You Are Not In Control: How We’re All Being Brandwashed

The ability to influence (E.g. how to persuade someone to do something) is, in my opinion… one of the most important skills to develop.

Us Internet Marketers think that we are elite at this skill, but we are far from the best.

And there are those people behind the scenes, orchestrating the buying behaviour of the masses.

These brand experts and marketers are literally responsible for selling BILLIONS of dollars of stuff each day.

And one of these guys, just wrote a book about it:

Here are just a few of the mind-blowing things he covers:

  • They scan people’s brains

There are three things every guy (and maybe girl?) think they can do/are: win in a fight, seduce the opposite sex and are immune to advertising.

Over the past 4 years of learning how to influence people it becomes clear that maybe yes… people think they are immune to advertising.. and they are correct about this.

The influence is occurring on a subconscious level.

It astounded me that at multiple occasions during the book, Martin explained how marketers use a technology called fMRI to scan people’s brains as they interacted with certain information.

This gives the marketers an objective view of the impact of certain messages before rolling then out, to ensure that the message they do release… works.

  • They are not afraid to go dark

One of Calvin Klein’s bestselling perfumes of all time: Euphoria… has been designed to simulate the experience of a woman being blinded folded and feeling out of control.

Hundreds of different variations of the “juice” were created and tested with women as they walked through dark rooms until they found the scent that elucidated those feelings of “un-control”.

And can you guess the scene that was shown in the TV ad?

  • Unborn babies are not immune to influence

A confectionary brand in the Philippines gave doctors free sweets to hand out to pregnant women to “indoctrinate” their babies on the flavour.

Outrageous… but true.

Furhermore, mothers of 1 year old babies in Hong Kong found that they became sedated as they walked into a mall that they had spent significant time in when in the womb, as they became familiar with the music that was playing.

  • Get them young (To increase lifetime value)

This is logical.

Us marketers need to understand acquisition cost and lifetime value. The longer a person’s life… the longer their potential lifetime value.

This is the reason why advertising for Gillette razors and the whole female cosmetics industry is targeting younger and younger consumers, with the goal of locking in their loyalty for years to come.

  • Cooking Vs Assembling

A beautiful example of understanding your customer avatar and then building a product that suits their needs.

A few years ago, it became “good” for mothers to create fresh food for their children and “bad” for mothers to buy prepared or takeaway food for their children.

So… some very clever marketers in the food industry created a new type of cooking: “assembling”.

This basically allowed mothers to feel good and tell their friends about “cooking”, when in reality, they were simply “assembling”. They could purchase the base, sauce and topping of a pizza separately and then assemble these pre-cooked pieces to create the illusion they were actually preparing fresh food for their children.

  • Axe Research

Taking customer research to the next level… when Unilever decided to create a new brand of male deodorants and shower gels, they set out on a mission to understand the ultimate male desire.

After surveying 12,000 male adults, they found that this was being desired by not one… but multiple women.

They then selected a sample of 100 of these men and followed them on a night out in their local bars to understand their mating strategies.

From this work, they identified 5 separate dating “archetypes” and then created ALL of their marketing materials around just two of these people.

This brand is called Axe in the US and Lynx in the UK (Note the masculine sounding names for what fundamentally is not a masculine product) and ultimately became one of the most well known cosmetics brands in the world.

  • Remind people of time

A quick tip here…

Expert marketers use the concept of time to influence.

(I also wrote an article about how Dj Khaled influences the people that consume his content (music videos) here.)

Time is the one resource that every person wants more of, so that adverts that mentioned this concept, converted significantly higher than those that didn’t…

  • Pixie Dust

Martin was drafted into work with one of the world’s greatest royal families as their popularity was plummeting.

It turns out that they had been spending too much time with the “common” people, and that their “pixie dust” had become commoditised.

Have you ever noticed how publicists and managers limit the amount of time that their celebrity clients can spend with their fans?

As the more time you spend with a “celebrity” the more you realise that they are just normal people.

Once Martin explained this concept to them, looked up some old rituals for them to re-start and suggested they seek out a royal marriage which would lead to a royal baby… their popularity started to increase again.

And if you want to go DEEPER into this topic and to learn exactly how you can use these concepts in your business, I would also highly recommend a book by my good friend Richard Lewis, he know’s this stuff…

And has kindly put together a comprehensive guide on persuasion and how it relates to selling things on the Internet:


Ignore the old school sales page, the content is extremely relevant to every Internet Entrepreneur 😉