Metaphorical ShortcutOpen Access

Metaphorical Shortcut

New or complex ideas are easier understood through existing ones

If you’re launching something new that’s very different to what’s already out there, a story told through existing knowledge will help bridge the gap.

Chang & Yen (2013). Missing ingredients in metaphor advertising. Journal of Advertising

The study

Setup

408 people were shown one of three versions of a shampoo advert. The control just had the words “Say bye-bye to your dandruff” with an image of a couple. The two metaphor versions both had “You may erase anything unwanted” with either an eraser (implicit) or the bottle of shampoo (explicit) rubbing out words on a blackboard.

Results

Results showed greater purchase intentions for the product with either metaphorical ad.

Study graph

Key Takeaways

Leverage our existing understanding of the world for new ideas or concepts. Complicated ideas are best understood through existing ones. What analogies can you draw that your customers can relate to?

Takeaway image

Easy metaphors aren’t always best. Research has found that metaphors with a little complexity are fun and act as a mild problem to solve. Use with Curiosity and Humor.

Reserve this for known brands or products; for new or abstract technology, keep metaphor complexity low.

Takeaway image

Metaphors come in different flavors:

Juxtapositions: two images next to one another;

Fusions: mixing two concepts into a single one; or

Replacements: switching one thing for another. 

Just make sure that you harness real world understanding to help ground your new idea. 

Takeaway image
Takeaway image
Metaphorical Shortcut

Metaphorical Shortcut

New or complex ideas are easier understood through existing ones

If you’re launching something new that’s very different to what’s already out there, a story told through existing knowledge will help bridge the gap.

The study

Setup

408 people were shown one of three versions of a shampoo advert. The control just had the words “Say bye-bye to your dandruff” with an image of a couple. The two metaphor versions both had “You may erase anything unwanted” with either an eraser (implicit) or the bottle of shampoo (explicit) rubbing out words on a blackboard.

Results

Results showed greater purchase intentions for the product with either metaphorical ad.

study graph
np_read_2490885_000000

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