I woke up on Sunday with a headache. The piercing wouldn’t allow my heavy lids to lull me back into sleep, and the day’s activities – vegging on the couch watching soccer – were quickly approaching. I reached for my miracle cure: a hot handtowel, folded twice and placed upon my forehead. I receded back under my comforter and within 15 minutes, the skull-stabbing fissure had dissipated. I’ve been using the hot handtowel method for years, but only in that moment did I realize how effective a placebo really is.Naturally, this led to some inquiries, and pretty much validated my career decision to persuade people for a living. The placebo effect is strong, almost outlandishly so. After reading *cough* a summary *cough* of You Are the Placebo by Dr. Joe Dispenza, the main takeaway was that rehearsal + belief = results. Hit me with some examples, you demand. A study by Ellen Langer at Harvard revealed that subjects who pretended to be military fighter pilots for 15 minutes enhanced their vision for hours afterwards. Patients put under anesthesia with the pretense they’d be receiving knee surgery awoke and reported increased mobility years after the operation. The hitch was that no operation was performed, the incision was opened and closed just as quickly. Placebos get a bad rep for being sugar pills, but even in extreme instances, they’re extraordinarily effective for improvement. A strong belief in a higher being can explain why so many elite athletes and performers thank God, they ARE being enhanced by the divine subconscious.
Snake oil and bloodletting may just cure your cold after all. As marketers, we must use this wisely. After all, too many Head On commercials and penis pill e-blasts will make muddy an actual tool for change: the belief being sold.
~ Chase Cambria, Jr. Copywriter, The S3 Agency