Manipulating The Human Brain For Financial Gain

One of my favourite books on marketing – and one that you’d be a fool not to own – is called Ca$hvertising. You’ve probably heard the title in passing mention. The book has an entire thread dedicated to it on WickedFire and I couldn’t possibly overstate how brilliant it is as a resource for affiliates.

Forget all the guru secret spilling bullshit that crosses your path. If you’re going to make one investment this week, snap up a copy of Ca$hvertising and learn some REAL marketing tricks that will actually serve you well in this industry.

In the book, you’ll find a section called “What People Really Want”, and it’s here that you’ll learn about the Life-Force 8.

The idea is simple. As human beings, we are all prisoners to our own instinctive desires. Those desires, Ca$hvertising’s so-called Life-Force 8, can be summed up as:

  • Survival, enjoyment of life, life extension.
  • Enjoyment of food and beverages.
  • Freedom from fear, pain and danger.
  • Sexual companionship.
  • Comfortable living conditions.
  • To be superior, winning, keeping up with the Joneses.
  • Care and protection of loved ones.
  • Social approval.

We cannot help ourselves from chasing these qualities in life. As marketers, our job becomes immeasurably easier when we realize that tapping in to those fundamental desires is the easiest and fastest way of selling a product.

So why do so many marketers get it wrong? For me, it traces back to the “Benefits vs. Features” argument. If you’ve educated yourself in the art of copywriting, you’ve already established that good writing sells the benefits of a product – not the features.

Nobody gives a shit that the acai berry diet is rich in antioxidants. People only care that the chemicals they’re chugging might possibly shave a couple of inches off their waistband, right? That’s your classic Benefits over Features argument. But I would argue that it doesn’t go far enough. And many affiliate marketers are guilty of this.

While we would all love to be ripped and chiseled like statues made from marble, you’re not selling hard enough if this is your only punchline. It’s a want rather than a need.

Being ripped must be great. But for stud muffins like yours truly – ahem – we are quite happy to look every bit of the nine pints we’ve drunk. Why? Because it doesn’t fuck with our deepest desires. Unless you’re spelling it out to me that I need to put the pint down right now or I’m not getting laid until 2018, getting ripped can wait til next week.

Forget the features of a product – and forget the benefits too. Focus on how you can ride the biological train of what human beings want most, and ride it all the way to the bank.

With the acai berry diet, it’s not a case that we want to be slim. These are secondary desires, symptoms of our greater needs. What might they be? It’s usually that we want to appear better looking to the opposite sex, or that we want to revel in the jealous glances when we bust out a washboard stomach on the beach. We want to be socially desirable and confident in our health.

How many times have you seen ads that preach “X can cause cancer”. I bet in that briefest moment, your brain judders and you think to yourself “Shit, I better think twice about X in the future…” It’s because we cannot help ourselves from reacting to ideas that compromise our integral desires. In this case, our biological desire to stay healthy and live a long life is enough to invoke a reaction. It might not last, but it still happens in our brains.

Which line is more effective to a red blooded male?

“Eating X is a proven method of losing weight, helping you stay in shape and get ripped in time for summer.”

“Only Eat X if you can handle the jealous stares at your ripped physique on the beach this summer. Girls just love guys who use our proven recipe. Shed the pounds and be the envy of your friends.”

90% of affiliates are happy with the first example. They assume that getting ripped is the real benefit of the product. It’s not. The second example tackles several biologically programmed desires in every male. We can’t escape them. The reader is living those words in his head. Did you see yourself on a beach surrounded by adoring female faces?

As marketers, there is no greater weapon than the ability to write copy that drives daggers through the reader’s innermost conscience. Ca$hvertising states the importance of using positive imagery with your writing. And I agree, it’s probably the single most effective copywriting technique you’re ever going to master.

Picture the most satisfied customer imaginable in your head. See how positively they’ve been affected by your product and then write copy that FORCES your reader to live those scenes for themselves.

I’m willing to bet that if you take the time to look over your recent landing pages, you will find numerous examples of weak selling. Instances where you’ve assumed that your job is already done when the prospect lands on your page. Great marketers understand that the human brain is fickle. And to sell a product, you sometimes have to stir the right emotions to ignite a response.

No matter whether you’re selling car insurance, dating websites or the latest “get ripped fast” recipe – you will always enjoy more success when you adapt the benefits of the product to appeal to our biological human desires.

Don’t just plant vague ideas and product benefits in the reader’s head. The reader will always analyze them negatively until he has a reason not to buy. Force vivid imagery that inspires them to answer their own questions positively. It sounds so simple and yet it works so well.

Interested in more language secrets?

You can grab a copy of Ca$hvertising for less than $10 on Amazon. I’m not usually one to recommend spending money on guru products, but this isn’t a guru product. It’s simply a fantastic read which will improve your fundamental marketing skills. If you don’t have it, slap yourself in the balls and go get it.

For other site updates and tips, follow me on Twitter.

About the author


A 29 year old high school dropout (slash academic failure) who sold his soul to make money from the Internet. This blog follows the successes, fuck-ups and ball gags of my career in affiliate marketing.


Leave a comment
  • This is a top posts and has just shown me how much I have misunderstood this marketing melaki to date. Time to do two things

    1) order cashvertabout
    2) rewrite all my ads

    The other interesting point you make is about selling the positive. Does this apply to creatuves as well? Ie show a thin woman rather then one with huge love handles?

    U know I should test this but was works better for you?

  • “Subliminal, coro human BIOS is now detected by savvy marketers.
    If you are not lazy or dumb, take an advantage of it and watch the money roll in straight to your pocket like crazy!”

  • @imrat – The language and imagery you use in specific ad creatives has to be considered differently I’d say. You need to be driving as many clicks as possible through to your landing page, so it’s a case of whatever catches the user’s attention. By all means test it though….

  • Such a good book. It’s been a month or two since I’ve read it, time to do it again. It’s easy to forget how to be effective and slip back into the copy/paste mentality. People who apply Drew’s tactics will be the ones getting copied.

  • Nice title. Reminds me of why I dislike this industry at time. I fucking hate sales people. People trying to sell you shit on the phone, car salesman trying to sell you shit, people that work in shops trying to sell you shit. Everyones trying to sell some shit, but as marketers more shit comes out of us than others. People say they hate double glazing salesmen and estage agents. You can throw in affiliate marketers into that category too.

  • Haha I can live with Brandon.

    It really is a brilliant book. Almost as if it was written with affiliates in mind.

  • Getting this book in a couple weeks (for my bday)…is there a lot covered about writing affective copy? My main goal is to learn how to copywrite and copywrite well.

  • Finch,

    Just wanted to say how much I like your style man. Your posts are always informative in one way, or the other.

    Thanks for posting up so much copywriting info and opinions lately — it’s a passion of mine, which always makes your blog a great read.

  • I was going to buy this book a few weeks back but never ended up getting it, seems that was my mistake! I just ordered, hope to learn a thing or two about proper copy writing.

  • Thanks for this post – it reminded me to pull out an older book again, that helped me in better adressing my visitors: “Motivational Marketing” by Robert Imbriale.
    Finding out and adressing what your visitor/target really wants boosts conversions tremendously.

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