Cause Marketing and Just Plain Persuasion

Let’s do some math.

Add together:

Unilever, on behalf of four brands, Degree Women, Ragú, Simple, and Vaseline; Women’s Health magazine, published by Rodale . . . with film and television stars including Elizabeth Banks, Joel McHale, Leelee Sobieski, Kerry Washington and Allison Williams . . . and finally, include Forevermark diamonds, sold by De Beers; the Gap division of Gap Inc.; Starbucks; and Summer’s Eve, sold by the C.B. Fleet Company.

Put all these sources together and we will . . .

. . . fight hunger in the United States . . .

Only with persuasion can you combine celebrities with deodorant, skin lotion, petroleum jelly, diamonds, khakis, coffee, and douche to fight hunger and actually make money on the proposition. Call it Cause Marketing and you’ve got good, old fashioned persuasion in the guise of a New New Thing.

Here’s how we make this work. Running!

Each person who registers to run in 10-kilometer races to be held in New York and 10 other cities from Sept. 23 through Oct. 13, will result in donations through the foundation of 10 meals to people in need in the runner’s community. Those who cannot run in the 11 races can also take part, by using a Web site,, to plot routes where they live.

So. Other Guys run to feed the hungry. Love that ironic enthymeme. Run to lose weight and the weight you lose running we give to hungry people!

And, let’s organize that through the Web with an emphasis upon Web 2.0 so you can hook in your Facebook friends. We’ll always make sure something like this appears.

So, we push this message through running magazines and get runners to promote the Run 10 Feed 10 brand through their Social Media connections. Think of all the Exposure and Reception we generate beyond our own advertising costs!

And, all of our advertising messages propagate through our advertising and all the Other Guys Social Media sharing always showing our slogans, icons, images, and logos. And, gee, do you think we should put that Run 10 Feed 10 logo on the boxes of our deodorants, diamonds, and douches?

Plus, and no one has mentioned this yet, since this is charitable work, we get a tax deduction!

And, yeah, even the NYTimes writer caught this . . .

“The buzz in social media” around a brand’s support of a cause can create “a halo effect” to burnish its image, said Jonah Sachs, chief executive at Free Range Studios and the author of a new book, “Winning the Story Wars” (Harvard Business Review Press).

So, even if you don’t buy deodorant, diamonds, or douche from us, you’ll see our brand in a good light. We care about feeding the hungry in America!

Gee. Has anybody told President Obama that there are hungry people in America? Why isn’t he campaigning on that?

All Bad Persuasion Is Sincere.

P.S. Where’s Ashton Kutcher? Or Ted Danson? How are they going to keep Jamie Oliver out of this spotlight? Can’t he cook for hungry people, too?

P.P.S. Get The Lancet and their Physical Activity Working Group involved. In this campaign, no one is Sitting!!!

Climate Change Goes To Court

You Cannot Persuade a Falling Apple.

So I Rulify in part to distinguish science from persuasion. When you’ve got Falling Apples you don’t need no stinkin’ Cues or Arguments. You just need an apple tree and Other Guys to sit underneath. Science does the rest.

Consider that as you consider this.

Now the climate scientist Michael E. Mann may be laying the groundwork for his own version of that trial, threatening to sue National Review for defamation. The offending piece was a blog post by Mark Steyn, which described Dr. Mann as “the man behind the fraudulent climate-change ‘hockey-stick’ graph, the very ringmaster of the tree-ring circus.”

Dr. Mann, who claims to know Falling Apples, seeks Peitho as protection against the Deniers, Liars, and Fools who dispute him and his science. He is planning a libel lawsuit against Steyn and the political magazine the National Review.

Please. I understand that seeing your name dragged through the mud in print is no fun and, sure, you want to respond. But why not let the Falling Apples do your talking for you? See the contrast between science and persuasion here. Ignore all the information about climate and just focus on Mann’s play here. A scientist wants to sue for libel over his work with Falling Apples? Can you imagine Albert Einstein suing a Luddite who disputed e=mc2? If you have the science, then persuasion makes no sense.

Thus, I’d argue through analysis with the principles of persuasion that Dr. Mann doesn’t know science and certainly doesn’t believe in it. And in so doing he falls afoul of another Rule of Persuasion.

All Bad Persuasion Is Sincere.

Noisy Beats Persuasion Play

Let’s get the due diligence out of the way of the persuasion. Yes. Noise is bad for your health, and not just the health of your ears and hearing. Noise can produce bad headaches, hypertension, and a foul mood.

But, on the persuasion bright side Noisy Beats moves the Other Guys to the TACTs you want.

At the Abercrombie flagship on a recent afternoon, a preteen girl plunged wide-eyed into the darkness as loud beats poured from dozens of speakers. Her mother and her grandmother trailed her. The grandmother, Nancy Hilem, 56, of Bucks County, Pa., said they had been in the shop 10 minutes but it felt as if it had been an hour because of the noise. Normally calm — she works at a funeral parlor — Ms. Hilem found herself jumpy . . . According to Mr. Mayberry, that is exactly what Abercrombie wants: for loud music to keep out older people while teenagers venture in with their parents’ credit cards. “You can control your audience,” he said. “If you want young people in there, give them a specific type of sound.”

Kids with credit cards buying to the Noisy Beat that drives out their keepers!

Wyatt Magnum, a music designer, slipped into the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square on a recent night and trotted down stairs to the restaurants . . . Mr. Magnum homed in on the tempo, and guessed it to be about 125 beats per minute — about the same as the Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up.” It is the perfect tempo, Mr. Magnum noted, for turning tables . . . “It gets louder and faster and causes people to eat and leave,” he said.

Start Me Up and get them out of there. Turnover, baby!

And the NYT article even provides a quick review of the peer review lit!

There is research supporting Mr. Magnum’s theory. In 1985, a study by Fairfield University in Connecticut reported that people ate faster when background music was sped up, from 3.83 to 4.4 bites per minute. Nicolas Gueguen, a professor of behavioral sciences at the Université de Bretagne-Sud in France, reported in the October 2008 edition of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research that higher volumes led beer drinkers in a bar to imbibe more. When the bar’s music was 72 decibels, people ordered an average of 2.6 drinks and took 14.5 minutes to finish one. But when the volume was turned up to 88 decibels, customers ordered an average of 3.4 drinks and took 11.5 minutes to finish each one.

We’ve also seen the persuasive uses of music before in the Persuasion Blog. Cops give the Fifth, Beethoven’s Fifth that is, to disperse teen loiterers from certain street corners. And, the city managers pipe groovy tunes to calm the natives and passersby in crowded downtown areas. Finally, we’ve also how various manipulations of speed, move Other Guys to the TACT on the Peripheral Route.

The Noisy Beats Persuasion Play combines music and speed with volume to pull and push Other Guys in or out as desired. It really is that simple.

I’ll close with a teaching example from my past. From 1986 to 1999 I taught a large lecture Intro to Mass Media course to 400 undergrads in a converted theatre. I always arrived during the passing period to do Office Hour in the classroom and did a lot of quick business that would have consumed a lot more time if executed in my office. During the passing period I played a upbeat songs on a boom box or through the PA system or put on music videos on a big screen. High energy songs. Sometimes songs that primed up the concept for the day (pornography, violence, politics, stereotyping, etc.). When the song ended, the class began and after the first day everyone got the Ding-Dong, For Me? When music is playing, talk; when the music stops, listen to Steve. With 400 people in a room, such tricks work well.

And, the class ran 75 minutes. No one can sit in a theatre style chair and room for 75 minutes without getting antsy. So about halfway through each class, I’d take a Rock Break. Again either music through the PA or a video on the screen. Everyone could get up and do something, chatter away with a neighbor, do some Office Hours with me, whatever. A 3 to 5 minute break that let everyone be a normal human for awhile, then when the music stopped, Ding-Dong, listen to Steve.

I was able to maintain a much higher level of content intensity and speed with this music play. I could start with the higher energy from the opening music and run hard for 30 or 40 minutes until I hit a natural break in the content. Then we’d ease off for a few minutes with a little background musical energy in the room. Then I’d grab everyone with a new start in the content even though we were halfway through a regular class session. I essentially got to make two Big Openings with every session and run hard and fast in each.

Some other professors absolutely hated my guts and thought that this was just a showboating move aimed at pandering to the students. They never saw the persuasion application and its utility for basic instructional technique, especially in that large lecture context. I used loud, fast music to generate Time on Task and Momentum. I could control the WATTage of 400 people with literally the press of a button, turning it down during the music, then turning it up for the lecture. Everyone learned that if they ran hard for 35 minutes, they’d get a fun Low WATT break. They were ready to run hard again for another 35 minutes for the Second Act.

Do you think this generated any positive affect toward me, the class, the content, the room? Hey, after the first couple of sessions I started recruiting music from the room, first spontaneously, then with a sign up sheet. Do you see any instructional applications for music videos? How about Rockers? For several units in the class, I’d start the content with a rock video that showed images and scenes to illustrate the unit (pornography, violence, stereotyping . . . you know the drill) set to a classic or contemporary song. Hey, think about Metallica’s Enter Sandman for a rocker on violence. INXS and the Devil Inside for a porn rocker. And then students started making their own rockers inspired by their learning in the course and I’d play some of them as intros or spotlights.

Persuasion is shooting fish in a barrel when you understand fish, barrels, and shooting.

P.S. Yes. My left arm is that long. Yes. I taught on tippy toe or En Pointe as my Movement teachers whispered as they smacked my butt with a stick to motivate better form. Bill Young apparently did this cartoon tribute after the Comics Unit since we’ve got Batman and a Swastika up there. But, the balloon caption references sex, so this may be inspired by the Pornography unit. How Batman and a Swastika figure in that says more about Bill Young’s memory than it does about the content of the porn unit . . . I tried for the look of a lead singer in a hair band, but apparently Bill thought I looked more like Leon Trotsky. Neither is a bad metaphor for the large lecture hall.

Selling the Sell with Counting eScores

Color me skeptical, but you make your own decision. Read the Times.

These digital scores, known broadly as consumer valuation or buying-power scores, measure our potential value as customers. What’s your e-score? You’ll probably never know. That’s because they are largely invisible to the public. But they are highly valuable to companies that want — or in some cases, don’t want — to have you as their customer. Online consumer scores are calculated by a handful of start-ups, as well as a few financial services stalwarts, that specialize in the flourishing field of predictive consumer analytics. It is a Google-esque business, one fueled by almost unimaginable amounts of data and powered by complex computer algorithms. The result is a private, digital ranking of American society unlike anything that has come before.

Those bad boy marketing guys have lasered in on Big Data to invent your Easy Ripe and Luscious eScore. As the NYT article darkly observes, They know you better than yourself and have reduced all the Big Data on you to a single number, the eScore.

A couple of observations.

1. Is the Times writer on the payroll? This is yet another instance of an ink-stained wretch carrying water for somebody else, in this instance, Big Marketing with Big Data. The writer is all in with the eScore with absolutely no evidence of Speaking Truth to Power much less any Critical Thinking.

2. I’m guessing that the eScore is a guess, an educated guess, at how much money you spend online. While it is probably extremely highly correlated with income and education (gee, imagine that?) the eScore might identify those unusual types who spend way too much online. If so, an eScore is nothing new.

3. If you are in the e-business, you need to keep your head on a swivel and your hand on your wallet when Big Marketing with Big Data touts eScores to you. They are clearly packaging Old News in Big Data and trying to sell the Past to you in the Present for a Premium. If you bought Facebook during the first week, you’re a great candidate for the eScore Persuasion Play™!

4. Big Data boils down to an eScore. Come on. Can you believe how gullible American journalism is? Can you believe how gullible American business is? Big Data counts higher than the Kardashians yet you can sum it up in a number that ranges from 0 to 99. You mean, like percentiles?

5. Remember the Rule: If You Can’t Count It, You Can’t Change It. Now, recall its Corollary: Just Because You Can Count It, Doesn’t Mean You Can Change It.

Ask the Big Marketing guy to Count the Change. He’ll show you the Big Data version. It might look something like this (click to enlarge).

Or he’ll talk in metaphors when he’s got numbers. He’ll say something like this (click to enlarge).

Kids, ask for a Windowpane from the Big Marketing guy sitting across from you. Real easy. Like this.

The Count you want is the Count of Change, not the Count of Terabytes or the Velocity of Dynamic Overflow or the Impendence of Resistant Consumers. And the Count of Change can always, accurately, and honestly appear in a Windowpane. Always.

Now or Later?

Of course, when you’re helping Other Guys you are helping because you are . . . helpful and, shucks, you don’t want anything for helping . . . but if you do want at least credit for helping Other Guys then do this.

Ask them how helpful you are while you are giving the help.

Other Guys are more appreciative of the help they receive when They make their evaluation during the help rather than after the help. Note the time. During. Not after. Now. Not later.

This comes indirectly from an interesting series of experiments just published in Psych Science. In one study, participants played a kind of So You Want to be a Millionaire game and could call a friend as a Lifeline. When participants wanted to make a Lifeline call, they were randomly assigned to a Timing manipulation. Some were asked to rate the help during the call while others rated it after the call.

Beneficiaries (contestants) in the ongoing-game condition were more appreciative (M = 5.72, SD = 0.67) than those in the completed-game condition (M = 4.84, SD = 1.01), t(35) = 3.10, p = .004, d = 1.03.

Yeah, that d of 1 is a very Large effect size, a Windowpane of nearly 15/85. Appreciation, which is another way of saying Attitude, is more favorable during an act of helpfulness than after the act.

The research team extends and details this effect in additional experiments aimed more at understanding helpfulness in interpersonal relationships. The point of their work is not the persuasion angle I’m pulling from it, but their data are consistent with my line of reasoning. They consistently find Medium to Large effects for this Evaluation Timing. During always produces more persuasive outcomes than After.

The Box here is simple. Some Other Guy asks for your help. That request activates the key element in the Local, simplifies the psychology, and predisposes a Play. The Play here is very easy. While you are giving help, ask a question like -

Am I helping you with this right now?

It will sound like a request from you for feedback – hey, will these pliers help or do you need a hammer instead? The persuasion effect, however, is to trigger an attitudinal evaluation from the Other Guy. When asked during the help, the attitude will be more intense than if you wait to ask after the help. Of course, you need to deliver Good Help, too.

Sure, it makes sense that people feel more grateful while getting the help than after. You’ve been stuck in some difficult situation that plagues you enough to ask for assistance. You know that is not a fun situation; that’s why you’re asking for help! During the help, you still feel that tension, worry, and uncertainty until, voilá, the help works and you’re free. Whew. The relief.

Doesn’t it make sense that the request during the help (and the problem) should have greater impact than after the help?

So, to ensure that your selfless helpfulness gets all the credit it deserves, get the attitude evaluation during the help. Like when the boss is the one asking for the assistance. Hey, it probably would work even better if someone other than you asked the Other Guy to make the attitude rating, replicating more precisely these experiments. You could partner up with a persuasion buddy. Of course, you’re now left with the uncomfortable problem of knowing how to look good when you were just trying to do good.

Persuasion is a wicked tool.

Benjamin A. Converse and Ayelet Fishbach. (2012). Instrumentality Boosts Appreciation: Helpers Are More Appreciated While They Are Useful. Psychological Science, first published on April 26, 2012


My Way with Barack Obama

You always have to take a pop press story with many grains of salt and when it is a Political Analysis, you also need a shot of tequila. With that in mind, please read this Politico story on President Obama and his lonely pursuit of power. This paragraph pretty much gives it up.

The sense that Obama simply won’t sacrifice his brand, or image as a winner, for the greater Democratic good is widespread in Democratic circles. Over the past four years, he has led his party through the political wars, including some they didn’t want to fight, while managing to forge only a handful of new relationships with Democrats outside his tight circle. He’s toiled shoulder to shoulder with his party’s leaders, but just as assiduously distanced himself from his fellow Democrats to cultivate the image of bipartisanship or avoid the taint of single-digit congressional approval ratings.

We’ll ignore the eerie echo of Jimmy Carter in that description and focus on the persuasion and power implications. The story develops the perception I’ve had of Mr. Obama since 2008. He’s just not a persuasion guy. He’s focused upon himself and his goals and has trouble following the Rule:

It’s about the Other Guy, Stupid.

Here’s a great contrast between Obama and George W. Bush on that Other Guy orientation. Check this out.

These days, Obama’s messaging is strikingly in tune with that of down-ballot Democrats. Yet there’s a nagging sense among some headed to Charlotte that Obama is an enthusiastic Democrat who remains oddly unenthusiastic about other Democrats. “I’ve been on Air Force One twice — with George W. Bush,” said one Democratic lawmaker, representing the sentiment of a half-dozen prominent Democrats interviewed by POLITICO.

That idiot Bush showed more persuasion sense with Democrats than Obama! Think on that. Bush, the Republican, worked harder on Democrats, than Obama, another Democrat.

Part of Obama’s persuasion problem resides in his advisors. Listen to David Axlerod, a senior campaign leader for Obama.

“We have a message now,” he added. “It’s: ‘Let’s not go back to the Dark Ages.’”

A Not TACT from your chief campaign advisor. Sure, it’s a quote from an interview with lots of questions and stuff going on in the context. But Axlerod is supposed to be the persuasion maven who’s playing every angle, counting every card. And, he’s dumb enough to frame his TACTs as Nots. To quote Larry Gelbart through Hawkeye Pierce from M*A*S*H – he’s got the light touch of a German jazz band.

Yet, Obama is in a great position to win re-election, a tough challenge for every man who’s tried it. Despite the fact that Obama couldn’t persuade a frat boy at a kegger, he got elected President once and may do it again. Thus, you see the limits of persuasion. While progressives, liberals, and lefties like to see Barack Obama as a paragon of civic virtue, he’s more a power guy than a persuasion guy. And Mr. Obama could power his way to re-election with nary a Nudge along the way.

In so doing Obama proves his affection for that nearly forgotten Chicago-school persuasion philosopher, Al Capone, who Rulified about power and persuasion a long time ago.

AARP and the Market-Maker Persuasion Play

AARP is an outstanding example of applied persuasion and I cannot recommend it more strongly as a case study. AARP sells an image to people who think that image translates into action for them. Thus, AARP has mastered the art of General Semantics and knows how to sell the word for the thing all the while looking efficacious and powerful while remaining a persuasive Man Behind The Curtain.

AARP was nothing more than a nonprofit marketing plan that benefitted the owners of the brand. The organization has very quietly added a profit-making arm to their work and can thus move between both worlds. AARP builds an audience of people over 55 and then sells that segment to other businesses, often earning a cut of the sales, as with insurance. While doing this, AARP presents itself as a public group that fights for the rights of Seniors or Retirees or, now, anyone who pays a membership fee. AARP uses the symbolic power of its image to inject itself into key issues, particularly related to Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid, grabbing a seat at negotiating tables, while representing an imagined audience.

Of course, AARP represents no one, holds no elections, does not respond to shareholders or even the public. Yet, many people who “belong” to AARP think of it as a kind of union rep for them when AARP is just applied persuasion. See an example of that applied persuasion with AARP latest ad campaign.

A new campaign aimed at advertisers themselves features people in their 50s and early 60s, and argues that brands should be focusing on them, not people ages 18 to 34, commonly referred to by the marketers who covet them as millennials.

AARP is so strong in its image that it can literally display only that image to other advertisers, marketers, and businesses under the very noses of the people that image supposedly represents. Thus, AARP is publicly saying that they’ve got an audience for sale while that audience watches the sale. This ad campaign from AARP clearly aims at selling its audience to the financial benefit of other businesses – not the AARP audience’s benefit – and the campaign runs in broad daylight.

I suspect that any AARP members who might happen across this ad campaign will nonetheless react positively to it. They will doubtless see it as AARP raising their profile in public, making them more attractive to other people. Consider a couple of the ads.

Do you see the double-play here? The attractive models in the ads are attractive to both other advertisers and to AARP members. Doubtless the other ad guys see the persuasion play from AARP and run the numbers. Can they really make more money if they cooperate with AARP who will deliver a particular audience? And, just as doubtless, the other AARP audience members will identify with the pretty pictures in the AARP campaign and miss the fact that they’ve just been sold to the highest bidder by those brave, kind, and heroic folks at AARP.

The depth of nuance with AARP persuasion is astounding. AARP looks like an organized lobby that represents millions of people in a rule-bound, cooperative group when AARP does nothing, sells nothing, delivers nothing. AARP is in that persuasion sweet spot between different Other Guys, living just behind the marketplace of ideas and economics it created through persuasion.

AARP built or found segments of Other Guys – people over 55 most obviously, then people wanting to sell goods and services to people over 55, then government agencies doing services for people over 55, then political organizations doing services for voters over 55 and on and on with dividing Other Guys into players. Then AARP invented different scenes for these different players. You get a standard business scene when AARP members buy insurance from an AARP sponsored carrier. You get a government scene with AARP members respond to an AARP request to contact elected government officials. You get a political scene when AARP sits at a table with different political units.

AARP never risks anything other than its image and never sells or delivers anything other than its image. AARP collects money from these transactions just like any other market-maker. It’s not surprising when Goldman Sachs does this, but when you see a nonprofit doing it, you need to study them carefully. AARP does a double difficult persuasion, focusing not on just one Other Guy, but always on at least two Other Guys and finding ways to bring those two parties together in a way that must always benefit AARP’s image.

If you do it right, you can build and own a building like this in downtown DC and still present yourself as a nonprofit!

Sitting Meta-tacular

Now we’ve got a meta so you know that it is true!

Begin with the literature search.

The systematic literature search yielded a total of 460 abstracts for review.

Who knew that there were 460 peer reviewed studies that investigated the relationship between sitting and dying? What?

From these, 455 were excluded, yielding five full articles, which were retrieved. The reasons for abstract exclusion included non-human studies (n=4), reviews, commentaries or methods papers (n=51) and not studying either sitting or television viewing as an exposure and all-cause mortality as the outcome (n=400).

A systematic search finds 460 relevant studies except for the 455 that were irrelevant? Yes. Of course. You must start with a very broad search for data in a meta analysis.

So. Now. We’ve got a meta analysis of 5 peer review studies. That’s better than a meta analysis of, say, 2 peer review studies or 3 or 4. I guess 5 is a pretty good number after all. But it is a meta, so now we know the truth.

Sure, you can carp and complain like that jabbering yahoo at the Persuasion Blog. Sure, none of the studies in this truthy meta analysis had random selection of participants or random assignment to conditions or experimenter controlled conditions or consistent and reliable measurement of physical activity or the same set of adjusted variables or any of that other scientific fru-fru. We got Big Data and several Stat Boys and Girls and more computing power than the Apollo moon shot. We’ll find the truth no matter how many regression models we have to test!

Yeah. We did have a problem with the levels of sitting variable. All 5 studies used slightly different category systems like None versus Some or <3 hours versus >3 hours and some didn’t exactly have a clear category system, some kinda continuous scoring of sitting. So . . .

However, given that the exposure categories from the Canadian cohort study were not quantifiable in terms of absolute hours per day, some misclassification may have occurred when combining the results.

Yes. A potential source of error in the meta has been found and acknowledged and now we can get to the truth. What? Of course we tested different classification schemes with those Canadian data. We report the one that yields congenial results, you idiot. But, no, we didn’t mention that and maybe we didn’t test different classification schemes on the Canadian data. Ask the Stat Girl. Or the Stat Boy. Get to the truth!

The PAFs for all-cause mortality associated with sitting and television viewing were 27% and 19%, respectively. The results of the life table analyses indicate a gain in life expectancy from reducing the prevalence of sedentary behaviour from level 2 or 3 to level 1 results in a gain of 2.00 years for reducing sitting prevalence and a gain of 1.38 years from reducing television viewing prevalence. The lower and upper limits from the sensitivity analyses were 1.39 and 2.69 years for sitting and 0.48 and 2.51 years for television viewing, respectively.

What are the PAFs? That’s Population Attributable Fraction which means out of all the factors that kill people how much does this particular factor kill. It is an extremely delightful style of playing chords on the statistics guitar such that including or excluding one factor can vastly change the sound. So that means if you included something like Smoking then the PAF for Sitting may get smaller. We only adjusted for sex and age, so God only knows what the PAFs would be if we had other factors like Smoking or Eating Bacon or, man, I wish we had this, Drinking Full Strength Soda Pop. Reminds me. Gotta start the next grant application!

What? Sure, we’ll lead that new grant application with references to all those open minded news sources who picked up our PR kit and rocketed this truthy meta analysis across the infoscape.

Well, yes, technically this is a very Small Windowpane according to that jabbering yahoo at the Persuasion Blog and if you want to be a research and grant killing critic, you could carp and complain about the reliability and validity of such a small effect against all those carping concerns about sampling, assignment, control, and measurement error, and selective adjustment, and being dumb enough to use search terms that return 460 hits of which only 5 are usable, but frankly that’s hitting below the belt, don’t you think? And especially when you realize that people much smarter than him, those reviewers and editors at BMJ Open (not to be confused with the older and perhaps more respected, but only just a bit more, BMJ Closed) actually read the paper and signed off on it.

And, besides, you can’t really criticize us for the bad methods because we didn’t actually do the studies. Other researchers actually did them, so all those carping concerns should be directed at those other miscreants. We just did a properly run meta analysis, which, well, yes, is just adding up everyone else’s numbers. But, don’t forget. We had to do that classification of the Canadian study! I mean, this is much more than monkeys with H-P calculators. Monkeys might eventually hit upon our scheme, but we got there a lot faster and smarter.

So, what’s next? Now, we’re pushing this down the line to the applied guys and recommending that those slower, duller little brothers in communication and persuasion start beating their campaign drums with a Stop Sitting™ intervention.

Yes, we’ve trademarked that. It’s brilliant!