What’s the Opposite of a Good Sales Idea?If your instinctive response to this question is “A bad idea,” then you’re missing out on opportunities to boost your sales.

Because we don’t live in a binary, good/bad, either/or world. We live in an incredibly rich, diverse, complex world filled with unlimited possibilities.

And while the opposite of up may be down and the opposite of slow may be fast, the opposite of a good idea is not necessarily a bad one. It could be an equally good idea.

Wonderful Pistachios recently launched a new ad campaign that takes advantage of this concept. Their new TV commercials feature characters who have had outrageously unfortunate lives. One character—“Jim”—is described: “His third wife ran off with his second wife. Tornadoes chase him. During a near death experience, someone else’s life flashed before his eyes.”

The concept is effectively the opposite of “The Most Interesting Man in the World” campaign that Dos Equis beer has been successfully using for a decade. In fact, Wonderful’s Chief Creative Officer, Darren Moran, who created the campaign, refers to the characters as the “anti-Most Interesting Man in the World.”

It’s a smart strategy, considering that Dos Equis sales have increased 34.8% since 2007 when the “Most Interesting Man” campaign began. (Even more impressive when you consider other mass market beer brands have been stagnant or declined in sales in that time.) The advertisements worked, which means Wonderful Pistachios’ ads are likely to work too.

And while Wonderful Pistachios may be the latest to employ the “opposite” approach, they certainly aren’t the first. Savvy companies have long utilized the technique of looking to the opposite of a good idea for another good idea. Here are just a few examples:

giant size — mini size

hot coffee — iced coffee

super store — boutique store

strong adhesive (Krazy Glue®) —weak adhesive (Post-it® Notes)

value menu burger — steakhouse burger

full service — self service

wet shampoo — dry shampoo

donuts — kale

So the questions for you are:

• What’s the opposite of what you’re doing now?
• What’s the opposite of what everyone else is doing ?
• What’s the opposite of your strength?
• What’s the opposite of something that already works?
• What’s the opposite of a current trend?

Flip everything upside down and inside out. Change the positive to negative and vice versa. Look at things the other way around in reverse.

Whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of assuming the opposite of a good idea is a bad idea. That’s just nuts.

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