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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 20-Oct-13


Sunday 20-October-13

Weird old tips

We've all seen them: Simple web adverts with almost amateur line drawing and animation that go something like '1 odd tip/trick for/of a flat stomach/tiny belly'. They may also note that doctors or other authorities are annoyed by the revelation that can be yours if you just click on the advert.

Rules for such adverts include:

  • Grab attention: With jerky animation movement
  • Easy to understand: Few words and simple picture
  • Common problem: Like sagging abdomens
  • Intriguing words: 'Weird'
  • Create confidence: 'old'
  • Easy solution: 'tip'

An effect of extreme repetition of the advert is that even if you are not interested, you cannot help but notice it all over the place so you eventually click on it just to see what it is all about.

If you follow the link you typically will arrive at a video in which a person talks at you, continuing to promise the wonderful solution but not telling you anything of use for quite some time. What they are actually doing is getting you to invest time. This then translates into increased commitment and consequent increased probability of buying. If you have given them your time, then you can only justify this by giving them your money.

Some of the tricks they use for this include:

  • Promising that all will be revealed soon (the 'it's just around the next bend' principle).
  • Telling you to leave if you are seeking a miracle (so if you stay, you will accept what they say, even if it is relatively banal).
  • Affirming that you will be surprised, amazed, shocked and so on (promising exciting arousal).
  • Saying that the secret has been suppressed by big organisations (invoking the conspiracy theory effect)

And in the end, they of course will sell you just some herbal pills, exercise regime or other magic answer. But by then, if you have hung in there (and many people do just this), you are entranced, convinced, committed and ready to pay well over the odds for something that you could probably find in health food stores or local bookshops. At best the product will do no harm and maybe the placebo effect will 'make it work'. More likely is that all you will do is enrich the advertisers.

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