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.


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