Brutal Simplicity

An amazing copywriter (AT) said it to me many years ago, just before we presented to a client — “it needs brutal simplicity”. It was the first I’d heard it — but it really resonated with me.

Just to be clear there is a M&C Saatchi book of the same name, and I haven’t yet read that, but I definitely intend to. I’m pretty sure there is a saying about judging books by their titles or something.

In his words I found a beautiful moment of clarity, I talk too much, I try to convince the client of the idea. The truth is, if the idea is good enough, the most effective pitch will be explaining the idea in its simplest form, and then sit back and let that brutal simplicity evolve in the clients mind.

The client nearly always wants the best version of whatever they set out to do, let them justify your idea in their own head. The key to this comes in 3 parts, the idea needs to be based in an insight from their business (or customer base), the idea needs to be great and you need brutal simplicity to explain the core concept. The rest can evolve from there.

If you cannot explain your idea with brutal simplicity then you have one of two problems, it is either too complex or you just don’t understand it yourself. Both of which can be death to a great execution.