62 replies
Ok, we all know how important a good story is in our copy and
we sometimes need to take on a persona or implied personality
in order to connect with our readers.

But is there a point where it becomes unethical to assume a
false identity to sell a product?

Many affiliates do so, and I am sure many sales pages do so too.

But in my opinion, as long as the claims are true and the results
are true, then can it ever be unethical to present a storyline
or character that is "made up" in order to persuade?

I personally don't think so, but I do feel a small and very slight
feeling that it's a little dishonest in some way.

What are your opinions on this?
#ethical
  • Profile picture of the author Kyle Tully
    I'm mounting a class action against Count Chocula & General Mills... you in?
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    • Profile picture of the author Nick Brighton
      Originally Posted by Kyle Tully View Post

      I'm mounting a class action against Count Chocula & General Mills... you in?
      I have no idea who Count Chocula & General Mills are, but I am presuming they are mascots of some kind?!
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    • Profile picture of the author Scott Ames
      Originally Posted by Kyle Tully View Post

      I'm mounting a class action against Count Chocula & General Mills... you in?
      LOL..

      I for one believe Count Chocula is real. Don't you?
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      • Profile picture of the author Capone
        "Using stories to sell is unethical"...? On what planet Have you turned on the TV lately? Read a magazine?

        This argument could go on and on. There will always be 2 camps. At this point the thread is becoming useless so I'm gracefully (or ungracefully ) moving on.

        Good Luck,
        Capone
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    • Profile picture of the author Alan50
      Originally Posted by Kyle Tully View Post

      I'm mounting a class action against Count Chocula & General Mills... you in?
      Ha ha thats hilarious!
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    • Profile picture of the author Alan50
      OOps... double post.
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  • Profile picture of the author Stephen Dean
    Please tell me you're not saying Count Chocula isn't real?!?
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  • Profile picture of the author Dean Kennedy
    If that was the case, Mickey Mouse and Ronald McDonald might be a tad nervous.

    And what about all of the Hollywood actors and entertainers who have stage names?

    If I happen to like Elton John music, would I be upset to know he started life as Reginald Dwight?

    Makes no difference to me!
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    • Profile picture of the author Nick Brighton
      Originally Posted by Dean Kennedy View Post

      If that was the case, Mickey Mouse and Ronald McDonald might be a tad nervous.

      And what about all of the Hollywood actors and entertainers who have stage names?

      If I happen to like Elton John music, would I be upset to know he started life as Reginald Dwight?

      Makes no difference to me!
      Yeah, good point! I never thought I would get into trouble or anything, but I guess what I am saying is that in the case of building a list and relationship with your subscribers based on a fictional story that helps you to craft your USP...sometimes feels a little, well..."sly", you know?
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      • Profile picture of the author PowerWealth247
        I have no problem with using "pen names" or assuming personas but if you write in your blog or article that you "were broke and now make 100k/year" or you "were 450lbs and now you weigh 195lbs" and it is not true then you are lying and that is unethical. If you say a man in California used "this method" to do "that" and you know it to be false then you are lying and that is unethical. If, on the other hand you tell a customer that using "this" they can do "that" and it is possible (whether or not you have done so) then that is not lying. I am not saying lying should never be done, just that it is not ethical. We all do unethical things sometimes but consistency is what matters.
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Scott
    Nick,

    Ultimately what anyone else says doesn't matter.

    It's you who has to sleep at night.

    You don't seem comfortable with it. Maybe that should be a red flag for you.

    My advice to you is to follow your heart. Not that necessarily what you are doing is bad, but we all have to be true to ourselves, you know?

    </end Saturday Morning Cartoon Rant>

    -Dan
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  • Profile picture of the author SickHippie
    Ethical dilemmas are always rough - but I think Daniel hit the nail on the head with "It's you who has to sleep at night."

    We all have our own standards we hold ourselves up to. What I don't feel comfortable with, someone else might have no problem with.

    The real problem comes with trying to brand yourself. If your goal is to create your own brand attached to your name (as so many gurus have done so well), then all of your actions are going to be attached to that as well. If you don't think a particular action reflects well upon your name, then don't do it!

    There is a very fine line between good sales technique and lying. It's a line we all walk on a daily basis. My personal feeling is that it is better to err on the side of caution. I try to avoid anything that may bring my personal ethics into question.
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  • Profile picture of the author mdunn123
    Are you providing a product or service that works?

    Are you treating your customers with respect and helping them?

    Are you providing value?

    Then I don't care if you pretend to be Neil Armstrong. Stop worrying so much about your story or pen name etc. If you're running your business in an ethical fashion (good product, customer service etc) than it shouldn't matter.

    Look at it this way...

    You might make some stories up, but if those stories lend you more sales...and your product of service can help more people...than it's a win win situation.

    If it benefits them, than what they don't know and shouldn't know can't hurt them.
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    • Profile picture of the author Daniel Scott
      Originally Posted by mdunn123 View Post

      If it benefits them, than what they don't know and shouldn't know can't hurt them.
      It's still lying. If you're okay with that, that's cool. But don't try and pretend it's something it isn't.

      Everyone rationalizes their actions - be they good, bad or indifferent. Even serial killers and rapists rationalize what they did. They'd go insane otherwise. It's how the human mind works.

      What you do is up to you. But at least be honest with yourself that you're lying to get more sales. Saying anything else is a load of bull and both you and the people you tell that too deserve more honesty than that.

      -Dan
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    • Profile picture of the author SickHippie
      Originally Posted by mdunn123 View Post

      If it benefits them, than what they don't know and shouldn't know can't hurt them.
      I can't agree with this - lying to sell a product makes me no better than Madoff. We all see how well that worked out for him, right?
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  • Profile picture of the author aleisterone
    Advertising is hyping. Advertising makes people buy your product. Your product makes you KEEP your money. Without advertising there would be very few items that would sell.
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Scott
    Advertising = presenting things in their best possible light.

    Lying = completely making up stuff.

    Not really the same thing, is it?

    -Dan
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    • Profile picture of the author aleisterone
      Originally Posted by Daniel Scott View Post

      Advertising = presenting things in their best possible light.

      Lying = completely making up stuff.

      Not really the same thing, is it?

      -Dan
      This thread makes me think about the Apple trial. 3g twice as fast, half the price =)) Their answer was: Only a fool would believe an ad.
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  • Profile picture of the author Topgunb
    The real question is, do you lie?
    Put a face with a name and pretending they said "I earned $100000 with product x in 3 days!" - Absolute no no

    Creating a story using a name which relates a message your target audience can relate to - Absolute yes

    The story unfolds in the mind of the reader.

    I got off the soap box now.

    The only text we omit in copy is "hypothetically speaking" or "just imagine"

    You can always become a lawyer or politician and do it for a living, while being called a RESPECTED lawyer / politician.

    Ha HA

    Brian
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    • Profile picture of the author Daniel Scott
      Originally Posted by Topgunb View Post

      The real question is, do you lie?
      Put a face with a name and pretending they said "I earned $100000 with product x in 3 days!" - Absolute no no

      Creating a story using a name which relates a message your target audience can relate to - Absolute yes

      The story unfolds in the mind of the reader.

      I got off the soap box now.

      The only text we omit in copy is "hypothetically speaking" or "just imagine"

      You can always become a lawyer or politician and do it for a living, while being called a RESPECTED lawyer / politician.

      Ha HA

      Brian
      I didn't think respected lawyers/politicians existed.
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  • Profile picture of the author Li Weng
    If you lie in your advertising, it's not only wrong
    it's also ILLEGAL!

    It's false advertising or misrepresenting information
    with the intention to mislead your customers.

    It's a question of ethics and law.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nick Brighton
    I think a lot of folks are misinterpreting my OP. I would of course never lie about a product itself, I am simply saying do you ever consider it unethical to use stories and characters to build a theoretical story to make a point.

    I am not saying do you lie about what the product can do in terms of results. That IS lying and false advertising and something I would never dream of doing (mainly because I don't have to because I only sell products that work, oddly enough).
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  • Profile picture of the author MontelloMarketing
    Originally Posted by Nick Brighton View Post

    But is there a point where it becomes unethical to assume a
    false identity to sell a product?
    All jokes aside it can be unethical. And it's pretty clearly pointed out in US law as I've heard it.

    Basically you're all good UNLESS the pen name is used in an attempt to defraud.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mark Brock
      Originally Posted by MontelloMarketing View Post

      All jokes aside it can be unethical. And it's pretty clearly pointed out in US law as I've heard it.

      Basically you're all good UNLESS the pen name is used in an attempt to defraud.
      I think this sums it up pefectly.

      Assuming another persona for advertisment sakes is fine as long as you don't embelish the truth of what the product actually offers.

      By keeping your ads in line with the Ronseal ad method (i.e. telling people exactly what your product does) it shouldn't matter whether or not you assume another personality to put this point across!

      Mark

      PS - I love that this thread immediately turned into a breakfast cereal debate! AWESOME!!!

      PPS - For members outside of the UK - Ronseal is a paint and varnish manufacturer that always end their ads with; "Ronseal; it does exactly what it says on the tin!"
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  • Profile picture of the author bambi211
    I think it's unethical to use other persona to make a testimonial for your campaign. It's somewhat your stealing other people's opinion.
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  • Profile picture of the author ados67
    It's not quite unethical, but sometimes it's overdone and it's full of lies - e.g. how I cured myself of Acne in just 3 weeks, pictures included etc. (and it's all false, for example) isn't quite what I'd consider Ethical.

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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Scott
    Making up stories is probably going to be illegal, depending on what country/state you're from.

    =======================

    It's not quite unethical, but sometimes it's overdone and it's full of lies - e.g. how I cured myself of Acne in just 3 weeks, pictures included etc. (and it's all false, for example) isn't quite what I'd consider Ethical.

    Adi Friedman
    Two Believers.

    ======================

    If that's not unethical, what is?

    -Dan
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  • Profile picture of the author MontelloMarketing
    Making up stories is NOT unethical... unless, as I said earlier... you're doing it to defraud someone.

    At no time in history has Mayor McCheese had to put out a bulletin because the Hamburglar was on the loose stealing McDonalds hamburgers...

    It's a story to sell small children on a Happy Meal. And it is NOT unethical.

    Now... had that story involved buying a happy meal and that burger fries and coke then made the kid smarter, and got her divorced parents back together...

    THAT's unethical... why? Because it's fraud.
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Scott
    Vin,

    Firstly, "ethical" is based on your own framework, perceptions etc. Therefore, "ethical" is different for every person.

    Secondly, you are making the distinction between something that is very obviously a fiction tale against something that is presented in such a way that we hope it will be taken as fact.

    I don't read Harry Potter and think it's real, and I don't expect JK Rowling to have to put a disclaimer on her books.

    Not really the same thing.

    -Dan
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    • Profile picture of the author MontelloMarketing
      Originally Posted by Daniel Scott View Post

      Vin,

      Firstly, "ethical" is based on your own framework, perceptions etc. Therefore, "ethical" is different for every person.
      Just not the case. In many professions there is a code of ethics. Not an individual code but one the entire industry is expected to live up to.

      Secondly, you are making the distinction between something that is very obviously a fiction tale against something that is presented in such a way that we hope it will be taken as fact.
      Obvious to whom? The market the McDees ads run to (pre-schoolers) BELIEVE in McDonaldland.

      How obvious is it that?

      What about Uncle Ben? Aunt Jemima? The Marlboro Man? Need I go on? Okay, I will...

      The Culligan Lady... The Gorton's Fisherman... Josephine The Plumber... Juan Valdez?

      Madge the Manicurist... Maytag Repairman... The Tasters Choice couple...

      And what about the Polaroid couple from the 80's? Remember James Garner and Mariette Hartley? Two well known actors that did a series of commercials... billboards... mag. ads... even a few radio spots as a spokes couple for the camera. Yet they were not a couple... weren't even friends... YET for years afterward some people just assumed they were a couple. The only truth was they owned and used polaroid cameras.

      Unethical? Fraud?

      Seriously... this can go on for hours. Fiction in advertising, whether it be a character or a scenario is very much allowed as long as the ad is honest and not out to defraud.

      I don't read Harry Potter and think it's real, and I don't expect JK Rowling to have to put a disclaimer on her books.
      Not apples and oranges... more like apples and baseballs. Harry potter is a work of literature... not an advertisement.
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      • Profile picture of the author Capone
        Look at TV commercials! They're ALL done with actors (for the most part). The products in these commercials are real and it's illegal to make false claims in regards to what the product can and cannot do, but the story line they use with the actors is all made up. Fake families with fake children in fake houses having pretend problems to sell a product. Completely legal.
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  • Profile picture of the author ZachMaxwell
    It's definitely a sticky line to walk. Truth is there are SO many capture pages and websites out there that are totally full of crap, and present themselves untruthfully so it's easy to justify in your head that it's okay that you do it as well. I think honestly makes more money than lies...at least karmically speaking. At least I hope it does.
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  • Profile picture of the author RareGoodStuff
    Of course it is unethical. It is also illegal and unadviceable. You can exaggerate the benefits of a product or make up stories at your own peril. It won't be long before you are caught.

    Recently, the publisher of a book that Oprah was promoting had to pull the plug on the author for misrepresenting a love story that supposedly happened in the concentration camps decades ago. You don't need a bad publicity that will remain a bad stain on your business.

    There is always a way to make a decent income without resorting to falsehood.
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    • Profile picture of the author MontelloMarketing
      Originally Posted by RareGoodStuff View Post

      Of course it is unethical. It is also illegal and unadviceable. You can exaggerate the benefits of a product or make up stories at your own peril. It won't be long before you are caught.

      Recently, the publisher of a book that Oprah was promoting had to pull the plug on the author for misrepresenting a love story that supposedly happened in the concentration camps decades ago. You don't need a bad publicity that will remain a bad stain on your business.

      There is always a way to make a decent income without resorting to falsehood.
      dude,

      No offense but go back and read this entire thread. You're jumping into a conversation you obviously don't know too much about. The question is about created personas. And there is nothing... I repeat NOTHING unethical about that. There is no ronald mcdonald... betty crocker... or [sigh]...

      Seriously, I can't list them all again. Just do a search and look around. No one is talking about coming up with an alias to screw people. It's coming up with a character that brands your product or service.

      And that's completely ethical.
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      • Profile picture of the author MaskedMarketer
        Originally Posted by Nick Brighton View Post

        Ok, we all know how important a good story is in our copy and
        we sometimes need to take on a persona or implied personality
        in order to connect with our readers.

        But is there a point where it becomes unethical to assume a
        false identity to sell a product?
        You can change your "identity" and self image. and theres nothing wrong with that. You either communicated effectively, or you don't

        I do think one should believe in the products or services being sold.

        Originally Posted by Nick Brighton View Post

        But in my opinion, as long as the claims are true and the results
        are true, then can it ever be unethical to present a storyline
        or character that is "made up" in order to persuade?
        I agree.

        Originally Posted by Nick Brighton View Post

        I guess what I am saying is that in the case of building a list and relationship with your subscribers based on a fictional story that helps you to craft your USP...sometimes feels a little, well..."sly", you know?
        You're business is an extension of yourself and if you're identity isn't congruent with your market, even if you "fake" it , some people can smell BS a mile a way. You can take on an identity to resonate with your market and thats a good idea.

        Heath Ledger had to change his identity to play the joker (excellent role) and if he truly didnt take on that identity, his role would be fake and wouldn't produce the same results.

        So, if you're taking on a new identity to project a different image, which you believe in , and may be passionate about, you can have much greater success with that market.

        By saying "false Identity" shows telling stories in a negative light, when they can be beneficial as long as you don't lie about the results and about the product or service..

        just my opinon
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        • Profile picture of the author dorothydot
          Of COURSE using stories to sell is ethical! There are simple ways to alert your reader that it's a story. For example, just use first names: Tom went to the store and met Jane, the most beautiful woman he had ever seen... he was really glad he had used the X razor and shaved off that scraggley beard just this morning. And taken his first shower in 3 months as well - with the soap that came with the wonderful X razor.

          You need to get your ideal prospect to emotionally connect with your product. This is where the story comes in big-time!

          Everyone loves to read a well-written story. And if it resonates with a problem they are having in their own lives, well - how compelling is that? Talk about pushing the right button!

          Then you go on to present your product.

          Then you flip back to your storyline and show your character with the need satisfied and living happily ever-after. Make this true to the product. And presto! a powerful selling tool!!

          Tom and Nancy went out on their first date the following night.

          A few months later, Tom confessed to his bride-to-be how he'd been so scruffy and smelly until the day he'd met her. Nancy wrinkled her nose - no way would she have given that person a second look!

          "From vegetable aisle to the church aisle," Tom thought a year later, looking at his lovely wife as she buttered her morning toast. "I am one lucky man! My brother giving me that X razor kit... neither of us had any idea how it'd change my life." He sighed, content.

          Where in the world is there a lack of ethics in this?

          Hope this helps,
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  • Profile picture of the author RareGoodStuff
    To deploy a fictional character in storytelling is not wrong. To use that character and sell products is equally not wrong, provided you are not assuming a false 'persona or implied personality in order to connect with your readers'.

    MontelloMarketing, Godfathher of Presuasion: "There is no ronald mcdonald... betty crocker... or [sigh]... "

    I guess you are right only if those characters become the face, tademark or identity of the company on a regular basis but not as a short term tactics just to sell products. When that happens you are not a marketer, you are a deceitful. (I don't mean you as a individual, I mean anyone subscribing to that practice.) It is unethical, pure and simple.

    We can all seat here and dellude ourselves, but deep down we know the difference.
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    • Profile picture of the author MontelloMarketing
      Originally Posted by RareGoodStuff View Post

      I guess you are right only if those characters become the face, tademark or identity of the company on a regular basis but not as a short term tactics just to sell products. When that happens you are not a marketer, you are a deceitful. (I don't mean you as a individual, I mean anyone subscribing to that practice.) It is unethical, pure and simple.
      I have to be honest here... and no disrespect intended... but what are you talking about?

      Marketing is full of fictional characters longterm mascot types as well as short term just to help sell. Advertising (ethical... honest advertising) is built on this.

      Here's an example: Sonic restaurant chain is currently running ads with 2 fictional characters that appear to be a married couple. They use the speaker/car service thing and each "episode" they're doing something else comical that further sells us the idea that they are a couple. They are in fact... not a couple. Will they become the trademark of Sonic? Most probably not. But in advertising you never know who or what is going to end up being the trademark. And god... there are far too many examples like the sonic one, for me to mention...

      But remember this important fact: In advertising you never know what's going to "click" with your market. Therefore it is quite normal... and yes ethical and honest to try out characters to see what works.

      FYI: There is no human form of a mac and a pc. And had those mac ads not been successful you could bet your azz those 2 actors would be out of work.

      We can all seat here and dellude ourselves, but deep down we know the difference.
      This is what's so confusing about your post, in my mind. We DO ALL KNOW THE DIFFERENCE. You're talking about something that isn't close to what the rest of us are talking about. You're talking fraud.

      It's been said before and I don't know about you, but I talk to lawyers all the time especially with my offline clients. As long as it's not meant to defraud someone, fictional characters are perfectly normal.

      There is not delusion... we know the difference... Not just deep down, but on the surface too.
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      • Profile picture of the author Capone
        I lied. Had to come back

        @raregoodstuff: You speak in tongues sir.

        "To deploy a fictional character in storytelling is not wrong. To use that character and sell products is equally not wrong, provided you are not assuming a false 'persona or implied personality in order to connect with your readers'.

        MontelloMarketing, Godfathher of Presuasion: "There is no ronald mcdonald... betty crocker... or [sigh]... "

        I guess you are right only if those characters become the face, tademark or identity of the company on a regular basis but not as a short term tactics just to sell products. When that happens you are not a marketer, you are a deceitful. (I don't mean you as a individual, I mean anyone subscribing to that practice.) It is unethical, pure and simple.

        We can all seat here and dellude ourselves, but deep down we know the difference.


        Friend, you certainly do have a knack for complicating the HELL out of the uncomplicated. Wow...
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  • Profile picture of the author RareGoodStuff
    Go back to the post by Nick Brighton: "But is there a point where it becomes unethical to assume a false identity to sell a product?"

    He went on to say: "But in my opinion, as long as the claims are true and the results are true, then can it ever be unethical to present a storyline
    or character that is "made up" in order to persuade?

    I personally don't think so, but I do feel a small and very slight
    feeling that it's a little dishonest in some way."

    The operative words are "false" and "made up". If I present myself as a successful trader, a Forex trader with strings of success and make up false stories to sell a product, it is not clever marketing . It is unethical.

    There is a world of difference between Count Chocula, Mickey Mouse, Ray McDoald and "making up false stories."

    Count Chocula, Mickey Mouse and Harry Potter are works of art. Pure fiction, and was not written falsely to deceive the buyer. Especially, Harry Potter. It is fiction and nothing more.

    I guess Daniel Scott sums it best: "You don't seem comfortable with it. Maybe that should be a red flag for you."

    I am not trying to convince anyone to change his or her marketing strategies. I am only responding to a thread that is very interesting in substance and relevance.

    I trade commodities and currencies for a living.

    I will not make up false stories of successful trades just to peddle a trading software. It is unethical and irresponsible.

    Enough said.
    Good Luck guys!
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    • Profile picture of the author MaskedMarketer
      Originally Posted by RareGoodStuff View Post

      The operative words are "false" and "made up". If I present myself as a successful trader, a Forex trader with strings of success and make up false stories to sell a product, it is not clever marketing . It is unethical.
      What if we use different words, like "change" identity and create a story?


      Originally Posted by RareGoodStuff View Post

      I will not make up false stories of successful trades just to peddle a trading software. It is unethical and irresponsible.
      If you make false stories of trades then the END RESULT will probably not be what you say. Marketers can create (creative) stories to fit the product and the listener, but what you say about the products/services and the results you get, need to be truthful.

      If you're writing a story and you want to create a story to relate to the listener to create rapport, then I see nothing wrong with that. What you are doing is creating an Image or a brand with that character.

      Is Lexus lying because they create the same car, throw another "brand" on it, and its 10-20k more? Is that unethical?

      You get the same result and you Pay for the Marketing and the Brand...

      IMO- As long as the end result, is a Win/Win situation, then do whatever it takes
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      • Profile picture of the author Nick Brighton
        Originally Posted by RareGoodStuff View Post


        Recently, the publisher of a book that Oprah was promoting had to pull the plug on the author for misrepresenting a love story that supposedly happened in the concentration camps decades ago. You don't need a bad publicity that will remain a bad stain on your business.
        Rightly so...misrepresentation of someone else's story, particularly where financial gain is involved, is always going to land you in trouble.

        Misrepresentation and telling your own fictional story based on your own characters are two different things entirely. If I was telling people a story about YOU to sell a product (and I got it wrong) then you could sue me no doubt.

        But if I was creating a story to illustrate and relate with my prospects, and only ever claimed what the product can do (based on fact) then I can't see how we could be doing harm.

        In fact, the more I think about it, the only time I think this would be wrong is if you claimed that the fictional characters used your product to get said results....which is clearly one huge fake testimonial in essence.

        How to get around that?

        Well, I am writing the story to illustrate the pain, then presenting a viable solution. Then I am continuing the story, AFTER the problem has been resolved.

        Not once do I say how it was resolved, I merely elude to presumption and the power of suggestion so that the reader can relate to the problem they are experiencing now, then see a solution, then have a picture painted of the future free from the problem.

        I'll let the testimonials make the real life claims. See what I mean?
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        • Profile picture of the author Collette
          Originally Posted by Nick Brighton View Post


          ...In fact, the more I think about it, the only time I think this would be wrong is if you claimed that the fictional characters used your product to get said results....which is clearly one huge fake testimonial in essence.

          How to get around that?

          Well, I am writing the story to illustrate the pain, then presenting a viable solution. Then I am continuing the story, AFTER the problem has been resolved.

          Not once do I say how it was resolved, I merely elude to presumption and the power of suggestion so that the reader can relate to the problem they are experiencing now, then see a solution, then have a picture painted of the future free from the problem.

          I'll let the testimonials make the real life claims. See what I mean?
          Bingo. Let the reader connect the dots.

          A good writer can lead, without MIS-leading.

          If you write for any of the controlled markets, like alternative health or finance, you have to learn how to write sales copy that the lawyers can't gut.
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          • Profile picture of the author zapseo
            hah....lawyers will gut anything given half a chance.

            Walk a fine line between attorney-induced paranoia and being legit & making money.

            Lawyers can be waayyyy too paranoid at times. Maybe even most of the time.
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    • Profile picture of the author MontelloMarketing
      Originally Posted by RareGoodStuff View Post

      The operative words are "false" and "made up". If I present myself as a successful trader, a Forex trader with strings of success and make up false stories to sell a product, it is not clever marketing . It is unethical.
      THAT'S WHAT WE'RE ALL SAYING. You're talking about fraud. But... if you learned how to trade in the summer but you tell a story about discovering it in the dead of winter... on a snowy retreat skiing with your family... There is nothing unethical abou that.

      There is a world of difference between Count Chocula, Mickey Mouse, Ray McDoald and "making up false stories."
      Admittedly I have no idea who Ray McDoald is but I've already given you a bunch of stories that were written to sell. The examples go on. BTW... if McDonalds does (another) commercial about the hamburglar escaping from Mayor McCheeze's jail, is that unethical? The characters are made up and so is the story.

      I trade commodities and currencies for a living.

      I will not make up false stories of successful trades just to peddle a trading software. It is unethical and irresponsible.

      Enough said.
      Good Luck guys!
      This is again where I say you're not getting it. OF COURSE YOU DON'T MAKE UP STORIES OF FAKE TRADES... THAT'S UNETHICAL!

      No question about it, it's fraud and you should be put in prison...

      But there is no problem legally or ethically with you taking the events of a real trade and turning up the drama for a story that sells.

      "I made 1 million dollars" is boring...

      But...

      "When I was just 6 years old I wrote myself a fake check for a million dollars. A piece of scrap paper and a crayon. I laugh now when thinking about it but everynight for years I went to bed wishing it were true... hoping against all hope that a dirt poor farmboy with only a high school education could really make it big in America...

      Then... just last June it happened. I remember it like it was yesterday. A Friday afternoon. My family and I were preparing for a weekend camping. Just an inexpensive way to get some family time. Before leaving the house my wife checks the mailbox.

      "Honey... this looks important... I think it's a check..."

      The family gathered around as I tore open that envelope like a kid on christmas morning. I had to rub my eyes when I saw it...

      A check for $1,194,500.

      The dreams of that 6 year old farm kid actually came true. And I couldn't have done it without Forex."

      I decided from that day forward the Raregoodstuff family would still go camping whenever we could... but maybe it was time to upgrade our tent.


      (Only parts being true is you grew up on a farm, had only a high school education... and ultimately did get a check for that much and you got it trading forex.)

      Do you really not see the distinction?
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      • Profile picture of the author cherylwright
        I write sales copy for people all the time - many of them use an assumed name on their copy.

        In my opinion there is absolutely nothing wrong with it provided nothing illegal or immoral is being said in the copy.




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  • Profile picture of the author imamrktr
    It is always better to tell the true. Once you start off on lie you have to cover that lie for the rest of your life.
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  • Profile picture of the author whitewindow2009
    Well, i will agree with you. Taking false identity in any case is wrong and is illegal but if the facts are true, the results are correct and the copy does not harm any person living or dead then there should not be any problem in owning a false identity and writing a copy about a sensible and required topic. Main concern should be that any activity or deed or action should be harmless. If it is doing good to someone then it can be taken into consideration.
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  • Profile picture of the author kctang
    This is a good debate.
    Been asking myself this for some time.
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  • Profile picture of the author burkey
    I believe that if the story is in true form, then it should not make any difference how it came about.
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  • Profile picture of the author David Hawke
    I believe selling yourself as someone you are not is unethical no matter the extent of the lie. A lie is a lie. If you want to have a business that will be around and provide you a great living for years to come the truth is the only answer.

    If any of your clients finds out you've lied to them to get the sale you better believe they will tell everyone they know - avoid disaster just tell people the truth.
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    • Profile picture of the author MontelloMarketing
      Originally Posted by David Hawke View Post

      I believe selling yourself as someone you are not is unethical no matter the extent of the lie. A lie is a lie. If you want to have a business that will be around and provide you a great living for years to come the truth is the only answer.

      If any of your clients finds out you've lied to them to get the sale you better believe they will tell everyone they know - avoid disaster just tell people the truth.
      Of course selling yourself as somethng you're not is unethical. But that's really not what the origina idea here was.
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      • Profile picture of the author Nick Brighton
        Originally Posted by MontelloMarketing View Post

        Of course selling yourself as somethng you're not is unethical. But that's really not what the origina idea here was.
        Hey Vin, I think you've worked this thread so hard I need to start
        paying you a salary ;-)

        It's very interesting to see some of the responses, I think deep
        down I know where I stand with this aspect of writing copy.

        Was nice to get feedback on both sides though for sure. I guess
        that some of us may have missed the point, others skimmed it and
        others smacked it in the face with a sledge hammer.

        Cheers,

        Nick
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  • Profile picture of the author Alothere
    I think it's alright and no one will care as long as the product is actually good...
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