De-Briefing a Global Ad Campaign

RJAgency is in the middle of deploying a global print campaign for a major client. Having done several campaigns in the past it became a teachable moment for some of our new art directors and we wanted to share a brief overview of our best practices.

The necessity to maintain continuity and brand integrity is a critical factor. When you open a publication from Beijing, Berlin or Boston the consistency of aesthetic should be instantly recognized. Brand equity is diminished when ads look vastly different in different markets.

Global campaigns carry a lot of variables that have to be identified in the design brief and maintained during the creative process. If these variables are factored in at the beginning of the process a lot of down stream problems can be avoided.


The world is metric the United States is not. While that may seem simple enough NASA once crashed a half billion-dollar probe because the system of measurement was not identified. While almost all full-page ad space is rectangular there are significant proportional difference so your ad safe area must account for this difference.


Font is important but type is critical. Our ads were deployed in nine languages including Mandarin, Persian, and Arabic. These are distinctly different writing systems with specific rules and structure. It is critical that the deployment languages are identified in the design brief. It helps to have all headlines and copy approved and translations provided in the final brief. I also strongly recommend you get two separate translations sources to avoid missteps that can destroy ad credibility. But whether it is a logographic, syllabary, or alphabetic system the design can still be maintained and continuity of look retained across all languages.


Cultures have color considerations. A specific hue may have negative cultural connotations so do your homework. Avoid hues that can damage your ad or create unintended consequences.

KIT (Keep It Simple)

The cleaner and simpler the design the easier it is to adjust to the many factors required for other cultures and markets. It may be a challenge but if you include your client in the design brief development and make them a part of the creative team they will come to recognize the need to be concise. That doesnโ€™t mean you sacrifice great design or impact.

These are a few thoughts from a long list of lessons learned. The key for us is to develop a strong design brief and constant communication with the client. It takes a diverse team to meet the challenges of a well-executed global campaign but with clear direction and communication the results can be spectacular.


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