A known fact in advertising is that the “negative” is _very very_ weak psychologically:

yes, I always find defining by the negative to be a hysterical thing. If someone says, “God does not exist”, one must first have a God, then have it not exist.

There is a trick used in Marketing very frequently. Look for it and you’ll spot it, I’ll give an example:

When cigarette manufacturers had to make signs saying that it’s against the law for adults to buy cigarettes for people under the age of 18, they were very clever about their campaign.

A known fact in advertising is that the “negative” is _very very_ weak psychologically: If I tell you, “DON’T THINK OF A PINK ELEPHANT DANCING ON TOP OF A WHITE GRAND PIANO FALLING INTO A VOLCANO”… you first have to first *think* about it… then push THAT out of your mind.

I knew this from Anthony Robbins tapes from the 1990s. [his brand of neurolinguistic programming but it’s basic advertsiing psychology.. which is often ahead of scientific psychology because it’s directly financially motivated].

What the cigarette manufacturers said were things along these lines:


They had “don’t” off to the left and “buy cigarettes” and “for minors” were indented perfectly lined up under head other, so that at first glance it reads:


and it’s only AFTERWARDS, about 400ms afterwards – almost a whole 1/2 of a second, that we notice the “don’t” and try to incorporate it.

There were many variations of that, but the basic idea is well known.

I love this kind of stuff and it’s easy to find examples everywhere. Maybe not all are engineered reverse psychology but considering the amount of money they pour into ad campaigns – whatever the business or campaign is [“they” means anybody trying to promote something – not limiting to tobbacco companies – or even to companies. Works equally well anywhere] – I imagine it’s used on a conscience level at least somewhat. Certainly by tobacco companies, who had some brilliant people working for them. I knew a couple of them when I worked for Schering-Plough – ex-Phillip Morris employees would jump over to Pharma because the corporate structures were similar and they’re really in similar businesses. [controlled products for public consumption].

Brilliant brilliant people.

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