Keep it Brief

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough”

Albert Einstein


The above quote by Einstein is a favourite


piece of advice

from one complicated human

to another

(albeit not remotely anywhere near as stratospherically intelligent as he)

which I have loved

since I first read it

and understood it

thanks to its brevity

even though it

touches upon

a complex experience

most of us

have to go through

before what it means

is crystal clear


aspironal-better-than-whiskey-for-colds-and-flu-vintage-advert-1920via Vintage Ad Browser

(Better than Whiskey! – why is that such an appealing slogan?)


In business

a brief


what a client

gives to someone they have hired

to make something complicated


the brief itself may be anything but brief

the process the client went through

perhaps in creating a product they want to market

was anything but brief

the process of marketing that product

is anything but brief

the rules of advertising are anything but brief


the end result has to be brief

if you are selling a product

to people whose lives are busy

filled with anything but the brief

and they only have a brief opening

to notice your complicated condensed into brief

sales pitch

don’t waste that split second


wate-on-advert-1966via Brand New Retro

(if you think this is a joke do an image search for Wate-On, there are plenty more adverts like this one)


we are all brief givers

when we use

an online search engine

hoping it’ll get us exactly what we need

in the first page of results

in the first result of the first page of results

while we may type in

what Xmas gift to give person who has everything and doesn’t want socks

what we’re actually saying is


solve this problem for me

and do it quickly

and satisfactorily


cocaine-toothache-drops-vintage-advert-1885via the International Business Times

(an article reviewing and promoting a book, Beyond Belief, featuring vintage adverts)


How do you describe a scent in one word

which will convey all the nuances of perfume to noses everywhere

How do you conjure images of a sound

without being able to use sound

How do you make someone taste

the food and drink in a photograph

How do you make someone want something

which they didn’t know they needed it until…

you briefly told them they did


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