A note before I begin: The following posts will be focused on trying to sell more copies of my book.

I don’t know how I’m going to do this yet. So to help, I thought it’d write myself a “Brief” (this is a hangover from the 18 years I spent working as a copywriter). You can’t do anything without a brief. Professionally, they’re often written by fiercely intelligent people with degrees in marketing who can earn vast amounts of money and drive company sports cars. They’d be horrified to learn that, as soon as the “creative team” (typically a copywriter and an art director, although this was changing as I left the business in 2007) have read the brief, it is cast aside and sometimes never referred to again. (Except for the “Proposition”, which is explored well beyond the bounds of plausibility.)

This is probably not a very good brief, but it will suffice. If you’re going to do your own marketing, just copy the headings and spend some time writing the necessary information underneath. “Suits” (the client-facing people who write briefs in agencies) – please feel free to criticise this brief in the comments section. Or tell people what is missing.

C R E A T I V E     B R I E F


People thinking about moving to France. Adults 18-60 & young families.


écovallée behind the seams Part One: “The yurt camp, the English mafia and the French resistance”, a 50pp pdf describing one young family’s journey from suburban Brighton to rural France.


Alex, Clare & their two young children left England to live in France and create a sustainable life, with a dream of building a smallholding for food, and running an eco-luxury family yurt camp for money. Part One tells the story from before they had the Big Green Idea, through the move to France and what happened during the first year of being there. It is a cautionary tale of hopes and dreams dashed against the wall of unfeeling French bureaucracy. In short, they were lied to, ripped off & left penniless in months. The only reason they survived was thanks to the help of the English community – the people Alex came to call “mafia”.




Dreaming of a new life in France? See what a nightmare it can be.


Part One contains real experiences of buying property and trying to start a new business in France. It also covers practical aspects, like registering a non-French car and joining the social security system. But France doesn’t operate in the same way as, say, England. Assumed rules of fairness, honesty and decency do not apply. Instead, even people you’d expect to trust can end up plunging a knife in your back, with a small smile on their face. Essential reading for anyone considering making the move – to France or to the self-sufficient lifestyle. A bargain at €1.






Link to the écovallée facebook shop.


I forgot to include the section “Mandatories”. (Oh the irony.) This is where logos etc. are listed. Much of it seems like common sense, but it’s essential to have on the brief. (Hence the name.) Real life example: In 1992, when I was working in Leicester, an artworker was bollocked by a suit for not including an address on a press ad for a housebuilder client. He picked up the “copy sheet” and threw it at the suit, saying: “It’s not on the f*cking copy sheet”. Needful to say, every copy sheet for the rest of my career included every image, logo and piece of punctuation that was intended for the ad.

Then, if someone tried to give me a hard time for something that was missing on an ad, I could say: “Well, it’s on the copy sheet.”