"People actually remember few
ads. Yet commercials
have an effect nonetheless. Even if they fail to sell
a particular product, they sell consumerism itself by ceaselessly reiterating
the idea that there is a product to solve each of life's problems, indeed that
existence would be satisfying and complete if only we bought the right
things." - Alan Durning
"In the mid-1990s, studies began to suggest that
decision making, long held to be a prime
example of a mental process best accomplished without the interference of
emotions, could not only benefit from emotions, but also
might require them." - Jenny
Lauren Lee People find a comfortable predictable day to
day manner of living preferable to living on the thin edge of not-life.
Individuals judge conditions and situations confronted primarily
through pattern matching.
Although individuals claim to reason to come
to a conclusion their actual decision is based more upon a "feeling" than on a
Assume a consumer purchases a product. The product
works as advertised.
This consumer emotionally
registers satisfaction with the product.
satisfaction subconsciously brands the individual.
Subconscious emotional branding
creates the "correct" emotional response.
We have the "right feeling" when we see
the product on the shelf the next time and that "right feeling" induces
To find profit
in so many similar items, marketers must brand a product on the buyer's
Such efforts put the average American
adult in the cross hairs of ~ 3,000 advertising messages a day, five times
more than two decades ago.
Children are exposed to ~ 40,000
advertisements every year.
By the age of 18 months,
they can recognize logos.
10, they have memorized
300 to 400 brand logos.
The average adult can recognize thousands
of brand logos.
Many seemingly rational decisions are
reflexive snap judgements, shaped by
networks of neurons acting in concert.
"We are embedded in an enormous sea of cultural
messages, the neural influences of which we poorly understand. We are beginning
to understand the way in which messages can gain control over our behavior." -
neuroscientist Read Montague, director of the Human Neuroimaging Laboratory
at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston These orchestras of cells are surprisingly
malleable, readily responding to the influence of experience.
inescapable influence of marketing brands minds.
Brand marketing physically alters the brain
Just as practicing the piano or learning to read
can physically alter areas of the
cerebral cortex, the
intense, repetitive stimulation of
susceptible brain circuits involved in decision making.
While monitoring brain activity directly researchers
make inquiries into consumer
choice by harnessing techniques pioneered for
positron emission tomography measures the
brain's chemical activity;
imagery measures the magnetic fields of the brain;
magnetic resonance measures blood flow around neurons.
"This is a way of prying open the jar and seeing
what is inside." - psychologist Jonathan Cohen, director of Princeton
University's Center for the Study of Brain, Mind, &
In the mind's
eye, celebrity faces
trigger many of the same circuits as images of shoes, cars, chairs,
wristwatches, sunglasses, handbags and water bottles.
celebrity faces are reduced to
a common denominator:
of synapses in a part of the cortex called Brodmann's area 10, a region
associated with a sense of identity and
None of these neural
responses come consciously to mind when a shopper is browsing brand
what is considered the product of logic
and deliberation is actually driven by primitive neural systems responsible
for automatic emotional
response processes that evolved to
manage conflicts between sex,
hunger, thirst and the other
elemental appetites of
In recent years,
discovered that regions such as the
hippocampus and the hypothalamus are
that blend memory,
neurons shape the way
social pressure influence the
trigger the same malleable circuits
of reward, identity,
product branding does.
Lattices of neurons are linked, then continually
revised, by experience.
Conversly they are burnt to a
crisp by major traumatic experience.
So intimate is this feedback
that there is no way to separate the
brain's neural structure from the
influence of the world that surrounds it.
Once researchers learned
to map the anatomy of
behavior they realized that the brain, shaped by the interplay of genes and
There is a fundamental conflict between consumers and
The concept of advertising is predicated on marketing but
it's no trick to sell people what they want to buy; the trick is to make people
want to buy what you want to sell.
When you succeed at that, you're a
salesman. Otherwise, you're simply a clerk.
Media advertisements and
commercials are designed to be salespersons, not clerks.
Consumers think purchasing
decisions are within their control.
If they are told they are
being manipulated into wanting to
purchase a product, they
They know ads are designed to "sell" but they think
that such susceptibility mostly applies to others, not to them.
known as the blind spot bias.
want to be entertained.
But do not want know entertainment is, in fact,
merely a vehicle for inducing them to purchase
They want the boundaries between entertainment
and advertising pitches to be clearly delineated. That delineation is the last
thing business wants.
Consumers of entertainment need to understand how
business' manipulate them into awareness of and desire for their products via
ostensible entertainment programming.
When consumers found the remote,
the videotape and TiVo they zapped commercials. Advertisers returned the volley
with product placement.
In feature films, where advertising had never
established the foothold it had in television and other media venues, deals
between producers and advertisers have flourished.
Studios are paid
large fees for conspicuously placing products in a scene or making brand name
products part of the storyline.
The following is an actual proposal for
Dear Mr. Smith,
We are about to go into
production with the motion picture, "Run, Sheep, Run", a suspense thriller, set
in Los Angeles. If there is any interest from your company, and I'm sure there
must be, the film is better than any commercial that has been run on television
or any magazine, because the audience is totally unaware of the sponsor
involvement, I would like to have from your company the suggested brands for
the people as listed above and the necessary cartons of cigarettes to be used.
We would enter a contract, that upon delivery of the answer print to the
distributor, your company, Reynolds Tobacco, would pay to our production
company, the sum of $500,000.00. If for any reason the film is not distributed,
then your company is out only the time in answering my letter, and a few
packages of cigarettes, I think this protects both of us . I expect to hear
from you very shortly.
Robert P. Richards 08/25/72
placement, visual or auditory, is superior to straight commercials as people
generally put up defenses against invitations to a purchase.
placement circumvents these defenses and places the product in the
mind's eye for future
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author feels that the falsification of reality outside personal experience has
forged a populace unable to discern propaganda from reality and that this has
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industrial military entertainment complex and is responsible for the collapse
of morals, the elevation of self-centered behavior and the destruction of
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American social mores and values
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deceive the populace in general through corporate media by pressing emotional
buttons which have been preprogrammed into the population through prior
corporate media psychological operations. The results have been the destruction
of the family and the destruction of social structures that do not adhere to
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directed toward solutions proposed by the corrupt international elite that
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