Why Frankenstein freaks out ad people

11 Jun

Boris Karloff as Frankenstein's monster

Frankensteining is the term we advertising folks use to describe the process of combining several ideas to create something new – usually at the client’s behest. The headline from this one, the body copy from that one; this typeface, that image.

We use the expression Frankensteining because most often the end result freaks us out and we want to run screaming from it. We know it will rampage through villages, strangling as it goes.

Ideas, like people, usually arrive fully formed. I know how precious this sounds, believe me. But in my experience, the process of Frankensteining an idea usually comes about from one of two imperatives, both of which work to fragment the idea into useable parts.

The first is a need to cram more good stuff into the idea. (Not a bad thing on first reading, but more stuff usually means less response in the hit and run world of mass media. Think about all those messy, busy posters that pop up just before you hit the airport in Victoria.)

The second reason is that combining ideas is often an appeasement strategy. OK, let’s move the arms and legs from Body 1 onto Body 2 and change the eye colour to red and the skin to green. Can we all live with that?

Compromising in this manner usually compromises the results too. And the response, which is what matters.

We would prefer clients challenge us to Werewolf. That’s where the entire idea is transformed into something altogether more powerful and terrifying. It will also rampage through villages, but we can better predict when and how (only on the full-moon!)

Freaking scary werewolf


One Response to “Why Frankenstein freaks out ad people”


  1. Hostile aliens attack advertising agencies « Dougbrowncreative's Blog - July 10, 2012

    […] we have our ideas Frankensteined, and then hot on those heavy heels we are set upon by hostile […]

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