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Twin Picks

Dare your audience to compare, and your product is sure to get a lot of attention. Here's how to pull off a great side-by-side comparison ad.

This story appears in the December 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Challenge us to tell two things apart that look alike, and we're hooked. For example, in a jewelry ad, ask which is the 3-carat diamond pendant and which is the cubic zirconia, and you'll suck us right into scrutinizing them. In an ad for contact lenses, ask which eyes are true-blue and which have colored contacts, and we won't budge until we find out. What better kind of reaction could a marketer dream of, especially in a world of short attention spans?

In the spirit of side-by-side comparisons, the creators of InstaFiber, a soluble, natural supplement, came up with this ad. It shows two glasses of water, one of which we're told in the headline has 9 grams of fiber. Although the ad does not identify which one it is, the point is made in the visual. Whichever it is, it's invisible, not the unappetizing orange goop one typically associates with a glass of drinkable fiber. And the side-by-side comparison rivets our attention. Look down a bit further in the ad, and the first two bullet points declare: "Dissolves invisibly . . . No taste or texture." That pretty much cinches it for people who grin and bear the typical fiber supplement drink. You almost needn't read the rest of the ad to decide to leap onto the company's website or call the toll-free number to order.

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