Is Honesty the Best Policy?
One day, while in a particularly impoverished area of San Francisco, my friends and I were approached by a homeless man. Instead of saying "Can I have money for food?" he asked my friend, "Can I have money for crack-cocaine?" Wow. We all exchanged looks. How honest was that? Did it work? Well one out of four of us gave him a dollar and wished him luck.
On another occasion, in front of a hotel, a man came up and began singing to us, telling us he could have gotten a degree in music, but he hit hard times. That time two out of three of us gave money to the panhandler. What's the point? Sometimes we want the sugar-coating. Who knows what the real intentions were, but it seemed as though it were easier when the money was involved to buy into the sugar-coated, doublespeak story.
What does this mean for your products? Well, it may mean that the sugar-coating is easier to digest. We want the all-in-one quick fix but, the thing is, if that quick fix is expensive, doesn't work, or has unwanted side effects, does that keep us from buying it? Well, if you look at the painful-to-watch pharmaceutical commercials, it doesn't seem to! People still ask for various prescriptions despite the doomsday-sounding list of potential side effects. In fact, listing the side effects (even if it is mandated) may make people trust the company more than they otherwise would.