Wednesday, 25 September 2013

About Brainwashing

All professional marketing is brainwashing.

Do you think it laughable that Coca-Cola is said to have spent 5 million dollars to come up with this tagline?

"What!?  5 million dollar for business advisors, brand specialists, marketing psychologists, market researchers, designers... and this is all they can come up with"?? 

Think Coca-Cola

What Coca-Cola is doing here, is to make you link the word 'drink' with their name. Done massively, with repeat messages from billboards to the plastic chairs and umbrellas all around you, and you are inextricably stuck with a message in your subconscious mind.

The words 'drink' and 'Coca-Cola' are forever linked. 

Someone asks "what do you drink"?  
And you, Pavlovian, say: "Coca-Cola".

How many times hasn't it happened to you? 

You are at a reception or in a bar, talking with someone, the waiter interrupts you and asks "do you want a drink"? 

Now there are thousands of possible answers. "No," is one of them. In Belgium alone there are hundreds of beers. You might say "a Gueuze" or might even go for: "Can I have some La Casera Cola with lemon and a hunch of strawberry"? 

Chances are you won't. In the order of things, your energy level or time management do not want you to dedicate more than 5 seconds to a decision like this one. 

So there you go: a Coca-Cola, a Heineken, a Cruz-Campo. 

How superb for any brand to achieve this. To be chosen over tens of thousands of others. 

Whereas all tests forever prove that people actually prefer the taste of Pepsi. Only when bottled and branded, it's Coca-Cola that is chosen more often. 

Is that Machiavellian?

Is it art? Is it clever? Is it great? Is it psychology, sociology, anthropology? It's all of this (and the reason why I as web designer surround myself by Brands, I cannot see that as something superficial but right as a study in any human domain). 

We humans are forever trying to improve ourselves, in all professions, sciences, inventions, technology, entertainment, singing, dancing... you name it. 

And so do professionals in marketing. For to say that theirs is a highly competitive world is an understatement. To say that we humans are being bombarded with messages and triggers is an insipid remark. 

We are under attack 24/24. Massively. In Marketing world it's always Shock and Awe.

Marketing departments are forever pushed to take things to a next level. And a next one. And a next one. They just have to find ways to get through the clutter and pierce through that forever hardening shield around you. 

Hence the repeat message, everywhere, all the time:

Link the word 'drink' with our Brand.

Make a drink that tastes like metal and makes your teeth rot, be associated with happiness.

Whatever you think of it, such is the world and it will become sucher and sucher. 

If a marketing department are not already busy with neuro-psychology, you might not make it into the next decade.

Marketing departments the world over are already long busy with ways to detect what you think. Not what you say you think, or what you think you think, or what you are absolutely convinced that you are thinking - but what is actually going on in your limbic or reptilian brain.

What a world?  What to think of this?  What can we do about it? 



  1. Makes total sense and very interesting!

  2. Thanks Howard and Alison.
    You both inspire and push me to be better.
    Always feel free to let me know a topic or question mark that interests you.

  3. I agree Ben, but it is still a good product if it was crap it would not work the same...

  4. Hi Jim, I totally agree.
    The FIRST marketing strategy is to have a good product.
    Without that foundation, all marketing is obsolete.

  5. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I truly appreciate your
    efforts and I will be waiting for your further post thank you once again.