The British government generated 2.3 million pounds in tax returns with this one glorious sentence.

Photo by Jorge Percival on Unsplash

The British government had a tax problem.

They had a problem that every parent of a bad boy Charlie has. The issue was that people were not paying their taxes on time. Just like our homeboy, Charlie won’t do his homework on time.

Pissed, the UK government did what almost all parents do. Bans, penalties, increased interest rates, ass whoopings but to no success.

Unlike most parents, they were like hold on. Change of strategies. These penalties and bans aren’t scaring anybody innit? Therefore a team of social scientists and compliance professionals was made.

Handful compliance professional brains v 100,000 Brits.

The team went into the roots of human behavioral psychology. Why do humans do what do and which factor influences their decision-making the most?

The answer? Social influence.

They found out that humans behave like pack animals. If they see a lot of their peers doing something, they think it is the right thing to do. Upon finding this out, they wrote a new sentence in the utility bills they sent to people’s homes to get them to pay their taxes on time.

This one glorious sentence resulted in tens of millions of dollars in tax returns and 2.3 million pounds in just 23 days. That is some serious dough for 23 days.

Behold, the British Government is writing now,

9/10 people in the UK pay their taxes on time. You are currently in the very small minority of people who have not paid us yet.

This is what happens when you combine behavioral psychology with good copywriting. Speaking of good copywriting, let us summon David Ogilvy to drop a line or two on this topic.

‘Most good copywriters . . . fall into two categories. Poets. And killers. Poets see an ad as an end. Killers as a means to an end.’ If you are both killer and poet, you get rich.

~ David Ogilvy

Poets write pretty words. Their words communicate thoughts we struggle to put into words. Killers on the other hand are kinda like those lab scientists in overalls. They know all the secret psychological strategies that work like magic. These two people individually are great but imagine what would happen if you team them up? Be a killer poet.

Peace.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Nouman A.

Nouman A.

I write about the marketing strategies that made brands millions