The Misinformation Effect – the opposite of old hat!

| March 5, 2013

Recent research has revealed even more about the power of words. So much so that the way our police handle witness interviews might change profoundly as a result. It’s the Misinformation Effect, and it also illustrates how important it is to use the right language in marketing.  

About the Misinformation Effect

Say you’ve witnessed a car accident. The first policeman interviewing you uses words like ‘smash’ and ‘crash’ during questioning. The second focuses on words like ‘nudge’ and ‘hit’.

Apparently the words we use directly affect the way we remember things. You might have witnessed something fairly minor but the first policeman’s interview makes you remember it as much worse than it actually was. In the same way, the second policeman’s gentler terminology will tone down your recollection of the accident’s seriousness.

Yes, us humans really are that suggestible. It’s unnerving in some ways. But it bodes well for marketers.

The Misinformation Effect and marketing

Take Ebay. When you list an item as a beautiful vintage hat in perfect condition it’s much more appealing to potential bidders than simply listing it as an old hat.

Experienced copywriters turn the Misinformation Effect to their advantage for marketing purposes. We use language creatively to write accurate and honest but lyrical copy, which drives better response rates and sells more stuff.

It’s time to make adjectives work hard for your business!

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Category: copywriting and marketing

By Kate Goldstone - ()

Originally from Middlesbrough, I lived in Brighton for many years before moving to North Devon. I’ve had a passion for words all my life and this is my twelfth year as a freelance writer. In my spare time I draw, paint, sculpt, carve wood and rock, garden, read, write poetry and enjoy long distance hiking. I sing and play the recorder. I collect modernist paintings, vintage rugs and mid-century German art pottery. I’m a member of The Poetry Society. And I am an experienced volunteer shepherd, a ‘Lookerer’.

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