You Got a Problem, Asshole?

Here’s an incident I witnessed the other day. A guy in a truck was backing out of his driveway. A skateboarder zoomed behind him, narrowly avoiding a collision with the truck. The truck guy called out this immortal line:

‘You got a problem, asshole?’

Got my attention. We are certainly hardwired to pay attention when anybody nearby is being addressed as ‘asshole’ or the tone is aggressive. It also works like a charm online, in click-bait headlines and in email subject lines. When you get an email with the subject ‘Warning’ or ‘Do Not Open’ it will get a reaction out of you. You might even open or click. When men read ‘Top Ten Pick Up Lines that Always Work’ most will be fighting the click-urge.

Gentler invitations also work. On landing pages, when information is marked ‘Optional’ people usually provide it anyway. The small suggestive nudge leads to action, almost in the ‘I am going to defiantly provide this optional information’ sense.

These are behavioral buttons that headline writers, email crafters, copywriters and marketers enjoy pushing, because they …

Read More