The guy that “scammed” people legally with the power of words

scammer

Words have an incredible power, and those who can chain them skillfully have the key to press that button in people’s minds that says “do it”. It’s the art of persuasion.

Thats what copywriters do all the time — from adverts on social media to strategic signs in a shop, we write the right words to lead people to take a certain action.

To illustrate the power of words, I would like to share with you the story of Steve Comisar.

A very clever advert

Comisar was a notorious scammer that in the 1990’s came up with a very clever way to make money through sales.

Since solar-energy was one of the buzzword of the time, he put an advert in the magazines and newspapers selling this amazing new gadget:

Solar-powered clothes dryer – just $49.95.

People across the USA bought into the idea (do you blame them?), and sent their money to get this incredible device that would help them cut bills, and have their clothes dry efficiently while saving the planet.

They waited anxiously for they mailman to deliver their new solar-powered clothes dryer, but when they received the parcel, they couldn’t believe their eyes.

The disappointment of their lives

It was just an average, run-off-the-mill clothesline, like those you can buy at any ironmonger’s. You can imagine their faces!

Clothesline scam

They tried contacting the seller because the device they expected had nothing to do with that clothesline.

However, Steve replied that what they received was exactly what he was advertising: The product was an actual drying device and it worked with solar energy!

The customers realised that they had been tricked in the most honest way, and they couldn’t sue the seller because, technically, the advert was truthful. The power of words!.

In the meantime, we can all imagine Steve laughing his lungs out while counting his money and patting himself on the back for coming up with such a smart idea.

This “scam” dogged legal charges, but fortunately, he was eventually sent to prison for other frauds.

Conclusion

Although this is foul play, I must admit that it’s a very smart move: He took advantage of the market trends — everyone was interested in solar power — and then, he only used words to paint a “deceitful” picture in customers’ minds.

Now, please don’t think that copywriters are scammers. We promise and then deliver, because that’s the ethical thing to do, and because we know that shortcuts don’t work long term. (And also because we don’t want to end up in prison).

If you want me to help you create messages that will take your customers to take a particular action, get in touch with me at info@themarketingrobin.com and let me know about your plans.

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