Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday: "Brandwashing" (video)

Wisdom Quarterly;

Like Freaknomics (and less so Super Freakanomics) this book will have readers thinking twice about conspicuous consumption and consumer capitalism.

It explains why we do it, what the marketers, promoters, and PR firms have done to make us CRAVE things as if they had the ability to fundamentally change our lives by fulfilling us.

Brandwashing does for marketing what Freaknomics does for economics and Fast Food Nation for junk food. It makes rigid brains hurt. It is fantastic.

Author Martin Lindstorm is a veteran advertising agent with clients that range from McDonalds to Microsoft. He knows the ins-and-outs of marketing and takes readers behind the scenes. What have the corporations been doing?

  • They use MRIs to figure out the areas of the brain their marketing hits.
  • They affect us with advertising before we are even born: Smells that our mothers experience during pregnancy can condition us to buy certain detergents and eat certain foods.
  • They get us to buy through panic because fear sells more than happiness or peace.
  • They use nostalgia and other tactics to form brand allegiance.
  • They encourage people to form an "addiction" to smartphones and lip balm.
What do Justin Bieber and the British royal family have in common? They are both brands that dictate tastes and purchases.

In the final chapter, Lindstrom explores a "Jones" movie experiment: He has a family peddle items to their friends in an effort to see how keeping up with the Joneses really works. It works! The book reads like a thriller.

Readers would never believe it was true, except that Lindstrom backs them up with copious case studies. Once one finishes this book, it is hard not to run out and buy his other book, a clever marketing ploy.

Spiritual Consumerism
Wisdom Quarterly
These same concepts are modified and used to sell spirituality in the West. Many of the promoters who help Lamas and gurus literally work in the field of marketing, advertising, and psychology. Are we being manipulated -- promised fast and easy enlightenment or a yoga body if we just buy this book, attend that retreat weekend, give this devotion, or undergo some ceremony? It happens so often that it is the norm. It is rare to find a spiritual teacher who is not all about the money, the luxury, the fame... the very things "spirituality" is meant to ease, cure, and replace with something better.

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