Cosmo Bullets - Quickly Picked Apart & Examined To Discover Their Most Powerfully Persuasive Properties - Part 5

From the cover of the September 1980 issue: 

  • I Did It With His Friends – He Wanted Me To
Ahh, a bullet that exemplifies one of the most effective attention-grabbing techniques in marketing.
It’s not self-interest, amazing benefits, or even sensationalism (though this bullet has a touch of that last one as well).
No, the granddaddy of them all is none other than:


Anyone who reads this bullet instantly thinks to themselves, “Wait… WHAT exactly did she do with his friends?”
It’s incredible that a two-letter word – “it” – can create such an emotional frenzy in the reader’s mind.
Of course, this is Cosmo. And the readers of Cosmo have a pretty good idea of what “it” is. (*wink*wink*)
BUT… they’ll have to open the magazine and read the article to find out for sure.
And THAT is the gold standard of a well-crafted bullet.
It forces people to act – to buy.
It creates an irresistible force that the reader simply can not ignore.
As Ken McCarthy, one of the fundamental pioneers of Internet marketing, states: 

“Bullets wound!”

That is, they cause an un-ignorable “pain” in the mind of the reader, the only solution of which is to get the product (or whatever the bullet is about) and discover exactly what the bullet is talking about.
Now, let’s have another look at this bullet:
  • I Did It With His Friends – He Wanted Me To
It contains at least three major attention-piquing points:
First, we wonder if the “it” it’s referring to is the same “it” we think it is. (You know… “it.”)
Next, we realize the taboo nature of the content – we assume the “his” in the sentence is talking about her boyfriend, in which case our first reaction is that “he” will not be too happy about this.
But, to our surprise, the next statement is the fact that “– He wanted me to”.
A truly unexpected turn of events.  An absolute emotional rollercoaster ride — and all in just 10 words and a hyphen.
In short, it’s engineered perfectly to cause an almost instantaneous and insatiable curiosity.

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