Any chance you could look into this for me?

I was watching a YouTube video with my youngest when I said the rather dubious line:

”I know why people aren’t looking into their hole..”

(And on a Sunday too!)

Two Youtubers were running an experiment and getting frustrated.

They noticed a local restaurant boarded up with “opening soon” had an unusual feature…

A small hole with a “DON’T LOOK!” arrow pointing straight to it.

Lots of folks were peeking in to get a sneak peek of the new place.

“Will it be an art-deco-inspired eaterie?”

“Is it the kinda place I’ll be bringing my kids?”

“Is that a bassoon on the wall?”

The YouTuber’s wanted to borrow this idea and create something just as irresistible, so they built a box with a hole, but…

… it didn’t quite work as much as they’d hoped.

See if you can spot why:

Let me tell you about the box they built…

It was waist height, bright red, and had “DON’T LOOK!” plastered all over it, as well as the necessary peephole.

They plonked it in lots of different locations, but, even though a few curious folks did eventually take a peek, it’s fair to say it wasn’t the resounding success the YouTuber’s were hoping for.

Why was the restaurant hole getting loads of action, and theirs getting looked at less than these photos of me posing in a swimsuit?

They pontificated (oh yes) it was because, thanks to YouTube, the world has grown accustomed to pranks, but I think there are a few things going on here:

1. If you’re going to ask someone to bend over, you need to establish trust.

(Do YOU know any good prison jokes? You do? Awesome think of one now, would you?)

2. I’ve seen enough TV movies to know that nothing good comes from opening brightly coloured red boxes.

Besides, can you think of anyone whose life been changed with a story that began:

“It all began when I bent over and looked in a strange, random, red box…”

OK, fine. Noel Edmonds… I’ll give you that.

Can you name another?

But the biggest reason the “mysterious red box experiment” didn’t work?


The reason the restaurant “don’t look” hole worked is that it had some context.

It wasn’t a random box and they weren’t thinking “prank”.

They were looking at a restaurant that was opening soon and thinking:

“Oooh! I wonder what’s it’s going to look like”.

They had something to link their curiosity to.

In other words, they had a specific question they cared about…

… and they wanted an answer.

The red box on the other hand?

Well, that could be ANYTHING – a horde of mongoose, a third-hand bootleg VHS tape of “Beverly Hills Cop 2”, or 536 copies of the Kabaddi rulebook.

It’s a mystery, but because there’s no context… so it’s not as compelling.

You’re not desperate to know what’s inside.

Here’s the lesson…

If you want to use mystery in your marketing, go ahead, but…

… make sure your customers CARE about the mystery first.

If you want people to click your link, for example, make sure you give them some context to help build the mystery a bit.

Something like:

If you don’t want a sneak peek at the contents of my latest email writing course… for god’s sake don’t click here!

Hope that’s useful.


P.S. Better put this idea to work for myself…

Question: what costs £21 and can help turbocharge your sales page in just one click without you having to do any of the heavy lifting whatsoever?

Don’t look here unless you REALLY wanna know!