Even skeptics believe everything they’re told.  We all do.
At least, we believe it long enough to understand the message.  We wired that way.  There is no neutral parking wherein we can “hold” an idea while we evaluate it.
Humans have to believe in order to understand, and they have to understand before they can reject*.  Hence the efficacy of push-polling in swaying – rather than just measuring – voter opinions.
So what does this have to do with writing?
Read the following and see:
*** Insert of Letter ***
Clearly, nobody actually believes all the things said in this letter.  Nor are they expected to, as the claims are all made tongue in cheek.
But the very positive mental images were all vividly played out anyway, weren’t they?  We all accepted the propositions as true for whatever fraction of a second it took to understand them.
And doesn’t the afterglow of those images still lighten your smile?
Now think of this: those cheery images have now attached themselves the company’s name within your mind.  Recall the name, and you’ll likely recall these same images and feelings.  And however irrational it might be, you’re now more likely to assume this company has higher quality and customer service standards because of this letter.
Just something to keep in mind.
* Now, simple exposure to human nature tells you that “understand” is a relative term, as lots of people reject ideas and messages out of ignorance.  Yet it’s not total ignorance!  Those people reject ideas they mis-understand

Even skeptics believe everything they’re told. We all do, actually.

At least, we believe it long enough to understand the message.  Apparently, we’re wired that way.

Since our brains have no neutral parking wherein we can “hold” an idea pending evaluation, we’re forced to believe first and then evaluate.  Or so says recent research by the eminent Harvard psychologist, Daniel Gilbert.

All of which is hardly news to (but certainly explains the actions of) politicians using push-polling to sway voter opinions.

So what does this have to do with writing?

Check out how CD Baby puts this psychological dynamic to good use:

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Clearly, nobody actually believes the things said in this letter, nor are they expected to, as the claims are all made tongue in cheek.

But the very positive mental images were all vividly played out in your mind anyway, weren’t they?  We all accepted the propositions as true for whatever fraction of a second it took to understand and imagine them.

And doesn’t the afterglow of those images still lighten your smile?

Now think of this: those cheery images have now attached themselves to the name “CD Baby” within your mind. Recall the name, and you’ll likely recall these same images and feelings.  And however irrational it might be, you’re now more likely to assume this company has higher quality and customer service standards because of this letter.

While most of us like to scoff at “cheesy” Jolly Green Giant-type commercials, when properly executed, the silly, personality-driven aspects of those commercials can still work their magic, even among the cynical.

Just something to keep in mind 😉

P.S. Full props to Kem Meyer, from whom I stole the CD Baby Letter/Image, and a hat tip to my friend Manley Miller for bringing her blog post to my attention.