Thursday, March 27, 2008


Let's take it as a case study for viral marketing.
PROBLEM. Suppose, you have got to promote a movie. Then you need to praise it in all the possible ways, don't you? You need to publish ads etc. OK, this is a conventional way. Still you are thinking about something more creative. You are thinking about something 'viral'. You are thinking about people saying 'Wow!'.

CONTRADICTION. Then you get a sudden / unusual idea: instead of praising the movie - let us do it 'the other way round'. Instead of tedious complimenting - let us criticize it.
Is this already the final solution? Sure, it is not. You may not just say 'the movie is bad'. Bad is just bad - so why are you talking about this movie?
Formulating a contradiction means we are on the right way to solution.

SOLUTION. So we have got the contradiction 'criticizing vs praising'. How can we solve it? Can we praise and criticize at the same time?
The Theory tells: one of the ways to solve this contradiction is to divide the object (= the movie) to the parts. Now one of the parts may be criticized without damaging the whole movie.

REAL CASE. These very days you might see billboards around the city of Dallas – the ones that say: "My mom always hated you, Sarah Marshall" or "You do look fat in those jeans, Sarah Marshall."
Who is Sarah Marshall, and why is someone trying to publicly humiliate her?
If you wondered "Who is spending all this money to hurt Sarah Marshall?," then you fell for a viral marketing campaign. 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall' is the comedy's name. It centers on Peter who is dumped by his girlfriend Sarah Marshall. The movie will play at the Dallas International Film Festival on April, but we see the campaign already now.
So, the initial contradiction has been solved: humiliating one of the characters, still complimenting the whole movie.

The above case study shows the viral marketing example built, first, on the principle of 'the other way round', second, on the principle of dividing the object to the parts.


  1. Jacob,
    You are talking about some Theory telling us: one of the ways to solve this contradiction is to divide the object to the parts.
    So which 'Theory' are you talking about?

  2. Edith,
    I am talking about the Theory for solving problems with contradictions. It is known as an acronym 'TRIZ'. See or
    Although TRIZ has been talking first of all about problems in the scope of technology, still its principles (as solving contradictions) are useful in the much broader scope.