Stephen Colbert is the newest “sponsor” of Wheat Thins. In order for Stephen to be comfortable speaking in the “brand voice” for Wheat Thins, he was provided with an internal memo, most likely a creative brief from Nabisco marketing or related agency, outlining what the brand stands for (Wheat Thins are the “perfect snacking sidekick”) and doesn’t stand for (don’t depict overcomsumption, major brand don’t.)
Who knows if this was really from Nabisco or not, but when read out loud in the light of day/the internet, this was painful to hear. It’s silly in its earnestness and self-importance. I mean, really. Does the statement “Wheat Thins are not a crusader or rebel looking to change an individual’s path (or the world)” have anything to do with the brand?
But it hits a bit close to home for us marketers. If we’re honest, can’t we all admit we’ve written briefs like this? When you craft a statement like “Wheat Thins keep you on the path to, and proud of, doing what you love to do, no matter what that is” doesn’t it make you feel a bit smart. Smug, even? You are proud of your product, because, come on, it is the path to enlightenment!
Among the mandatories, brand do’s and don’ts, and key takeaways, lies a need for a bit of humility. When you sit down to write your next brief, think about this: If a TV personality reads your brief on the air, you would really be helping to “create a purposeful experience relavant to the brand” or would you be the guy with your head in your hands while a studio audience laughs at you?