What do all the following have in common ?
Love it or hate it (Marmite)
Probably the best lager in the world (Carlsberg)
and this famous ad for VW:
They are all highly successful examples of the pratfall effect
which is this:-
Displaying weakness increases empathy and like-ability.
Imperfection and making mistakes are the stuff of our daily lives – and so we are more likely to identify with the person or brand that says, well, I am prone to error too.
The real-life sense of contingency in the word “probably” makes Carlsberg’s line effective. If the line had been -” The best lager in the world” that would be merely boastful and unrealistic – the sort of thing that a pompous corporation might say rather than tongue in cheek line that you might hear in a bar
Perhaps some errors are too big to admit, which might explain why Tony Blair won’t do so about WMD and the Iraq war. His god complex stops him from doing so. He is never never wrong. (Nor is Jeremy Corbyn – another man with a god complex)
But it might also explain why people are not prepared to listen to Blair about Brexit – even though he is the most coherent politician on the topic I have heard so far.