Through a sea of clutter in the world of advertising, how do you get your message across? One technique is to actively engage the viewer. The Activation Tool invites the prospect to make an immediate action during the encounter with the ad, either in a physical way or mental way. It is particularly useful when you want to: 1. make the target audience aware of a problem, or 2. make the target audience aware of the solution. Consider this print example from the advertising agency Saatchi:
When recipients of this postcard place a hand over the image, their body heat changes the image to reveal a helpless animal covered in oil.
The tool is one of eight patterns embedded in most innovative commercials. Jacob Goldenberg and his colleagues describe these simple, well-defined design structures in their book, “Cracking the Ad Code,” and provide a step-by-step approach to using them. The tools are:
5. Extreme Consequence
6. Absurd Alternative
8. Extreme Effort
Here is another example of the Activation Tool. Students in my Innovation Tools course at the University of CIncinnati learn how to use these tools. Students must develop an advertisement that conveys the value proposition of a product or service. This example conveys new features of a suitcase. Shown here is a mock-up of a print ad created by my students. It requires the viewer to pull the luggage handle only to reveal the text inside. Very clever.