Everyone knows we’re motivated by sex, greed, and fear, right?

Well yeah … and a whole bunch of other things. This, from Chip and Dan Heath’s FANTASTIC book Made to Stick:

“Even John Caples, the mail-order copywriter, admits that there are powerful motivations outside narrow self-interest. He tells a story about a marketer who was promoting a new educational film on fire safety that was intended to help firemen. This marketer had been taught that there are three basic consumer appeals: sex, greed, and fear.

The marketer’s instinct was that greed would work best in this situation. He came up with a couple of ideas for free giveaways that would persuade firemen to check out the film.

He began calling local units to figure out which giveaway would have the most appeal. When he called, he would describe the new film and ask, “Would you like to see the film for possible purchase for your educational programs?” The universal answer was an enthusiastic “Yes!”

The second question tested two versions of his greed appeal: “Would your firefighters prefer a large electric popcorn popper or an excellent set of chef’s carving knives as a thank-you for reviewing the film?” The first two calls yielded definitive answers to this question: “Do you think we’d use a fire safety program because of some #*$@%! popcorn popper?!” The marketer stopped asking about the free gifts.”