Story of Bungled Hypnotic Advertising

If you're near me, you probably listen to Mix95 radio on occasion.  There's a popular morning show with DJ's Rick & Lisa.  Good show, for a small town, by the way. :)

On today's morning show, about 30 minutes ago, I heard a commercial for local car dealership "Hamilton Nissan" that (whether intended OR NOT...) demonstrated an incredibly bad/poor example of advertising techniques that can be described by any NLP Practitioner or Hypnotherapist as "hypnotic" advertising. Note this does NOT mean they necessarily used hypnosis or hypnotic writing, but it means their radio ad was a great example of BAD hypnotic advertising.

So let's explore the ad in more detail, in NLP & Ericksonian Hypnosis terms:

(And, keep in mind this is not a verbatim script -- this is my memory of what I heard, knowing what I know, and knowing how to listen for this. The actual recording may have been slightly differently worded -- but not significantly so).

It started out OK with the first couple of phrases, using "Pacing & Leading" for Rapport-building & influence. It started out sounding like facts, but all too quickly became an ad. "Well it seems there are signs the economy is picking back up; the big 3 car manufacturers all seem to be doing well." Then it immediately became an ad for Hamilton Nissan. This was inelegant and likely created an instant emotional experience for most listeners (whether mild or strong), of "Bait & Switch." Your loss, Hamilton Nissan.

Then, the crowning example of bungled hypnotic advertising was...

wait for it...

The horribly badly delivered 'embedded command', for "BUY NOW!" I couldn't stop laughing for about 5 minutes when I heard it.

It was combined with an incomplete sentence. Sentence fragments are an Ericksonian Hypnotherapy technique for putting people partly on hold; it creates less resistance in listeners. What they didn't tell you, Hamilton Nissan, is that that only works when everything else you're doing at the same time is increasing acceptance of your suggestions.

So here's how they did it: "Well I know you're thinking... BUY NOW... all the vehicles over at Hamilton Nissan..." then they left that sentence incomplete... and moved on to other topics. Using incomplete sentences and "embedded commands" such as "BUY NOW" are well-known NLP/Ericksonian hypnosis technique.

Their PRESUMED intent was for you to consciously hear ALL of the above, but unconsciously hear and respond to just a portion of the incomplete sentence: "BUY NOW... all the vehicles over at Hamilton Nissan..."

In fact, the use of "Buy Now" as a casual phrase in advertising is SO ubiquitous these days, it's seen/heard as cheesy in hypnosis/NLP circles now. My opinion: No *effective* marketer in their right mind would use it anymore.

If you think I'm making this up, google "embedded commands buy now" and explore. By the way, though, about half of those articles that show up in google use what I would describe as less-than-elegant phrasing. I'm an authority on this specific language pattern, both in terms of phrasing, and tonal delivery, and I think a lot of people don't quite get it fully. So I'm not saying everyone writing articles about this subject are worth reading; I'm pointing out that there's a LOT of material on this stuff out there.

Never mind that the advertiser's delivery of "BUY NOW" in terms of tonality and pausing was incredibly ineffective. I mean, if they were actually going to use that embedded command, they probably should have learned more competent tonal techniques. If you knew what I know, you'd have been cringing while listening.

If it was intended (99.9% likely in my opinion), then it was very badly delivered. I'd use that radio commercial as an ideal example of what never to do, and how not to do it.

If it wasn't intended (I acknowledge the limited possibility of pure ignorance here), then the "interviewee" (read: Advertising guy at Hamilton Nissan) happened to stumble accidentally on what I believe is one of the worst possible ways to turn off their potential customers. Because whether the radio listeners have the self-awareness and/or vocabulary for it or not... many are likely feeling a mild, weird sense that something's *not quite right* about what they just heard, and who they heard it from/about.

They MAY have just succeeded in doing exactly the opposite of what they'd intended. They MAY have just created distrust for/of their dealership.