The Stealth Secret to Persuading Prospects that Buying from Big Pharma…

Will Cause their Worst Nightmare to come true

Even when marketers and copywriters face a behemoth of a competitor like Big Pharma — they can still eliminate them from consideration quickly and subtly. (Photo courtesy of Qimono on Pixabay.)

Accusations of large-scale child sacrifice were hurled at Big Pharma last fall.

Apparently, the zeal which the pharmaceutical giants pushed their possibly poisonous vaccines on healthy 5- to 11-year olds shocked and angered many.

It shouldn’t have.

These companies’ zest for profits over people’s lives is well documented.

Imagine all the devastation, duplicity, and death hidden in the following data:(1)

Johnson & Johnson, Penalty total since 2000: $9,248,447,763, Number of records: 59

Primary offense types: Price-fixing or anti-competitive practices, off-label or unapproved promotion of medical products, False Claims Act and related, drug or medical equipment safety violation, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

Pfizer, Penalty total since 2000: $4,660,896,333, Number of records: 71

Primary offense types: off-label or unapproved promotion of medical products, False Claims Act and related, drug or medical equipment safety violation, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, environmental violations

AstraZeneca LP, Penalty since 2010: $520,000,000

Primary offense types: off-label or unapproved promotion of medical products

And then there’s…

Merck, Penalty total since 2000, $5,548,085,581, Number of records: 78

Primary offense types: Bribery and kickbacks, tax violations, off-label or unapproved promotion of medical products, False Claims Act and related, drug or medical equipment safety violation.(1)

But Merck is most infamous for its 1999–2004 Vioxx debacle.

During that period, close to 140,000 Americans of the four million who took the arthritis drug suffered heart attacks. 60,000 of them died as a result, noted FDA investigator, Dr. David Graham.(2)

Medical researchers accused Merck scientists of altering clinical trial results to hide evidence that Vioxx boosted heart attack risk.(3)

Why Big Pharma is as popular as a schoolyard bully

Overall, Big Pharma is one of the world’s most dominant industries. But it’s in the U.S. where the drug and medical device giants have the most money, power, and prestige.(4)

However, only 28 percent of Americans share a favorable view of them. In fact, they’re hated more than the tobacco industry.(4)

Big Pharma is also the biggest defrauder of the federal government under the False Claims Act, accuses Public Citizen, a consumer watchdog group.

But despite a devious history of fraud, bribery, lawsuits, and scandals — plus criminal charges and huge fines — Big Pharma still thrives.

Competing against Big Pharma in your copy or content? Then you’ll have a hard time finding a nastier villain to, well, vilify.

Here’s how copy guru Colin Theriot,, describes the process of using a villain to get prospects on your, and your client’s, side. “In people’s minds, there are always some people they find detestable. People so alien and ‘other’ that anything and everything about those perceived enemies is to be resisted.”

And because your prospects and audience despise these groups and individuals, notes Theriot…

“…You can use this to get your marks to adapt your choice of ideas, and even buy your choice of products, simply by indicating that these disliked groups and individuals will HATE it or be harmed by it.”

It all comes down to our tribal biology, the persuasion expert explains.

We need strong connections with our immediate peer group. We look for ways to define an ‘us’ and the simplest is often to have a solid idea of who comprises ‘them, who are not us.’”

So find or designate who “they” are and you can drive the behavior and beliefs of those who long to be one of “us,” Theriot concludes.

(Photo courtesy of Jorono on Pixabay.)

How to bust Big Pharma’s chops with Language Patterns

The quickest most subtle method of making that “strong connection” in your copy or content is with Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Language Patterns.

These language templates bypass the conscious mind and cause your prospect to accept your statements without question, says Lou Larsen, author and distinguished NLP-based copywriter.

They’re “…actually quite difficult to block or question…because they slip right in” past people’s mental filters, he explains.(5)

Below, are 17 stealth patterns, with examples and explanations if necessary, you can use to attack Big Pharma.

Unlike other/most of its (group, product, services), (your product/services) doesn’t/won’t/isn’t (customer complaint about competition).(5)

Besides differentiating your business from Big Pharma or individual companies, this one can do two things. Highlight your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) or a factor you want to emphasize.

Unlike Big Pharma’s dangerous drugs, our nutritional supplements have zero side effects. Plus, we follow all safety protocols and dosage requirements in developing them.”

Unlike Ambien, Valium, Lunestra, and many other drugs, our melatonin-based sleeping supplements are proven safe and non-addictive.”(6)

These next three focus on producing the fear of pain and problems that Big Pharma product(s) can cause — in contrast to your offering(s).

You’ll never have (problem) like if you used competitor’s product.(5)

“You’ll never suffer the threat of dangerous side effects like if you used Big Pharma’s drugs.”

Of course, if you get specific with these devices, you need to reference a credible source. And if you’re attacking multiple Big Pharma drugs, make it easy by using the same source as I do here.

“You’ll never endure bouts of diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, and other nasty side effects like if you used Pfizer’s Zoloft.(6)

So (What you want prospects to do) or perish/fail/lose out. (Describe failure.) Sometimes it’s that critical.(5)

So get our new proven supplement for heartburn and avoid the dangerous side effects of Big Pharma’s drugs. Zantac and cancer…Prilosec and Nexium, kidney damage and bone fractures… Yes, your decision is that critical.”(4,6)

So you have a choice: You can (negative future pace). Or you can (positive future pace).(5)

“So you have a choice: You can use Pfizer’s Xeljanz and risk disastrous side effects including death. Or you can choose our safe, natural joint support solution.”(6)

Our next arrangement future-paces a negative consequence.

You can ramp up the pressure by adding adverse outcomes to that result. Not doing anything, using the competition, and doing it yourself, are ways prospects can harm their efforts.(7)

If you don’t do what I want, this (negative) will happen.(7)

If you don’t get our tension relief remedy, and choose a drug such as Novartis’s Valsartan, I have bad news. You could get a contaminated drug, or even succumb to cancer or liver damage.”(6)

Our next one uses a nullifying label to connote a negative.

Just take a negative connotation phrase and add your competitor’s name, product, or service. This jaundiced label implies that you’re the positive alternative.(7)

Would you really trust your health to (well-known competition)?(7)Their record of…

Ladies, would you really trust Big Pharma drugs like Roche’s Accutane to solve your nasty acne problems? Don’t do it.

“You could suffer anything from dry skin and sore joints to a miscarriage or delivering a baby with birth defects.”(6)

Identity Exclusion is the secret behind the following stealth sentence. To get your audience to behave in a certain way, show them how your offering will make them a member of a group they want to be part of.(7)

What separates (describe group) from the (undesirable group — losers, unsuccessful)? It’s (your claim — what you want them to think).(7)

What enables some people to improve their memory and alertness into their 60s and beyond — while others endanger their well-being with insidious drugs?

“Extensive studies show that Big Pharma’s Provigil, Nuvigil, and so on can burden you with headaches, nausea, dizziness, and more.(4)

“On the other hand, our safe, natural….”

Want to almost instantly end any idea your prospect may have about buying from your competition?

This line uses the word “new” to conjure up a negative image and clobber your competitor(s).

Perfect as a headline, subhead, and so on, this template is best for a general attack in your market. But you can use it against a specific adversary. In both cases, especially the latter, ensure you have the data to prove it.(8)

(Competition or product): The new (negative connotation word or phrase)?(8)

“Big Pharma’s vaccines and booster shots: The Global “elites” version of the Nazi’s concentration camp killer Zircon B?”

Similar to the last one, this pattern presupposes your USP and positions you as the go-to provider rather than your competitors. It compares you to the usual choice(s) while subtly putting them down.

Your company/brand is then deemed superior.(8)

(Photo courtesy of HASTYWORDS on Pixabay.)

(Name of your product/company: (Intensifier e.g. Far, Way, So much) (Competition) than (just) type of industry or negative associated w/industry.(8)

Natural Nutrition by Natasha: So much safer and more effective than Big Pharma’s potential time bombs.”

You can’t lose with this next sneaky way to implant an objection about your competition into your prospect’s minds while simultaneously making your business look good.

It’s especially helpful if you want to infer your competition is hiding something negative.(8)

When you (something they’re thinking about doing), do you (want/need) (a negative)? Or do you want (something positive or what they want)?(8)

When you finally decide to do something about your weight problem, do you also want to worry about getting colorectal, pancreatic, and lung cancers?

“Of course not.

“But weight-loss drugs like Eisai’s Belviq can cause those diseases and more.(4)

“So why risk Big Pharma’s ‘cocktail’ crapshoot? Fat-B-Gone guarantees a fast, safe and easy….”

Here’s a potent pattern that uses parallel logic to create doubt about your target. It also has the power to change your prospect’s beliefs about them.(8)

Would you (something stupid/unlikely)? Then why would you (Something they’re probably doing) to get what they want?(8)

Would you take something that would significantly hurt your well-being — or even cut short your life span? Then why would you even consider Big Pharma’s drugs as a remedy for your problem?”

“Would you take something that would significantly hurt your well-being — or even cut short your life span? Then why would you even consider Allergan’s Lexapro — which is blamed for causing suicides, heart defects, and harmful allergic reactions —as a remedy for your depression or anxiety?”(6)

Next, attack your competitor’s USP from a new angle with this guide.

Just list their claims, faults, and failings. Then take the strongest negative result and link it to a colorful comparison.

This is ideal for sowing seeds of doubt in a prospect’s minds that their previous plan (i.e., using a competitor) isn’t such a good idea.(8)

(Action prospect is thinking of doing) is about as useful/effective/smart as (something superstitious/ useless/old fashioned/dangerous).(8)

Thinking about taking Merck’s Propecia for your baldness is like relieving a back itch with a cat o’ nine tails.”(4)

Next, diminish your competition in the eyes of your prospects with this “poisonous” presupposition…

When did you become aware that the (competitor’s product/service) is/are dangerous? So dangerous and unethical…(8)

When did you become aware that anti-virus shots are dangerous? They’re so unsafe that the number of lethal incidents of dangerous blood clots, heart health defects, and even death continues to climb.”

This next diagram aims to motivate prospects into action by triggering a strong emotion. It combines future pacing with an embedded command and presupposition.(9)

You’re going to (positive or negative statement) when I tell/show you…(9)

You’re going to be enraged after I tell you some of the corrupt and evil practices Big Pharma is guilty of.”

The following device uses the influence of social proof to link a positive emotion to the results you’re targeting.(9)

(Most/Many/Number of people feel (what you want them to feel) when they (what you want them to do).(9)

Most people feel relief and satisfaction when they choose our safe, effective supplements over Big Pharma’s toxic drugs.”

Balancing the Affirmative with the Antagonistic cuts to the chase by presenting a choice of the two supreme motivators: Delight or Distress.

What is the ultimate benefit of your product or service? What is the worse consequence of not buying from you, and instead, going to a competitor, or doing it yourself?(10)

Add your answers into this little formula:

Would you rather (benefit) or (consequence)?”(10)

Would you rather start regaining high-energy, youthful health with our _____________ within a __________? Or, would you rather endure sudden and sinister side effects from Big Pharma’s often risky anti-aging drugs?”

With our final template, the Outcome-of-the Outcome Frame, you plunge your reader’s conscious state far into the future. You then snap it back to reveal the consequences of not taking your offer.

Just ask what’s the worse outcome your target will suffer if they don’t do as you ask.(10)

I wonder what will eventually happen if you don’t (what I want).”(10)

I wonder if you’ll suffer needless misery and even early death if you turn to Big Pharma instead of my safe, proven supplements.”

“I wonder how long you’ll endure watery, bloody diarrhea, bone fractures, and seizures if you take Takeda’s Prevacid instead of our ______________.”(4)

Now you can rescue your prospects

Based on your prospect’s stage of product awareness, strategically place these patterns in your copy and content.

Of course, many are ideal as short, eye-grabbing social media messages.

Anyways, keep this listicle handy in case you challenge any of these drug juggernauts in the future.

Who knows, you may prevent many of your prospects from becoming “sacrifices” at the altar of Big Pharma.






5. NLP Language Patterns for Advertising, Lou Larsen, 2006


7. Extreme Language Patterns, Lou Larsen, 2011

8.NLP Language Patterns for Advertising Blog, Lou Larsen

9. NLP Language Patterns Wizardry, Lou Larsen, 2014

10. Hypnotic Language Patterns for Advertising (Vol. 2), Lou Larsen

Dale L. Sims is a stealth sales strategist based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Also, from May 2010 to Jan. 2014, he served as marketing coordinator and health consultant for Healthy Design, a supplement and fitness product distributor in Cadillac, Mich.




Dale L. Sims is a stealth sales strategist based in Grand Rapids, MI. Plus, he is a former journalist, marketing coordinator, and radio ad salesman.

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Dale L. Sims

Dale L. Sims

Dale L. Sims is a stealth sales strategist based in Grand Rapids, MI. Plus, he is a former journalist, marketing coordinator, and radio ad salesman.

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