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July 01, 2012, Sunday


“Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy” is a groundbreaking new book by Martin Lindstrom. Lindstrom is famous for his previous book, “Buyology -- Truth and Lies About Why We Buy,” which revealed the secret science behind shopping.

We learned what happens when we see certain brands or go into a store. This time in “Brandwashed” Lindstrom reveals how companies brainwash their customers.

Lindstrom uses fMRI studies to uncover what happens when we see a brand, product or store. His books are different from others in the field of marketing because they rely on hard scientific data. Morgan Spurlock, the director of “Super Size Me,” describes Lindstrom as a true insider who tells the real truth because he once worked as a consultant in the marketing sector.

In “Brandwashed,” Lindstrom introduces the tricks, techniques and seductions of the 21st century. Marketers use peer pressure to make us buy products such as electronic devices, fashion products or even books. They use sex to sell us everything from perfume to men’s underwear. Some of them make us believe that if we eat or drink their products, we will find the ticket to an eternally healthy life.

According to Lindstrom, advertiser and marketers target children in order to create tomorrow’s customers. Ferrari distributes promotional toys to create a “best sports car” image in children’s minds. Porsche does the same -- they use advertisements to catch children’s attention.

Marketers and retailers also use fear to influence people and create public panic. It is because of fear that people buy insurance policies, hygiene products, pills, etc. The paranoia of global contagions and extreme weather events are the perfect excuses for companies to persuade people to buy plenty of unnecessary, dysfunctional products.

Lindstrom shares the first neuro-scientific evidence proving how people are addicted to their smartphones. Cell phone addiction is stronger than drug and alcohol addiction. People can’t live without checking their emails, checking in or announcing their status on Facebook. Their addictions create the perfect situation for smartphone producers.

Lindstrom also explains how companies use special materials to create addictions. The maker of one popular lip balm consciously adjusted their formulas in order to make their products chemically addictive.

In addition, the book also describes how companies like Amazon use our digital footprints to sell more products. They use our information to target us with ads and offers that are perfectly tailored to our psychological profiles. They also advise us by disclosing the information of other buyers to influence our buying decisions.

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