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How teasing “ethically forces” your customers to buy

Last night, my girl and I watched Spider-Man: No Way Home.

And, it made me think of, perhaps, one of my favorite persuasion tricks known to mankind:


Like a 4th grader with his first crush.

Allow your humble narrator to explain:

(And before we dive in, yes, there will be spoilers for this movie if you continue scrolling. The movie came out in December, so I’m assuming you don’t want to see it if you haven’t seen it already.)

For years before its release, rumors floated around that Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire would come back to reprise their roles as their own respective Spider-Man. In fact, the year leading up the release, interviewers asked Garfield at every opportunity if he was in Spider-Man. And he had to lie to their faces for a year straight.

As the movie got closer to releasing, sources even leaked pictures of the three Spider-Men—Tom Holland, Andrew Garfield, and Tobey Maguire—standing next to each other, dressed in their Spider-Man costumes.

Yet, since nobody confirmed that both Garfield and Maguire were in it and because Garfield kept denying his involvement during interviews, nobody was certain (even if many fans assumed they’d be in the movie).

In one of the trailers for Spider-Man: No Way Home, there’s a shot of a single Spider-Man facing off against Electro, The Lizard, and Sandman all at once.

And here’s where the teasing intensifies:

Marvel digitally removed the other two Spider-Men in that scene for the trailer. But if you pay close enough attention, you can see The Lizard’s face get hit with a haymaker, from seemingly nobody.

Marvel knew about all the rumors.

Instead of confirming or denying it, they went along with it. They added fuel to the mysterious fire.

They sprinkled more suspicion about Garfield’s and Maguire’s appearance with every opportunity they had. They even had Tom Holland do a teaser where he says something along the lines of “I’m with my two best friends here…” alluding to the other Spider-Men, until the camera revealed MJ and Ned instead of the other Spider-Men.

In other words…

They teased their audience like a schoolgirl.

The results?

Spider-Man: No Way Home made $760.988 million in the U.S. and Canada, making it the third highest grossing domestic film ever, unseating Avatar.

The movie grossed $1.8 billion worldwide.

Even more impressive?

This happened during the pandemic.

While I never panicked because of a virus, many people did. Especially movie goers for whatever reason.

Before Spider-Man, the top grossing films since covid ravaged the world and normal life was Shang-Chi ($224M), Venom: Let There Be Carnage ($212M), and Black Widow ($183M).

Spider-Man beat all of these combined.

And if’n my memory serves me correctly, the covid numbers were “worse” during Spider-Man’s release because this covid virus acted a lot like the flu virus — more dangerous and contagious during winter and less so during summer.

Despite all that… Spider-Man dominated.

In fact, the only movie which grossed more than Spider-Man in recent history (including pre-pandemic life) was Avengers: Endgame, which came out in April 2019 — long before covid hit.

And a lot of this comes down to teasing.


You can actually credit a lot of the MCU’s success to teasing.

Since Iron Man hit the screens in 2008, Marvel teased their audience about what’s to come with their post-credits scenes.

Don’t overlook the importance of this, young grasshopper.

Marvel “conditioned” their audience to sit through over 5 minutes of credits to watch the post-credits scene for each movie. People even sat in their seats after Avengers: Infinity War — only to find out there wasn’t a post-credits scene. I can’t think of anything more boring than watching the Hollywood collective get their 15 seconds of fame during the credits to inflate their already massive egos.

Yet, that’s the power of teasing.

Do it properly, and you turn into Pavlov and every customer, lead, and partner is your dog. Obeying every command you give them with no more than a “boof.”

And you know what?

This will be even more impactful in your business.

No, I’m not saying you’ll make more moolah than Marvel (or their parent company, Disney).

But you’ll decimate your competitors in a similar fashion to the way Marvel has dominated DC for the last 20 years. And since your competitors aren’t as established as DC, they won’t stand a chance.

As for customers?

They’ll devour every email you send and every product or service you promote. And then they’ll thank you for teasing them.

Very powerful stuff, indeed.

As long as you know how to wield it.

Need help teasing your audience until they turn into raving fanatics?



P.S. This power can be used for good and evil. I hope you make the right choice and use it for good. We have enough evil lizard people in our world as it is.

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