Ode to End of Frankensteining

Frankensteining. The bane of every creative’s existence.

If there is a single subject that has scurried under the radar in the agency business, it’s not been in coming up with creative ideas, but on the selling of them.

For years the standard taught ~ what many a creative holds as the Holy Grail: “A good idea sells itself”.

Possibly rooted in the “build it and they will come” mentality of the moguls of the 50’s era of Vegas, but unfortunately nothing could be further from the truth.

Accurately stated it would say: “A good idea sells itself to the intended audience when they are in the right environment, engaged in the right channel, with the right mindset”.

However, is this true when we are presenting ideas to a client in a conference room or on the phone discussing the work’s merits with the Brand Manager, Joe, who has never used, let alone seen a tampon?

Stoically forging ahead, HR has had their creatives trained on presentation skills and yet still they consistently fail to convince clients to run with their ideas as originally intended and presented.

They have been taught techniques of how to act out the storyboards, weave poetic their radio copy, and build website architectures on the laptop and yet still fail to convince the client to leave well enough alone.


Surprisingly the answer is almost too simple.

Focus has been squarely placed on what the creative message was saying or visual was showing, not on why it was doing it brilliantly.

In other words, the execution and not the idea behind it have been the focus.

The Secret of Rationality when selling Subjectivity

We have all heard the client say this before: “I’ll know it when I see it”.

Therein lies your first critical clue and what has proved to be a unique and proprietary difference to Louws’ Selling Creative© training.

What is actually being said is: “When I see what I want to see, which I have not yet been able to formulate, then I will buy it”.

Therefore, you get them to see it, not from your or the intended customer’s point of view but first, from their own.

Think why the most common tool in selling a car is a test drive.

Enabling ownership through personal experience.

The following two insights alone will make a huge dent in client’s Frankensteining. Notice, too, the insights are sequential.

Insight #1 ~ “If the idea is potentially foreign to a client’s point of view, you show them that it truly isn’t”.


Ok, here’s a clue. Tying the rational reason for why the creative idea is brilliant to what the client is already sold on, sells the subjectivity of the idea behind the work.

Simply put – it’s the strategy of Relatability.


Creative Director trying to get the CMO of Bose to avoid adding all the radio’s features by the way of bubbles (client’s preference) all over the print ad.

Instead of explaining how bad it would look, he instead took sticky notes and placed it all over a real Bose radio – forcing the client to face the rational real life vs. subjective look.

In addition he showed the client 5 competitive low end ads (again very rational) and how they customarily did this kind of advertising in coupon and in-store flyers.

Finally he showed ads from commensurate high end ads for both Apple and Tiffany (rational case for similar high end brand images) and how they used a clean almost Mies Van Der Rohe look about them.


The key: Employ techniques that adroitly convince a client that the idea, now part of their own mental framework and personally relevant, is a good one.

Insight #2 ~ “Then you put the client into the shoes of their customer, allowing them to experience the message, as would their customer”.

Easier said than done.

Some of the simpler techniques are to introduce the client’s customer in the form of pictures, videos, montages and various others, showing the insight into which the idea behind the creative is tapping.


Carmichael Lynch presenting to Harley Davidson with 2 x 3 boards representing images of a Hells Angel looking biker, heavily tattooed woman, bald construction worker wearing his tool belt and bandana.

Voice over:These are the bad boys. And these are the boys who want to be the bad boys.”

At which point they turned around each board to show that in each of their “other lives” these people were actually a Doctor, Lawyer and Insurance Salesman – all current Harley owners.

Next Steps:

1)    Make the idea behind the creative fit the client’s own reality.

2)    Bring in the customer, showing them demonstrating the insight into which the idea behind the creative is tapping.

3)    When all else fails, remember the test drive. Put the client into the shoes of the end buyer.

Next Installment:

How you sell the idea vs. execution.

Toni Louw
Louws – CEO & Founder

About the author:

Over the past 34 years, Toni Louw has trained, coached and consulted with over 480 Brand advertising, promotion, direct marketing, digital, interactive, social, media and public relations agencies worldwide. This has also included over 50 of the top 150 brands internationally.

Toni has recently re-constructed and updated, for 21st Century business application, 18 different business critical subjects that has made Louws one of the most ubiquitous leader of innovative performance based training, coaching and consulting services worldwide.

Click on the link provided: Selling Creative© for more information on Training, Coaching and Consulting.


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