Book Review by Sapphire Ng
Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy
by Martin Lindstrom
Copyright September 2011
Kindle/Hardcover/Paperback, 304 pages
Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy examines the subject matter of branding, marketing and advertising in unprecedented depth. In reading this book, you will emerge possessing an invigorated level of heightened sensitivity towards the subtlest manipulation in advertising as you go about your daily life.
If you feel thrust out of your comfort zone whilst reading the book, it potentially signals your role as the beneficiary of the immense transparency the book practices in divulging practices of the advertising industry. You are entitled to feel mild discontent or even shocked as you read about the ways consumers are emotionally manipulated to achieve corporate goals of increasing profits, especially in the case of new mothers who are targeted specifically for their emotional vulnerability to fear and guilt advertising.
Brandwashed is packed with solid research and ingeniously designed experiments, the expertise and collaboration with industry players including neuromarketing firms, the insights of retail anthropologists and social psychologists, and procedures such as fMRI neuroimaging used to measure brain activity in consumers.
The book delves into the complex mechanisms of advertising from the perspective of a brand consultant who has engineered many successful advertising/branding campaigns, and who was even engaged to revive the brand of a royal family. As much as Martin is a veteran in the industry, he does acknowledge that he is occasionally equally susceptible to marketing schemes as you and I.
This book is a treasure trove for the reader who takes pleasure in educating himself or herself in the peculiarities and technicalities of the advertising universe - the undertakings of fragrance companies to devise the “ideal” scent for Calvin Klein; the painstaking specificity to which potential customer base is sought and dissected by Unilever in fabricating their highly targeted Axe campaign; the potentially controversial ingredients used to manufacture products from food to lip balm; an algorithm specifically designed to determine the precise number of bubbles to appear in a visual advertisement that would best sell the company's drink; the way auditory cues are used to incite cravings in consumers; and the similarity in brain activity between Apple fanatics and Christianity devotees.
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated to the publisher nor the authors of the book. This book review is the result of my personal reading and honest opinion.