Category Archives: advertising tools

Marketing Innovation: Chicken and the Absurd Alternative Tool

Jacob Goldenberg, in his book, "Cracking the Ad Code," describes eight creative patterns that are embedded in most innovative, award- winning commercials. The tools are:

  1. Unification
  2. Activation
  3. Metaphor
  4. Subtraction
  5. Extreme Consequence
  6. Absurd Alternative
  7. Inversion
  8. Extreme Effort

One of my favorites is the Absurd Alternative Tool. It works by offering exaggerated alternatives to using the product or service to highlight the benefit. But the key is to make the alternative truly absurd. Otherwise viewers can get confused.

Here's a great example fromTyson Chicken that is so simple and effective:

To use the Absurd Alternative Tool, first identify the key benefit you want to promote in the advertisement. If your product or brand is already well-understood in the marketplace, you should select a secondary benefit to emphasize instead to get more value for your advertising budget.

With the benefit in mind, think of an exaggerated or ridiculous way the customer could obtain the benefit instead of using your product. Then communicate the message by juxtaposing the two alternatives (yours and the absurd one) in the advertisement. Here's an another example in a print ad:

Volvo