IPA and ISBA prepare briefing advice

The main advertising trade bodies are drawing up guidelines in an effort to end the often chaotic and haphazard way in which agencies are briefed by their clients.

The move follows research that found 40 per cent of clients have had no formal training on how to brief properly and that 70 per cent learn how to do it through trial and error.

In many cases, nothing is written down. And, if it is, the agency rather than the client often does the drafting.

Now the IPA and ISBA plan to introduce a set of ground rules amid mounting concern that the lack of proper briefing is hindering the development of good creative work and preventing the successful introduction of payment by results. They estimate that up to £14 billion worth of the UK industry's output is produced without an adequate brief.

As a result, there is no record of the agreed objectives for a campaign and no comeback if one side tries to "move the goalposts", according to ISBA and the IPA.

They say the ideal brief should be both written and verbal.

Chris Herd, the Bates UK managing director, who has been researching the problem on behalf of the IPA, said: "The written part of the brief should set the objectives while the verbal part should stimulate the debate on how those objectives are achieved."

Debbie Morrison, ISBA's membership director, said: "We believe the marketplace is crying out for guidance."