Letter: False Logic Is Lying
Of 5,000 people polled, only seven disagree with Robert Bly about manipulating copy to manipulate the consumer. Oh, should I mention that two people agree and 4,991 never heard of Robert Bly?
Bly quotes, "People buy based on emotion, then rationalize the purchase decision with logic." I would counter that people think they buy based on logic and then rationalize the purchase decision based on emotion; they have to, to reassure themselves that they didn't blunder into a dumb purchase.
I had a wonderful Pinto, but what the heck, Mr. Bly assured me that if Whiz-Elixir gas additive got me 80 MPG, it would pay back the vehicle purchase price in only 20 years. Oops, "IF" maintains Mr. Bly's integrity as a marketer.
Justification of immoral practices because general marketers do it won't work, either. McDonald's claim of "billions sold" always made me believe they were popular, not that they were good. Is everyone as easily misled as Mr. Bly?
If you're going to write a regular column in DM News, promote good and honest practices. Cheats and crooks may make a lot of money, but using their tools - including false logic - is incompetence, failure to discharge fiduciary duties or both.
Len Rose, ideas-2-go, Fairlawn, OH
Robert Bly responds: Mr. Rose's claim that people buy based on logic, and then rationalize with emotion (rather than the opposite) is, in my opinion, incorrect. My assertion that people buy based on emotion and rationalize with logic has been confirmed in thousands of tests conducted by virtually every major direct marketer on the planet. "False logic" is not lying; it is using the available facts to prove your case. Everyone does it; it is the basic principle of rhetoric, selling, marketing, negotiation, debate and trial law. It is not unethical if the point you are proving is true and you believe it, which is always the case with the products I represent as a copywriter.