You want to have An Aesop about something that we should avoid at all costs. Trouble is, just by showing or describing it in lavish detail, you end up ENHANCING your message by showing just how damn appealing it is and cause the audience to get the wrong idea.. OR THE RIGHT IDEA if you are manipulating them and trying to not get caught manipulating them.

This trope is especially easy to fall into when a piece of media aims for a realistic portrayal of why people get lured into things like drinking, smoking, being promiscuous, doing drugs, getting into dangerous situations, fighting awesome action sequences, etc., thereby identifying to the audience what others see in it, possibly causing them to view it in a light they hadn't previously seen it in. Conversely, if you gloss over the very real appeal, you end up with a bad habit that it seems no rational person would ever pick up (akin to an ad reading "Stop Punching Kittens"). The trick is finding the balance between getting the audience to understand the appeal and understanding why these things are bad. If the negative aspects don't come across as outweighing the appeal, this trope comes into effect. This makes the vice into Forbidden Fruit and therefore much more appealing when the audience is told not to do it. While authorial (or parental) intent may be to use the tale to discourage something, this trope happens, because they're trying to get the audience to accept that something that was just being depicted as fun, easy, exciting, profitable, advantageous, or whatever, was actually bad; to the audience, this comes across as extremely dishonest and patently false. Many people and PSA's seem to forget that just because somebody was told so, or their "parents raised them right", doesn't mean they won't do something — nobody's parents told them it was a good habit to visit prostitutes, but many people do so and a number of them do it regularly.

If a work attempts to play down the attractive aspects and stick to the unappealing ones, the work itself may become unappealing as a result, which again undermines the goal of spreading its message. It's a tricky artistic balance: If you Show, Don't Tell, you risk showing something bad as cool, but if you just tell, you're left with a boring Author Tract saying "And That's Terrible." This trope was formerly called "Truffaut was right", named for French director Francois Truffaut who noted that you simply cannot make a truly anti-war movie.

This can be caused by, and often leads to, a Misaimed Fandom. Can also lead to No Such Thing As Bad Publicity, Rooting for the Empire, Sympathy for the Devil, Springtime for Hitler, Strawman Has a Point, or Unfortunate Implications. But Not Too Evil is often invoked to prevent this trope. You Bastard is another option, whereby the creators let you enjoy the Cool Thing that's being Done, then try to make you feel bad by showing the horrific consequences. Sometimes a Spoof Aesop may attempt to show this trope in-universe.

There is often a degree of overlap with The Man Is Sticking It To The Man, when the message comes from a corporate sponsor who actually has a vested interest in getting you to do this Cool Thing.

A sub-trope of Broken Aesop. Sometimes the result of an Accidental Aesop or an Alternate Aesop Interpretation or Poe's Law. Can overlap with Clueless Aesop or Family Unfriendly Aesop.

Compare & contrast Stealth Cigarette Commercial for when this is done intentionally. Also compare Do Not Attempt and Don't Try This at Home. If the Cool Thing is recognized as bad In-Universe, the characters may observe, "But That Would Be Wrong."

See also Evil Is Cool, Evil Is Sexy, Forbidden Fruit, The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything, Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangster, and Television Is Trying To Kill Us.