Next time you’re writing an online review, consider dropping an F-bomb or two, if the platform allows it.
A new study has found reviews with “purposefully and minimally” deployed profanity are rated as more helpful than those with none.
“Swearing can violate norms and thereby offend consumers,” a recent study, published in the Journal of Marketing Research, reads.
But with more than one in 20 words used in daily conversation considered foul – and even more so on social media – “the prevalence of swearword use suggests that an offensiveness perspective may not fully capture their impact in marketing”.
The researchers analysed reviews on Amazon and Yelp, and found on both platforms swears helped boost the number of ‘helpful’ ratings.
“Reviews containing one swearword received a higher proportion of helpful votes than those with no swearwords,” the study said, and two were even better.
On Yelp, three swearwords was the sweet spot.
On both platforms, using euphemisms worked too. Censored swears worked on Yelp, but not on Amazon.
“These differences may be due to the platforms’ different guidelines about swearing.”
But why? The researchers say it’s because a well-placed swear shows the author is passionate about that particular fact – such as describing a “damn quiet dishwasher”.
“Readers tend to infer that the dishwasher is quieter than just quiet, but also that the reviewer feels strongly about the assessment,” said study author Katherine Lafreniere.
“If you use swear words purposefully and minimally, they have power. When you get past four or five uses, it becomes unclear whether it isn’t just something about the reviewer’s vocabulary, or who they are as a person.”
Check out the whole fucking study here.