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.