Weird title?

One of the speakers at The Art Of Marketing conference, in Toronto, this past Tuesday, was Sally Hogshead. Her presentation was brilliant and amazingly executed. She’s one of those presenters who can keep the audience actively engaged, and she did it in one of the most unique ways I’ve ever seen – she offered shots of Jägermeister.

Photos by Sheila Goldgrab,

Sally was looking for “Jägermeister virgins.” Those are people who have never tasted the cult classic better known as “Jager”. Sally’s goal wasn’t to get the audience all ‘liquor’ed’ up in the hope that we might enjoy her presentation more, instead she was proving a point. Jägermeister is a brand that sells close to a 100 million bottles a year and most people don’t like it. In fact,  most people despise the taste of Jäger.

Since none of us like it, why the heck are we buying and drinking it at such an alarming rate? The reason we drink it is we’re fascinated by it –  hence the title of Sally’s new book “Fascinate.” (which I plan to read as soon as I can)

I can remember the rumors from back in High School, (all of which Sally mentioned) in “It’s made of  Elk’s Blood,” “It’s got drugs in it,” etc. All of which are false by the way.

The real truth here is that this is the primary reason we continue to consume massive amounts of this stuff. Even though it tastes bad, we’re fascinated by it, and there is a trigger of fascination in play that’s influencing our decisions.

Sally says there are seven Triggers that are used to fascinate us and trigger a response or desired action from us, like buying something; Ta-da.

The seven triggers are:

  • Mystique – Jägger is made of Elk’s blood and contains hallucinogens – McDonald’s Secret Sauce – The KFC Secret Recipe – That’s mystique.
  • Power – We’re fascinated and influenced by people of power and control. Power is the ability to motivate but also create fear. To me, power is seen in the people and leaders who challenge the status quo. They rise up and say, “wait a minute, why do that when you could be doing this?” Everyone else is doing “that.” It’s the top film critic who motivates us to go see this movie over another. That is power.
  • Lust – The seduction of pleasure! I want that now! The giant big mac on the billboard, as the perfect hamburger, is almost irresistible and we can taste it.  The dipping of strawberries into oozing milk chocolate. That’s lust.
  • Alarm – “Only 20 copies left……Order now” “You’ve got to call in the next 90 minutes if you want all 743 knives for only three easy payments of $19.95.” That’s alarm.
  • Trust – Sally gave the example of Toyota for trust. Trust is the hardest trigger to use properly. The entire brand of Toyota for over 100 years was built using trust. Trust of quality, trust of safety, trust they were doing things right. Now it’s broken. That “was” trust.
  • Vice – Sally mentioned the story of Tiger and the temptation of the forbidden fruit. He  was obviously fascinated enough that he grabbed it, multiple times. We’re tempted by the vice trigger constantly, and that’s the reason we’re so fascinated by the Tiger saga. That’s  vice.
  • Prestige –  Think of expensive watches or fine champagne like Dom Perignon. Of course, it’s not just expensive and luxury items to create prestige. It’s also present when Lance Armstrong wins another race , or  when Visa runs comeback story ads during the Olympics.  Success – the finish line – the accomplishment. That’s prestige.

Everyone of us naturally use these triggers within our personalities. Sally has provided a test you can take to see which triggers you naturally use to trigger fascination. Take the “F-Test” now.

Thanks Sally for a great presentation!