I have just been reading the Simpleology / Mark Joyner blog and I learnt that what are often quoted as the "twelve most persuasive words" based on research by one of the leading US universities was a made up hoax.
Here are the words:
Bennet Cerf who came up with the words 40 years ago, allegedly based on the work of an unnamed advertising agency.
You can get the full story over at the Language Log
I have mixed feelings in this revelation.
Did the words carry so much weight and have stood the test of time because of the claim it cam from an eminent university or because the words have been proven work by thousands of copywriting who take these words and write compelling copy.
As I made clear in "You Don't Have To Live Your Marketing, It Just Has To Work", it is the results that matter once you are meeting your legal, moral and ethical obligations.
So next time you see a phrase like:
"You can discover an easy and proven way to save money and guarantee your future health and happiness."
you can give yourself a little smile and wonder if the copywriter really knows where the words came from.
Did You Notice The Missing Magic Word?
"Free" isn't on the list although it seems that on some derivations of the list, safety is removed and replaced by free.
There's no "Sex" either. I guess that while it grabs the attention like few others, it doesn't persuade people to buy - not most things anyway.
Disclosure - I am an affiliate for Simpleology and if you click through from my links and join and then buy something, I earn a commission for the introduction.