Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy * Martin Lindström

I don’t usually read non-fiction but this book was on my audiobook list and I decided to give it a go! Oh boy! Was I in for a treat!  opened my eyes to ways people are manipulated into buying specific brands from birth (or even before birth!) through skillful usage of smells, sounds, recognizable adverts, psychological needs and fears and many more. 

To trigger desire in a child is to trigger desire in the whole family.

The bad part after reading the book: just because you are aware of what they are doing doesn’t make it that much easier to resist! But it does help you identify the times you need to be more vigilant. It’s because of that trust that you let your guard down and are susceptible. Think about how much of your day-to-day conversations revolve around brands and products. It’s kind of sad, actually. And those of you who are less materialistic, don’t be too smug – tv news personalities and politicians are brands too! It is extremely difficult to live in a developed country and avoid branding. This book is purely about awareness. You don’t stand a chance without it.

1. Buy Buy Baby – When companies start marketing to us in the womb
2. Peddling Panic and Paranoia – Why fear sells
3. I Can’t Quit You – Brand addicts, shopaholics, and why we can’t live without our smart phones
4. Buy It, Get Laid – The new face of sex (and the sexes) in advertising
5. Under Pressure – The power of peers
6. Oh, Sweet Memories – The new (but also old) face of nostalgia marketing
7. Marketers’ Royal Flush – The hidden powers of celebrity and fame
8. Hope in a Jar – The price of health, happiness, and spiritual enlightenment
9. Every Breath You Take, They’ll Be Watching You – The end of privacy
CONCLUSION. I’ll Have What Mrs. Morgenson Is Having

Author Martin Lindstorm is a veteran advertising agents with clients that range from McDonald’s to Microsoft. It say that Lindstorm knows that ins-and-outs of marketing is to say that Steve Jobs can use a computer. Here he takes us behind the scenes to show the reader how companies use MRIs to figure out the areas in the brain that they want their marketing to hit. He tells of how advertising can affect use before we are even born; how smells that our mothers experienced when pregnant with us can condition us to buy certain detergents and eat certain foods. He explains why panic and fear sells more than happiness and peace. Lindstrom gives credence to the idea that people can be addicted to their smartphones and lip balm. Tactics of using nostalgia to buy a certain brand of soda or candy bar are explored. What does Justin Bieber and the British royal family have in common? They’re both brands that dictate our tastes and purchases. In his final chapter, Lindstrom carries through with an experiment like that in the movie “Jones” in which he has a family peddle certain items to their friends in an effort to see how keeping up with the Jones’ really works. Spoiler: it works!

“In a surprising 2008 study, researchers at the University of Bath, UK, found that the fear of failure drives consumers far more than the promise of success; the latter oddly tends to paralyze us, while the former spurs us on (and pries open our wallets). In fact, as the study found, the most powerful persuader of all was giving consumers a glimpse of some future “feared self.”

I could go on for pages and pages about this book but at about 275 pages, this book can stand for itself. It reads like a thriller that you won’t be able to put down. Sadly, the horrors that are inflicted in the “story” are on us…the consumers. Just in case the reader doesn’t believe his theories, he backs them up with copious case studies. Once I finished this book, I immediately ran out and bought his other book (which I now know is a marketing ploy). I know people will be talking about this book for years to come. I know I will!

It all starts when you are born

Brands are always trying to get into the minds of consumers — especially kids.

Buyology author Martin Lindstrom’s new book Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use To Manipulate Our Minds And Persuade Us To Buy just hit the shelves, and it tells a startlingly detailed story of the lengths brands go to in order to get us hooked.

And it all starts at an alarmingly young age — some even get started while you’re still in the womb. From there, we’re just bombarded with more and more messages.

Kids are aware of brands at a very early age. Lindstrom cites an SIS International Research survey that says that 53% of adults and 56% of teens used brands they vaguely remembered from their childhoods — mostly food, drinks and household goods.

Consumer Knowledge Centre CEO Bryan Urbick says that the first word recognized (rather than articulated) is “McDonald’s” or “Ronald,” and the Journal of the American Medical Association says that two decades ago, kids were able to identify Joe Camel as much as Mickey Mouse.

And according to Wright Institute child psychologist Dr. Allen Kanner, by the time an American child is three, they can recognize an average of 100 brand logos. By age 10, they remember between 300 to 400 brands, according to a Nickelodeon study.

Children are obviously important for marketers, so it’s no surprise that they devote billions of dollars to try to win them over — but how far can they go without being intrusive, disruptive or downright offensive? Here are some shocking ways that brands try to manipulate their minds.

About the author

MARTIN LINDSTROM, was voted one of the World’s 100 Most Influential people of 2009 by Time magazine. Among the globe’s foremost marketers – now turned consumer advocate – Lindstrom has advised top executives at companies such as McDonald’s Corporation, Procter & Gamble, and Microsoft. His most recent book, Buyology, was a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller and voted “Pick of the Year” by USA Today. He is also chairman and co-founder of Buyology Inc

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