Brain Balm: It’s Opposite Day

Massage your Marketing Message: I’m thinking about brainstorming for my latest challenge, and I thought of the recent passing of over-the-top entertainer Rip Taylor, which made me think of more ever-so-slightly more subtle, but still over-the-top in his own way entertainer Chuck Barris.

Chuck Barris created and hosted The Gong Show, the performance-art showcase for amateur performers that ran in the 1970s (not the more recent version; sure, the original was contrived, but that was part of Barris’s irony. The more recent version seems to be contrived for contrived’s sake). Barris also created the $1.98 Beauty Show, hosted by Rip Taylor. Both of these shows celebrated how the ordinary oddballs react when the camera is on.

Barris found great success by showing how thinking doesn’t always work, or leads to a dead end. So be like Barris and Taylor and consider doing what nobody expects. Do the opposite.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should try to fail. Barris didn’t bring untrained performers to the center stage in order to upset or bore his viewers. He did it to entertain but in a way that the audience wasn’t expecting.

Consider changing your perspective and seeking different intermediate outcomes in order to successfully reach your larger goals.

To do this, consider the current status quo, the way “everybody” does what you are trying to do.

What would be the opposite of that?

If everyone is aiming high, could you aim low?

If the others are stressing speed, could you slow down?

You’ve heard of stress dogs visiting patients? The Humane Society of Missouri has children read to anxious dogs to help prepare the animals to live in their new homes

A classic marketing example: Volkswagen rose to prominence in the USA in the 1960s by telling customers the opposite of what they expected to hear: identifying their own car as a “lemon,” and urging metal-lovers to think small instead of big.

Would it help you to go against the grain, swim against the tide, and do the opposite of what everyone else is expecting?

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