Living Large, without the Large

Year in year out, the story is the same – in Jan you worry. The festive season spending however only gets more extravagant with every passing year. It’s something that many have made peace with. People willingly walk into January with little resources and live on a tight budget barely making it through the month.


Human beings are creatures of habit so living beyond one’s means trickles through every aspect of one’s life.

In advertising, you see it every day with the client brief Vs. client budget.


One of the major roles of advertising is to come up with a campaign for a particular product/brand. In some cases, (for different reasons) the objective can be met by one media ie newspapers (press), radio, television, digital, billboard/road star or poster/flier in the market. The communication is decided by the brief that the client shares. A client brief is a description of what the client wants to communicate with objectives to be achieved from said communication, the message to be communicated, the audience that the client would like to reach, insights into that audience, the client’s desired reaction from the selected audience and the media required to communicate the message.

As is the case in life, client briefs many times follow the “dream big” school of thought which usually has the advertising agency excited about the possibilities up until the moment after the big presentation when the client subtly reveals that their budget can’t bring to life all the ideas.

I don’t know whether the pain of the client budget not matching the client brief ever gets easier to deal with because most times this involves doing extra work to suit the now communicated resources. This would not be a problem if it happened once in a while or if it didn’t seem deliberate and thus malicious. Do brand managers have a signature evil laugh for every time a campaign/product plan has to be redone? A lot of work is involved when the client has less resources than communicated earlier ranging from prioritizing media that should be included all the way to redoing media plans which is too hectic if we are being honest.

The best way to get closer to finding the answers to the ‘are clients capable of matching their briefs to their budgets?’ question is by answering the even more complex question – ‘are human beings capable of living within their means?’

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