The dark part of marketing

Sometimes you buy a book just because of its title. That is why I bought “Brandwashed” by Martin Lindstrom, the author of buy-ology. We have read a lot of books on marketing (“Marketing 3.0” is my favourite) and this is the darkest one I have read for a long time. There are a lot of books critical about marketing “The old rules of marketing are dead” for example, but this one takes the biscuit.

Not nice marketing
Brandwashed takes it further by showing how marketers are constantly manipulating us. Nothing about brand authenticity, collaborative consumption, love marks or the impact of social media on forcing brands to be more responsive, instead it talks about all the marketing tricks that are applied to you and me.

The tools they use
Neuro-science, psychiatry, brains scanning technology, body language analysis, video observation face recognition, data-mining, psychology, fear, guilt, addiction, nostalgia, transference, hope, smell, animals, toys, games, sounds all used to influence our buying behaviour.

Showing off at the next party
The book is full of interesting fact you share at your next office party. Did you know:

-That kids are being targeted from the time they are in the womb,
-That the ideal colour of a banana is “buttercup”
-That the age of an average apple on the shelf is 14 months
-That research shows that the third most powerful sound in the world is a vibrating phone
-Additives to food such as salt and sugar as addictive as heroine and cocaine
-Menthol is addictive too
-Apple has become a religion
-That “eau de Bruce Willis is the manliest scent in the world
-That we think about sex 32 times a day
-That Goji , Acai berries or Pomegranate are no more healthy than some other fruits (I believed in Pomegranate!).
-That the word “natural” is not regulated (neither is the term “real fruit”)
-Face cream does not work (duh!)
-That privacy is dead
-And finally that you should be very careful about signing up to terms and conditions on line (Some people sold their soul because the didn’t read the small print. Very few people do).

We know we are being manipulated, and is a sharp reminder on why we shouldn’t trust the dark brotherhood of marketers. Bleak, grim, nasty version of books such as “Join the club” and “Emotionomics”.

Watch your kids
What are the lessons? We are suckers, real authenticity is an opportunity and the demise of old marketing is inevitable (it is too nasty). Finally, educate and watch your kids. They are being brandwashed as you read this.

Post by Ron Immink, Co Founder of Small Business Can and CEO of


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Monday, 23 October 2017
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