Urban legend has it that Ernest Shackleton placed an advertisement in the London Times that garnered 5,000 applications.
That’s not the weird part.
What is strange is that anyone – much less 5,000 people – would answer this December 29, 1913 ad which read:
“MEN WANTED for hazardous journey, small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful, honour and recognition in case of success.”
There’s something seductive about the unvarnished truth. It pulls you in and makes you a co-conspirator of the positive side, or the silver lining.
Let’s say you just saw a movie, and I say to you, “Wasn’t that the greatest movie you ever saw in your entire life? Aren’t you just over the moon thrilled that you saw it?”
It’s doubtful you will agree. In fact, you’ll probably tell me everything you found wrong with the movie, even if you did like it.
But if instead I say, “Wasn’t that movie horrible? Wasn’t it just the worst movie ever?”
Now you’re likely to tell me what you LIKED about it.
It’s human nature.
When you read an ad that says, “This is the greatest, easiest, simplest and safest make money online program ever in the history of the internet,” what’s your reaction?
I can almost guarantee you’re going doubt every word of it and immediately begin figuring out why it won’t work.
But if instead I say, “This is a proven program that works time and time again, but only if you follow the steps, only if you’re prepared to do the work and put in the time, and only if you’re committed to learning as you go and sticking with it despite setbacks.”
What would you think about that? I’m not blowing smoke up your skirt with this second ad, and in fact I’m telling you this takes WORK and TIME and might not even be all that easy or fast.
Which of the two are you more inclined to believe, and why?
And do you think your customers are any different than you?
Forget the hype and go with honesty.
Just try it. Test it out.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe your market is the one market that thrives on hype. (It’s possible.)
Or maybe your customers are so sick of false promises, they will follow anyone who does the opposite and simply tells them the truth. (It’s more likely.)
You won’t know for sure until you test it out, but I think you already know the answer.
One last thought to mull over: A cough syrup called W.K. Buckley brags that, “Canadians have hated it for 100 years.”
In fact, their slogan is, “Buckley’s Mixture: It tastes awful. And it works.”
It’s a household name in Canada. It contains no sugar and no alcohol, ingredients used in other cough syrups to mask the lousy taste.
A quick search on Amazon finds this original formula with 670 reviews and a 4.5 star rating.
The first review states, “Tastes Like a Horror, Works Like a Wonder.” They give it 5 stars.
The second review advises that if you don’t like the taste, you should, “SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP!!!!!” Also 5 stars.
And the third review states, “Ever Drink Drain Cleaner? …after one taste, my body decided it would rather never cough again than to have to taste this again. SO, I GUESS IT WORKS!!!”
Imagine what their review rating would have been if they had said nothing about the bad taste, or worse yet, claimed it tasted good. By admitting up front that this stuff tastes horrible, they immediately overcame their biggest objection and cemented their claim that this stuff WORKS.
Before researching this article, I’d never heard of Buckley’s Cough Syrup, but I just ordered my first bottle, because I do believe it works.
Why? Because they also told me it tastes awful, and if they’re telling me the truth about that, then I figure they must be telling me the truth about how well it works.
Tell me what’s wrong with your product, and I might buy that, too.