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  • Writer's pictureSara Kuehl

Write Memorable Copy Using the Rhyme-as-Reason Effect

One-Minute Reads: Explore the psychology of marketing, one principle at a time

the rhyme-as-reason effect

You’ve probably heard, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”


Or maybe “I before E, except after C.”


Or how about Johnnie Cochran’s famous argument, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit!”


Why can we recite these lines?


Because rhyming is memorable. You’ll find rhymes everywhere, from poetry to advertising slogans, aphorisms to mnemonic devices.


What’s more, researchers have found that people believe rhyming statements are more accurate and truthful. This cognitive bias is known as the rhyme-as-reason effect, or the Eaton-Rosen phenomenon.


Cartoon demonstrating the rhyme-as-reason effect
Image: https://sketchplanations.com/rhyme-as-reason-effect

For that reason, rhyming can be a powerful copywriting tactic. In fact, compared to non-rhyming ads, people rate rhyming ads as more:

  • Likeable

  • Original

  • Memorable

  • Persuasive

  • Trustworthy

Countless public service announcements use rhymes for this effect. Maybe none more so than the U.S. Forest Service.


From Smokey the Bear to Woodsy the Owl, the U.S. Forest Service has given their characters rhyming mottos for decades to convey important public messages.


The rhyme-as-reason effect used in this Smokey the Bear message "Don't keep it lit, extinguish it."


The rhyme-as-reason effect used in this Woodsy the Owl message "Give a hoot! Don't pollute."

So next time you want to write memorable copy, give the rhyme-as-reason effect a try. And check out this tool to help you create rhymes.

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