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The Most Persuasive Words in English

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What are the most powerful marketing words in the English language? Since the early 60′s researches in advertising and academia have presented various findings. All agree the power lies in ten to twelve words. Here are the results chronologically:

1961: You, Easy, Money, Save, Love, New, Discovery, Results, Proven, and Guarantee

Source: [Vidette-Messenger (Valparaiso, Ind.), Nov. 1, 1963, p. 4;  Lowell (Mass.) Sun, Nov. 4, 1963, p. 5; Northwest Arkansas Times, Nov. 7, 1963, p. 4; etc.]

1970: The 12 most persuasive words in the English language are: you, money, save, new, results, health, easy, safety, love, discovery, proven and guarantee. According to the claim of researchers in the Yale psychology department.

Source: [Fresno (Calif.) Bee Republican, Jan. 20, 1970, p. 7; Yuma (Ariz.) Daily Sun, Jan. 20, 1970, p. B6; Burlington (N.C.) Daily Times-News, Jan. 20, 1970, p. 6A; etc.]

Here’s an Associated Press item from January 1972, in which the list takes on significance by being quoted from the Canadian Consumer Magazine:

The Canadian Consumer Magazine quotes a research report saying that the 12 most persuasive words in the English language are: You, money save, new, results, health, easy, safety, love, discovery, proven and guarantee. Note that the three-letter word "sex", didn’t make the top 12.

Source: [Gettysburg (Pa.) Times, Jan. 17, 1972, p. 9; Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune, Jan. 31, 1972, p. 12; etc.]

Bill Gold repeated the list in his Washington Post column "The District Line" in July 1978.

In a recent issue, Trends reported that a study by experts had identified the 12 most persuasive words in the English language. They were listed as: "money, save, new, you, results, health, safety, easy, guarantee, discovery, proven and love." Trends also mentions that public relations people and advertising copy writers are wondering how the study managed to overlook "free," which along with "new," was long considered one of "the best-selling words in the language."

Source: [Washington Post, July 27, 1978, p.12]

Are you persuaded? Is it time for an update of the most persuasive words?

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1 Comment

Astor G. on February 08th, 2008 said

Where on this list IS the word sex? Just curious and is it true that the most effective colour on a book cover is green?

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