Copywriting Examples: The Six Principles of Persuasion

We’ve decided to do an example advertisement for each of Dr. Robert Cialdini’s Six Principles of Persuasion.

Dr. Cialdini has a long, distinguished career of studying how to trick people into doing things.

Err, we mean:
A long, distinguished career studying how to influence human decisions.

His Six Principles of Persuasion are:

Reciprocity; Scarcity; Authority; Consistency; Liking; and Consensus.

We now present a sentence about and a Pure Love ad based upon each of these scientifically substantiated seductions.

[We primarily sell Pure Love, because It is the one good that is actually Good: with Pure Love all is OK; without It, nothing is OK. See the article’s end for more on our product.]

1. Reciprocity.

Give people something and they pay more attention and are more favorably disposed towards you, and are more likely to oblige your requests.

Our Ad:

Congratulations, Pure Love winner!

You are the lucky recipient of an infinite, eternal explosion of Pure Love!

Pure Love: The Love that only gives, never takes; that accepts, embraces, love-lifts, and joy-nuzzles everything and everyone!

Yours now and forever, and actually also previously, and in every possible spatial and/or temporal direction!

And absolutely free!

We ask only that you forgive us our desperate sillinesses;
and that we together open up to the aware, clear, accurate, honest, competent, compassionate, kind, joyfully sharing Light that would guide us all as individuals and groups onto wiser, stronger, gentler, more beautiful and wonderful ways.

2. Scarcity

If people believe some good is very rare, and/or about to run out, their hoarding instinct kicks in and they feel that they NEED IT NOW.

Our Ad:

Pure Love: Only one iota left! Act now!

Hello, and welcome to our Pure Love extravaganza,
and, well, pardon us, but there is simply

We saw you there, say the lonely hurt in your eye,
the broken tremble in your lip,
the curled-in shoulders and banged-up smile,
and we said
a chance at a change
a chance at JOY

And so we saved —
we fought of desperate crowds of Love-hungry consumers — ,
just for you,
This vanishing droplet of


is the Light that alone
that and in what way it is
to say,
“We are all in this together.”

And, here, here, we’re stumbling now down onto the dusty, wriggling earth.
We’re melting now into the bright sunlight, into the dry wind, the swirling grains of kicked-up desert-dune sand.
But before we go, before we disappear into
The Great Caprice

we roll you this, our last iota, our last little bit of the
Love that knows how to help
it is The Way,
it is What Is.

Make good use of It!

[Advertiser’s note: Please forgive our perhaps deceptive — we’re just being funny and artsy! — insinuation that Pure Love could be scarce. How can the only thing that truly Is be scarce? It cannot be scarce.
But sometimes our hearts grow hard and our minds brittle and our thoughts turn crumbly-cold; sometimes we humans turn away from active engagement in the Pure Love that shines through all things — shines through even our paltry, deception-prone conscious spaces.
And from such blighted perspectives, it is as if Pure Love were scarce.
Let’s shake such doldrums off! Let’s turn our feeling/thinking/acting more and more towards the Kind Light.]

3. Authority

People are suckers for experts, even if they’ve got no real proof that they’re dealing with an expert in a field (and — we might add — even though, for example, many doctors used to encourage smoking).

From Cialdini’s Authority section:

“One group of real estate agents was able to increase both the number of property appraisals and the number of subsequent contracts that they wrote by arranging for reception staff who answered customer enquiries to first mention their colleagues’ credentials and expertise.”

Our Ad:

Pure Love: Because God Says So

Human opinions come and human opinions go.

Humans start small, grow tall, and hoot and wail and make a racket.
Then they weaken; they crumble; they become dust and slosh into the earth.

Humans have opinions.
Only the God KNOWS.

And The God is unanimous:

“I am Love.”

God is infinite and eternal, and all there really is.
There’s no point in arguing.

4. Consistency

People like to be consistent in their statements and actions.

For example, Cialdini cites a study where people were much more likely to put big and unattractive sign in their yard if they had recently agreed to put up a small postcard in their window in support of the same cause as the large unsightly sign.

[To me this experiment shows that people like to stick with their commitments; there’s a relationship to consistency, but there’s also the element of remaining loyal to some team (this particular cause and those working for it) you’ve committed to. But that’s the experiment Cialdini cites.]

Our Ad:

What was that Promise, that you made?

Oh, hi!, hello there!

Didn’t we meet before?

Weren’t you the one who — ?

I believe I heard you say that we’d all be better off if we could just be kind to one another.

Well, friend, you’re in luck!

Your dream’s coming True!

That’s right!

Because with Bartleby Willard’s unpatented, unoriginal, unproprietary, completely homogeneous unblend of

100% infinite/eternal
Pure Love

you will be the change you seek in the world
you will shine with the gentle, compassionate joy that alone

Knows how to help.

5. Liking

“People prefer to say yes to those that they like.”

But what causes one person to like another? Persuasion science tells us that there are three important factors. We like people who are similar to us, we like people who pay us compliments, and we like people who cooperate with us towards mutual goals.”

Our Ad:

Your Friends Need Your Help!

Hey, there!

Remember us?

We all grew up together inside a Light that lasts forever.

We’re so much alike!
Hearts that long for both decency and happiness.
Minds eager for both accuracy and assurance.
Soft centers and hard shells.
A desire to be liked and held and respected and comforted; and an aspiration to be more than the sum total of these delicate underbellies.

We’ve always admired the posture of your soul:
The way you stand up straight within yourself even when it wasn’t easy,
even when the safe place seemed far away,
even when the “Good Job!” seemed like a lost child’s dying daydream.

Would you like to join us for an iced tea here on the sunny porch overlooking a gently curling, pleasantly frothing summersunshine sea?

You could also duck yourself beneath the shade of the trellis overrun by elephant-ear grape leaves, and large round concord grapes — dark purple and richly fragrant. (If you’d prefer a little wind-rustled, dappling shade between you and this fearless Mediterranean sun.)

Here, you must also try a piece of our Pure Love!

Oh, but you must!

Very economical — one drop is infinite in every possible way (infinitely infinite)!

Feel It?

Pure Love love-lifts everyone into the infinite acceleration of kind joy.

Good stuff!

6. Consensus

What is the psychological root?

A small child has his own plastic dinosaur, but finds himself wanting his friend’s small plastic dinosaur.

We feel more relaxed agreeing with the majority — except when our particular friends/ego-trips are bound up in a minority opinion.

We hear everyone’s doing something and we suppose there must be something to it.

Is consensus to some degree a type of authority?
To some degree the need to belong?
To some degree a scarcity response (Everyone’s into it — I need to get there before the phenomenon is over.)?

Anyway, it is the sixth principle of persuasion.

Our Ad:

You’re An Individual! … Among Friends!

There’s no one quite like you.

You’ve got that special something!

And yet, you’re one of the gang!

How do you put it all together like that?

We know: we could be talking about you!

But this time we’re trying to wrap our minds around Pure Love — the eternal spiritual Love that all earthly loves partake of to the degree they truly love.

Love, ah love! Delicious elixir!

To be not just accepted, but delighted-in, cherished, uplifted, carried dotingly above the lonesome world like a babe in its mother’s arms, clutched to her full, glowing chest!

But Pure Love’s even better.
Because Pure Love is all there is.

Pure Love’s not just a safe port in the storm.
Pure Love is the Truth exploding through, overwhelming, and exposing all illusionary details.

Pure Love delights in Itself.

Pure Love delights in each of us even as it unravels all particulars, resolving everyone and everything into the infinite giggle:
So infinitely joyfully creatively powerful that It can’t help but create all possible happenstances; but also so infinitely joyfully creatively powerful that It can’t help but be all there is: one undifferentiated kind joy.
From this tension between all particulars and no particulars there arises an infinite giggle running through it all.

I think we’ve noticed a seventh principle: Tribalism

The need to belong to your group. The need to be loyal to the group and have the group accept you and be loyal to you. The need to belong.

Oh we’re so lonesome!

Oh we’re so weak!

Won’t you come around and tell me that I’m OK?

My little world. My little family. My few friends.

And the TRUTHS we share.

Wake us up Good God, wake us up Kind Light

let us into your wider family.
let us open our hearts and minds and be glad to know everyone.
help us see things as they really are.
help us live in and through and for a love so pure and gentle that we can’t help but Know that and in what way it is True to say,
“We are all in this together.”

Authors: Bartleby Willard and Amble Whistletown
Copyright: Andrew Mackenzie Watson