The Metaphor is the most commonly used - and abused - tool in marketing communications, especially in western cultures. It is a great way to attach meaning to a newly-launched product or brand. But some approaches are more effective than others.
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 eight tools are:
5. Extreme Consequence
6. Absurd Alternative
8. Extreme Effort
The Metaphor Tool takes a well-recognized and accepted cultural symbol and manipulates it to connect to the product, brand, or message. The trick is to do it in a non-obvious, clever way. The process is called fusion, and there are three versions of it: Metaphor fused to Product/Brand, Metaphor fused to Message, and Metaphor fused to both the Product/Brand and Message. Here is an example: