Marketing Innovation – The Inversion Tool

by Drew Boyd

Marketing Innovation - The Inversion ToolCreating innovative TV commercials is more effective when using patterns embedded in other innovative commercials. Professor Jacob Goldenberg and his colleagues discovered that 89% of 200 award winning ads fall into a few simple, well-defined design structures. Their latest book, Cracking the Ad Code, defines eight of these structures and provides a step-by-step approach to use them.

Here are the eight tools:

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

The Inversion Tool conveys what would happen if you didn’t have the product…in an extreme way. It show the benefits “lost” by not using the product. While it produces memorable commercials, it should be used only when the brand and its benefits are understood by the viewer.

To use the Inversion Tool, start with the components of the brand promise. Take each one away one at a time and envision in what ways the consumer would be affected…in an extreme way…if it did not have this aspect of the promise.

Here are two examples of the Inversion Tool:


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Drew BoydDrew Boyd is Assistant Professor of Marketing and Innovation at the University of Cincinnati and Executive Director of the MS-Marketing program. Follow him at www.innovationinpractice.com and at https://twitter.com/drewboyd