What Does Using Complex Equivalence in Your Advertising Mean?

by Lou


If you’ve come to this blog via a search engine or a link, that’s great as this tells me that you need some help with your advertising, perhaps you want an edge over your competition. And this is a good thing because it means you really want to succeed. So now that you’re here, you can be more successful.

The above three sentences are examples of the Complex Equivalence language pattern. And it’s basically a way to say that one thing means, is, or equals the same as something else. It’s saying that if the first statement (or first part of a statement) is true then what follows is true too.

• “coming to this blog” = “you need help with your advertising”
• “coming to this blog” means “you need help with your advertising”

In ordinary copywriting, turning features of a product into benefits for the customer usually relies on some sort of complex equivalence:
I’m selling pencils. They are yellow. You ask, “So what? What does that mean?” “It means you can easily find them in a crowded drawer.” (yellow = easy to find)

What are you selling? What does it mean to your prospects? How are your prospects feeling? What does that mean? Does it mean they need your product?

To use the Complex Equivalence you can use these words:

• means
• must mean
• is the same as
• is one of the best ways to
• tells me

The same warning that goes with the last post on Cause & Effect goes with the Complex Equivalence: even though the Complex Equivalence language pattern is an Erickson language pattern, it also is a Meta-Model violation (“She didn’t smile at me. I know she doesn’t like me.” –> no smile = dislike). So be careful how you use it. Misuse of the Complex Equivalence could mean disaster for your business.


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