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Ivan's picture


If you've ever signed up for a loyalty card, given in to your kid's plea for a brand, or used Foursquare or Facebook…you've been "brandwashed."

In a shocking insider-account called BRANDWASHED: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy (September 20, Crown Business), Martin Lindstrom, the New York Times bestselling author of Buyology, exposes the very latest and most sophisticated techniques that even the most trusted companies are using to learn everything about you-and get you to buy.

Demonstrating how much things have advanced since Vance Packard's bestselling classic The Hidden Persuaders a half century ago, BRANDWASHED exposes the lengths marketers will go to exploit guilt, sex, insecurity, nostalgia and more to prey upon our fears and desires:

  • How marketers are reaching younger and younger children; Studies show babies recognize brands by 18 months, and can hear and remember ad jingles from the womb.
  • How companies secretly mine our digital footprints for the most intimate details of our private lives in order to target us with ads perfectly tailored to our psychological profiles.
  • What market Justin Bieber is actually aimed at (hint: not teens)
  • Surprising results of an fMRI study uncovering what heterosexual men really think about when confronted with sexually provocative advertising. (Hint: not their girlfriends).
  • How certain brands purposely make their products chemically addictive
  • How retailers capitalize on panic over viruses, weather events and food contamination scares (Guess where the $402 million market for hand sanitizers came from?)
  • How grocery brands create an illusion of freshness for products on the shelves for months
  • How Muzak gets programmed differently throughout the day to subconsciously persuade us to buy based on our mood

Not satisfied with research alone, Lindstrom embarked on two extreme experiments to test his findings. First, he went on a brand detox and committed to not buying a single new brand for a year until he couldn't stand it any longer. Next, he hired a family for four weeks to prove to us how much we should beware the most powerful persuader of all: our friends and neighbors.

Martin Lindstrom, chairman and founder of Buyology, Inc. was named one of the World's 100 Most Influential people of 2009 by Time magazine. Among the world's foremost marketers, Lindstrom advises top executives at companies such as McDonald's, Procter & Gamble, and Microsoft. His most recent book, Buyology, was a New York Times and Wall Street Journal and a USA Today "Pick of the Year." He appears regularly on "The Today Show," CNBC and ABC.

Commenting on this Blog entry is closed.

Lean_Sistema's picture
1 pencil

Definitely going to buy it!

steveballmer's picture
653 pencils
I am not Steve Ballmer pretending not to be me!

mrcoupon's picture
345 pencils

Considered buying it, saw the world's creepiest author's picture in this post, decided against it.

Ivan's picture

We can't help our looks. That should not deter you. :)

mrcoupon's picture
345 pencils

I'm just saying they need to do a little better job on the book jacket author photo.

Photographer: "OK, you've got really crooked teeth, so give me a big smile and show them off. Let's angle the spotlight so it shines right on your receding hairline. Now leer at me. No... your expression isn't creepy enough yet... work that leering; think 'pedophile who was just asked to lead a Boy Scout retreat'. Perfect."

Art D. Rector's picture
3162 pencils

The first part sounded good. The "experiment" part sounds a little too much like the Super-Size Me "experiments"... not very scientific. But overall I buy the idea (pun intended) - here in the US all you have to do is look at the cars people are driving to know it's true. I see women all the time in huge SUVs and pick-up trucks. It's so obvious the ONLY reason they bought them was the sales pitch and peer pressure - they have absolutely zero use for vehicles like that.

thornysarus's picture
930 pencils

This is going to be the next one on the shelf. Thanks Ivan.

Terrell Thornhill

e-zign Design Group

steveballmer's picture
653 pencils

You people should try being Microsofted!

Feels niiiiiice!
I am not Steve Ballmer pretending not to be me!

caoimghgin's picture
851 pencils

I love you fake Steve Ballmer who is not Steve Ballmer pretending not to be you!

Without my sense of direction, I don't know where I'd be.

steveballmer's picture
653 pencils

(I prefer you just like me though)
I am not Steve Ballmer pretending not to be me!

maekay's picture
4 pencils

I am honestly not surprised or shocked by any of these sophisticated tricks and techniques. Personally, the designer in me loves to be seduced by branding and clever ad campaigns. I'm also smart enough to know that I am seeing a very slick sales pitch. Branding and image matters, it's all about the manipulation of emotions and if it gets a person to buy something a) job well done to the creative team, b) purchasing=driving the economy. Yes, so do employment rates and blah-de-blah-blah-smartypants-politics etc. But hey, I LIKE being catered to! I like being stalked by these companies and seeing ads and getting coupons that fit my needs. It's convenient and useful to me and I'm not creeped out by it at all.

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