Good advertising sells itself and other myths.
Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door. Except, it doesn’t.
How many times have you heard the old saw that good work sells itself? Actually what sells itself is work that looks tried and tested – simply put, something that has been done a hundred times before.
Anything original is usually a tough sell. The legendary Apple 1984 commercial almost never ran, because some Apple board members hated it. They called it the ‘worst commercial ever’. It was released only because of Steve Jobs. If you think Jobs bought good ads, consider this. He was initially reluctant to run the Think Different campaign. He thought he’d be skewered by the press, and would be seen as an egotist for ‘putting the Apple logo up there with all these geniuses’. And he called the first draft of the Think Different commercial ‘advertising agency shit’.
‘Labour isn’t working’ is an iconic poster created by Saatchi & Saatchi for the Conservative Party in the run up to the 1979 general election in UK. The poster was not even selected by the agency to be presented to the client. The writer who did it sneaked it in unnoticed along with the rest of the work, just before the presentation.
Point is, creating a great ad is only part of the job – and perhaps not even the hardest part. It’s equally or perhaps even more important to sell it. I have a feeling that if more people did this well, there would be fewer scam ads.
George Lois, legendary ad guy, once threatened to jump out of the window if the client didn’t buy his ad. The client not only ran the ad, but also offered to hire him.
You may not have to go that far. But do your homework before you present the work. Be prepared to answer the client’s questions – from the silly to the profound. And package the work well. If all else fails, beg, cajole and threaten.
Though, after all the trouble, some smart alec in the agency will still say it’s the work that sold itself.