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Creative development

Developing the communications strategy, defining its role in addressing the brand's problem, transcribing it into a brief for the creative team, then testing a number of options – these are pivotal stages in the campaign development process. It is generally the role of the planning or strategy team to develop a brief for the creative department. Distilling the communications strategy into the brief is arguably an art in itself and demands intellectual skill and creative flair.

Key Reading

Important papers from across the Warc database

This Best Practice paper offers a comprehensive guide to briefing creative teams. The creative agency briefing period, it argues, is the pivotal stage when an agency starts to add value. Distilling the communications strategy into a brief is an art, it adds: the brief should always be concise, clear, consistent and creative.
A guide to a process than can help avoid making costly mistakes in giving feedback on creative ideas.
Best Practice paper on how agencies can encourage clients to engage in the creative process earlier.
Binet and Carter discuss why things don't have to be new to be creative.
How to improve copywriting – above all, by enjoying it.

Case Study

This case study describes how Latin American boyband CNCO used geo-location technology for a mobile campaign in Latin America, Spain and the US, to build excitement and social media buzz around the release of its debut album.

Case Study

This case study reveals how Sure, the deodorant brand, activated a new communications strategy at music festivals in the UK to target young audiences.

Case Study

This case study describes a campaign by the National Institute of Blood Transfusion in Romania which successfully increased blood donations among young people and first-time donors by partnering with a music festival.

Case Study

This case study describes how SmartLife, a leading NGO for Dubai's blue-collared labourers, launched free English classes by using visual learning techniques.

Case Study

This case study looks at how Lidl, the discount supermarket, differentiated itself from its main rival, Aldi, in Belgium by reinforcing its quality image and targeting a younger audience.

Case Study

This case study describes how Coca-Cola, a carbonated beverage company and brand, sold to Canadian teenagers by tapping into behaviour they were already doing.
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Research Paper

Advertisements that elicit negative emotions (e.g., guilt) have been found effective in prompting socially desirable behaviors, such as making monetary donations to charity.

Research Paper

Agency creativity is a product of team efforts whereby members interact to share knowledge, skills, and expertise to produce creative campaigns.


This article looks at the development and execution of UK supermarket Sainsbury's 3 minute stop-motion spot; the brand's previous efforts have been lauded for both creativity and effectiveness.


In this article, Malcolm White proposes that the industry adopts a new way of judging creative development to avoid the danger of merely conducting a taste test.


This article considers the placement and choice of soundtracks in Christmas advertising, asking whether it is better to match the trends of the day, or the needs and strengths of the brand.


This Warc Webinar examines the role of creativity in driving advertising success and effectiveness, with examples from John Lewis, Ford and O2.
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  1. Article

    In this webinar, Faris Yakob, Founding Partner of Genius Steals, explains how to create better and more creative briefs.

  2. Article

    This article explores how music streaming data can be used to segment millennial audiences where age-based clustering falls short.

  3. Article

    This event report outlines the division between planners and creatives at ad agencies, and offers tips on how these very different teams can be brought together.

  4. Article

    This article, taken from the Warc Toolkit 2016 report, looks at the fusion of data and creativity.

  5. Article

    This article looks at the nuts and bolts of bringing a marketing strategy to life - how to write a creative brief, and how to brief it successfully.

  6. Article

    This article explores the relationship between big data and creative thinking, and argues that when used well data can add to the creative process, but used badly it stifles creativity.

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