The Wrong Idea - Carney
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The Wrong Idea

Copywriting tricks to avoid confusion.

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How to Write Negatives Into Positives

In a new study, researchers introduced participants to fake products intended to prevent harmful consequences, like a skin rash.

Counterintuitively, participants seemed unable to fully separate the products from the harmful side effects they prevented, resulting in negative attitudes.

How can copywriters make positive claims—like “Sunscreen prevents cancer”—overtly and subconsciously clear to customers?

  • Bold the verb. In this case, emphasizing “prevents” may reinforce the concept and visually distance the product from the negative word.
  • Use humor to add levity to the messaging.
  • Use more positive framing. Instead of “won’t damage skin,” opt for “gentle on skin.”

Check out these insights from Nick Kolenda.

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