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The third Miniscript used in advertising is ‘Please’. This Miniscript aims to appeal to our need to please others, to our kindness and generosity. It is neatly captured by the word NICE.

It’s not that easy to find examples of advertising featuring people being just nice…funny, huh, if it’s as important as we were led to believe, why doesn’t it feature more? The image above suggests the contemporary disdain for just being NICELY you. You only have value if you’re useful – or cool.

A great deal of time is spent during our growing years attempting to persuade us of the virtues of being pleasant, kind, NICE…

All kinds of messages, from the Christian ‘love thy neighbour’ to my mum exhorting me to be nice to my sister, ‘she’s younger than you…’ bombarded me in my formative years. Those who know me can judge if it worked!

Did it work on you? Only you and your nearest and dearest can really say, but it’s not easy to find people who’s core virtue is niceness. It doesn’t make for dramatic action or exciting story-telling, so niceness is not a central feature in our popular tales.

There is no doubt that advertising often shows people overcoming disappointments and solving problems. However, being nice and pleasant is not usually at the centre of these stories. Rather, it is more common to depict a frustration, something going wrong, something missing – that the product or service then provides…

Popularly NICE is something of a dirty word. It connotes bland, ineffectual, something we say when we don’t know what to say. But there is a really strong case that NICE makes the world go round, or at the very least makes the world a better place to live.

It’s virtues are extolled at great length in this 5 minute film from a non-profit, Life Vest Inside, who aim to spread kindness and generosity around the world. See if you can stick with it, even for 5 minutes!

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And the downside of Please? Well, if you spend all your time putting others first you can build up a lot of resentment that no-one puts you first. The effect? Sudden ‘what about ME?’ outbursts from usually pleasant people.