transit car ad as a walking billboard. Prospects are breezing by, or thinking about their 10 o’clock meeting with their boss, what to make for dinner, or how to get away from the guy sitting next to them with the unusual body odor. So simplicity rules here.

A good transit ad should include the following three elements:

  • A compelling image / photo
  • A unique, benefit laden, emotionally charged headline
  • Your name / logo / contact info

I was taking the train the other day and found some perfect examples of ads that work as well as ads that need to be improved. Forgive my photography, I was taking these on a moving train with bad lighting.



I love this ad. The photo and font immediately grab my attention. Both communicate the energy and enthusiasm of the event. And without ever having attended Honk, I want to go. The dates and URL are clearly listed and easy to find.

Boston Book Festival

Boston Book Festival

The first thing I noticed about this ad is that I don’t know where to focus my attention. Too many competing messages. And some of the copy is just too small to read.

Suffolk University

Suffolk University

This ad is at the head of the class. The copy summons my attention. It’s bold, daring, and speaks directly to commuters. The call to action is clear and concise. The colors and font compliment each other nicely.

Horizons for Homeless Children


The photo certainly captures my attention, but there’s way too much copy. Most people won’t take the time to read the fine print. It’s way too much work.

The Freedom Trail

Freedom Trail

I love everything about this ad. Bright colors and contemporary design make this Boston staple seem new and exciting. The photo tells the story. I’m intrigued to learn more.

What say you? What are your favorite transit ads? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

Peace, love and powerful press!

PR Guy

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Filed under advertising, Branding, Honk, Marketing, Nonprofit Marketing, outdoor ads, Public Relations, transit ads