Thursday, April 11, 2013

Bad Argument: Badass, Dare, and Neg

Badass (TV Series
Badass (TV Series (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One of the most often used tactics in getting people to commit is the "motivational speech". The objective is simple: get the people to get off their butts in a seminar and pluck down their dollars for your miracle solution to their problems, whatever they are. And one of those is basically insult your audience, though in a relatively gentle way, about how they are wussies, and they should be badasses, take charge of their lives, blah blah blah. In the dating scene, this is known as a "neg", and it's basically a disguised "dare", something you'd do back in kindergarten, like "I double dare you!" Surprising how well it still works today, on adults, who should have grown out of it long time ago.

Here's one such example. I won't "name" the company. I've done some blurring to prevent it from being too obvious. But it's hardly "disguised".

Without any context, what do you think of this picture? You'd think you're looking at one of those casino ads or something.

But no, this is an ad featuring an income opportunity / blog hosting / network marketing education amalgam. The question "are you all in" is a dare, that you have to "risk it all to gain it all", with the clear implication that if you don't risk it all, you are a wuss and therefore you should get out.

That may work as a motivational speech, as a "call to action", but do you really want to DO BUSINESS with people like that?

His partner is even worse. He actually calls people in his audience wussies, with promise that he'll turn them into badasses.

In other words, they are Biff in Back to the Future series.  In case you don't remember, this is Biff Tannen.

The problem is this guy looks way too suave (kinda like a taller Edward Norton, see photo above), while his partner looks like Yahoo Serious.

In case you don't remember who was Yahoo Serious...

Neither are "badasses". Yet they want to teach you about badassdom so you can be badasses like them. But do you really want to be badasses in a BUSINESS? Or even when selling to people?

Being badasses only matters when you're trying to LEAD PEOPLE INTO SOMETHING, which is exactly what they are doing: they lead people in the audience into believing that being their clones is GOOD.

Clearly, something's wrong with that image.
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