What Is False Cause Fallacy?

What Is False Cause Fallacy?

What is A False Cause Fallacy?

What is A False Cause Fallacy? 1024 621 Shlomi Ron

Do you know that “early December feeling” when you’re in a crazy sprint mode to cross off as many items off your list, while savoring that so close sweet reward of taking time off during the holidays?

Well, I had those warm and fuzzy vibes, too, until…

One morning early last month, I discovered that our garage sink did not drain properly and dirty water had accumulated.

I called my plumber. A day later he arrived, climbed on our roof, and ran a “snake” (metal cable) to unclog the pipe.

It worked! I was happy and he was, too.

Two days later, I noticed the water was back in the sink with no intention of going anywhere.

I called my plumber again and he repeated the same “snake” routine. “In tough cases, you have to repeat this treatment twice,” he advised.

That makes sense I told myself. Since we moved in five years ago, we haven’t treated that area at all, so who knows how long this problem was just sitting there.

Cool! Right??



A week later, after we did the laundry, I discovered the floor around the sink and washer was flooded with water.


I called my plumber again.

He showed up and after checking things around reported “We’ll have to remove the sink, drill a hole in the floor, and replace the old likely damaged cast iron pipes with new PVC ones.”

Wow! “How much would it cost? I asked.

“Could be a couple of thousands as I don’t know what I’ll find once I open up this area.”

Ouch! I hate those pricy “Pandora’s box” problems that give you no clear assurance and open tab expense.

Since it sounds like a major job, to reduce the fog I invited another plumber with a camera to confirm this course of action.

He said there was no space to squeeze his camera but suspected that indeed we needed to open up the floor.

By then Christmas was just two days later. So, we agreed to start the job two weeks after the holiday. At least we’d take a break from this annoyance.

In the meantime, the plumber arranged a temporary fix that bypassed the cast iron pipes, so we could still use the washer.

It worked until one morning it didn’t, glaringly blinking “OE Error”


At that point, my wife said, if we can’t use the washer, we’ll have to use the laundry store. “By now we have accumulated 3 bags of dirty clothes that need washing.”

With that sense of urgency, I figured I’d Google “What the heck is OE Error!?”

I followed the washer manufacturer’s troubleshooting, cleaned the filter, and ensured the draining pipe was not bent.

But still nada.

At that point, I gave up and called a certified appliance repair guy.

A day after New Year’s Day he showed up.

I bet I was his first job for 2024.

He quickly diagnosed the problem, replaced the washer’s drain pump (the real culprit) that was broken for an inexpensive fee, and…

Halleluja! The problem was finally solved!

I took a deep breath of relief rewinding this twisted plot and thought:

Indeed. Sometimes things are completely not always what they seem!


Why did I tell you this story?

If you follow the storyline, you may have realized that this is another example of the classic False Start story model:
  • False direction – Tell a story leading to destination X
  • Twist- Surprisingly transition to radical destination Y
  • Resolution – Finish up with inspiring moral

And you’re right.

However, this particular story is also using an extra spice – False Cause Fallacy.

“A false cause fallacy occurs when someone incorrectly assumes that a causal relation exists between two things or events. This is an improper conclusion because either such a relationship does not exist or the evidence in support of it is insufficient.”


In this story, two conflicts happen right after each other – a sink problem, and then a washer problem.

Because the plumber character in this tale was involved from the onset, it was only natural for me to ask his advice, as I thought the new washer issue was somewhat related to the sink problem earlier.

But hey, if you ask a plumber a question you’ll get a plumbing answer.

Even if in this case, it was eventually – duh! A standalone washer problem!

The moral

As you’re planning your 2024 visual storytelling strategy, consider using the False Start story structure for a priority product in your bucket of top funnel stories – to drive targeted awareness.

To spice it up, and boost engagement, use the False Cause Fallacy dynamic where you place two adjacent events that occur sequentially, yet putting your protagonist at risk of almost taking the wrong path.

False Cause Fallacy could be a common misconception in your industry that customers often fall for like “SEO is dead now that AI is here!”

Your ongoing research and customer service stats should also surface this persistent customer myth.

Knowing this, you only need to stage the misconception in a visual story.

Showing vs. telling how easy it is to be misled by showcasing a series of real-life pitfalls.

At the lowest point, your protagonist (customer) is almost ready to give up but surprise! She naturally stumbled upon your solution in all its glory 🙂

It’s relatable, believable, and above all – memorable.

Your prospects can easily see themselves mirrored in this kind of story.

The trick is to avoid a flat salesy pitch and to stand behind your product promise.

You’d be surprised, but that could give your prospects that extra nudge to consider your offering, as it sure looks like you perfectly empathized with their pain point and know what you’re talking about.

Unleash your 2024 story! Book a call today!

Shlomi Ron

Shlomi Ron is the founder and CEO of the Visual Storytelling Institute, a Miami-based think tank with a mission to bring the gospel of visual storytelling from the world of art to more human-centric and purpose-driven marketing. A digital marketing veteran with over 20 years of experience working both on the agency and brand sides for Fortune 100/500 brands such as Nokia, IBM, and American Express. He started VSI to combine his marketing expertise with his passion for visual stories stemming from his interests in classic Italian cinema and managing the estate of video art pioneer, Buky Schwartz. At VSI, he helps brands rise above the communication noise through visual storytelling consulting, training, and thought leadership. Select clients include Estée Lauder, Microsoft, and Cable & Wireless – to name a few. He currently teaches Brand Storytelling at the University of Miami’s Business School. Thought leader and speaker at key marketing conferences. He is also the host of the Visual Storytelling Today podcast, which ranks in the top 10 best business storytelling podcasts on the Web. His book: Total Acuity: Tales with Marketing Morals to Help You Create Richer Visual Brand Stories. Outside work, he is a nascent bread baker, The Moth fan, and longtime fedora wearer likely to jive with his classic Italian cinema interest.

All stories by: Shlomi Ron

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