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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 21-Mar-08


Friday 21-March-08

Do not read this blog

Ok, so why are you reading it then? It's a curious phenomenon but I'd guess more people read this than other blogs, just because of the title.

One reason to read it is that your curiosity was aroused. The 'Pique Technique' deliberately uses this principle, first tweaking interest then giving the real message. Another reason is reactance. When told not to do something our need for a sense of control is assailed and we react against it by proving we are in control by going the other way.


You know the way advertisers sometimes put loose flyers into magazines and newspapers such that when you open them they fall out all over the place? Generally this annoys me and I take revenge by gathering them up and putting them in the bin, smug that I have lessened the wasted paper I am carrying.

Recently, however, I actually picked up one of these flyers and read it. On it (both sides, to be sure I'd see it) was the phrase 'DO NOT READ THIS FLYER' in large, pink capital letters on a black background. A high-contrast, unusual combination that grabbed my eye and piqued my interest.

So I picked it up. Above the words in small white text were the words 'Many people would not want you to'. Reacting against those 'many people' I opened the flyer and, having made the investment, read it carefully. It was an appeal from Amnesty International and the 'many people' were dictators, terrorists and so on who would not like me to make a donation to Amnesty. Wonderful stuff. So now if I do not donate, I am in league with a lot of very nasty people. What tremendous persuasive power.

Whilst I was not persuaded further I was very impressed with the package and this blog is the result. Publicity happens in strange ways and who knows, maybe you will read their website and act.

Your comments

Wouldn't the right answer be: by the time we read the title and comprehended its summons it was too late to obey?

-- michael w

Dave replies:
Not sure. Perhaps too late to back out?

Can you quantify the results of your experiment?

-- Dennis

Dave replies:
Good question, as my perception, like one swallow, does not make a summer, although of course I think it certainly brings out the sun ;)

Advertisers who are spending a lot on promotion do often spend reasonable effort in both pre-testing their concepts and assessing the actual return on their ad investment. I wonder what measurement Amnesty made.

Inherent rebellious nature in all of us. Generally people lose interest fairly quickly when it doesn't convey a good message or when it lacks substance.

-- Natasha

The pique technique worked!

-- Rob

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