It’s like… Wordle for advertising nerds

Wordle is the little word game that could. It’s a simple, one-a-day, five-letter word guessing game that went viral, conquering social media as the latest pandemic obsession. Now Wordle’s destined to rubbing shoulders with the prestigious New York Times crossword puzzle, following its acquisition by that esteemed publication for over a million dollars, creating five-letter angst for fans worried it will eventually disappear behind a paywall.

There are, we hope, no such worries for fans of One Minute Briefs, a challenge issued daily to lovers of the advertising arts. While Wordle fans are figuring out where to put their vowels, OMBLES (as OMB participants are known) are scrambling to create an ad in under 60 seconds, post it on Twitter and await a retweet by OMBLE-in-Chief Nick Entwhistle. The goal? Making it onto the day’s shortlist of best entries. Depending on the brief, that may result in some kind of prize, or at a minimum the respect of the Omble community.

At its most basic, One Minute Briefs is like the kind of entry-level advertising school concepting classes that revolve around simple writing prompts for everyday objects. No complicated briefs, no research, no consumer insights. Just “advertise #LADDERS” and off you go. 

Can you slap a Nike logo on it, write “just climb it” and call it a day? Well, there’s no creative director to tell you not to. Ideas that are bad puns, too obvious or lacking in anything resembling a product benefit are all fair game in OMB land. And that’s OK. You won’t learn the nuances of agency writing with OMB, but you’ll get plenty of reps in the quick-thinking gymnasium.

Brief-setter Nick advises the curious to take the brief literally, telling Working Magazine readers, “do it in one minute. Then do another and another. You start to train your mind to think simply and effectively. Post your ideas even if you don’t think they are amazing. It’s about removing the fear of having an idea. The community will support you every step of the way. The more you do, the more you will improve.”

The more you improve, the more chances you have of winning prizes to go along with the social media likes. Because for every “advertise #STAPLERS” challenge, there are actual brand briefs to take a swing at, with OMB attracting partnerships from brief-setters like KFC, Pringles, and Nestlé. OMBLES have even seen entries go viral, including a breakout entry advising Guinness drinkers to stay home during the pandemic, sporting the kind of visual simplicity that dominates advertising award annuals.

While the OMB community has international reach, its roots are British, so expect to see a lot of British brands in the mix. There’s also an emphasis on creating ads for cause-based campaigns, giving OMBLES a chance to pitch ideas for clients like the World Wildlife Fund. 

A quick glance at the OMB Twitter feed would suggest that people are spending more than a minute on some of the entries, whether lured by prizes or just the desire to throw some polish on a favorite idea. Even so, the community respects a quick marker pen sketch, and the simplicity of the best ideas often requires little else. For anyone intimidated by well-executed designs, it’s often nothing that can’t be achieved on a mobile device via an app like Canva, or my personal fave, Adobe’s CC Express.

Whether you’re a B2B copywriter looking to play with non-B2B briefs, a designer wanting to sharpen your writing skills, or a wannabe ad student looking to start a portfolio, One Minute Briefs is a daily shot of inspiration. Like that million-dollar word game, it’s a puzzle to be solved. And unlike my hypothetical new challenger, the One Hour Blog Post, it’s a great way to remain creatively sharp by keeping it brief.