3 persuasion tips from a poorly-written TV show

Lately I've been sucked into a show called Designated Survivor. Even though it has plot holes galore, I ended up watching the entire first season. 

After realizing the show wasn't meant to be taken seriously, I enjoyed it more. One example of the absurd plots is:

  1. Someone hacks a computer and makes a keycard
  2. Someone uses keycard to walk into the most-secure room in the Pentagon
  3. Pentagon computers now have a irremovable virus that gives the enemy all their info

Realistic? No way. But it sure is entertaining.

Naturally I wanted to find out the reason why I got sucked into the show. I came up with three persuasive mechanisms used in Designated Survivor.


People love a conspiracy. And Designated Survivor has many. The idea that there's an easy answer to a complicated mystery is appealing. People don't like the idea of not knowing.

After the horrific and recent Las Vegas event, it didn't take long before I started seeing conspiracies on social media. People would rather believe in "something" than nothing. And if the conspiracy aligns with their beliefs, they're even more likely to follow it.

Open Loops

Ending an episode with a cliffhanger is standard nowadays. It's a gimmick that you know is coming, but you still can't resist it.

"Just one more episode" turns into a binge-watching session that keeps you up until 3am.

Character Attachment

In every show people have a love or hate relationship with the characters. You want to see them succeed... or fail. This desire to see things through to the end makes you watch the entire show... until the end.

A well-written stories keeps you hooked. Even though Designated Survivor a sloppy show with the worst nativepromo in history (see below), there's still some lessons to be learned from the series.





Raymond Duke