Friday, March 20, 2015

Studying monkeys and children to manipulate people better

Marketing people continue to do research on more effective ways to manipulate the public for the benefit of the corporations. Then the corporations buy the ads and there is no one to teach the majority of the public properly to stand up to this manipulation. Instead as usual they continue to release part of the story without telling the public the full implication of it and enabling them to believe that they’re not being manipulated. This enables them to maintain some degree of plausible deniability and they can have the talking heads spin things if this is brought up for debate in a large forum. The latest example is an article in the Boston Globe about Targeting an audience of monkeys which is about psychological research into methods of marketing to monkeys so that they can better understand how this evolves into human behavior.

(First posted on Open Salon August 9 2011)

Once they understand this then it will enable them to improve their skills at manipulating members of the public that haven’t been educated about these manipulation tactics. This research involves more studying of the fact that sex sells; which is quite beneficial to the advertiser that wants to sell over priced or shoddy products to customers that respond more to emotional pitches. In many cases these customers are also reluctant to admit that they’ve been had so they often blame the messenger if someone attempts to educate them on the subject. This is of course designed to increase the profits of the corporations by enabling them to charge more for less; or to put it bluntly increase the amount of consumer and marketing fraud they participate in. Another way to put it is that a surprising amount of the economy which for a long time was increasing was doing so by dramatically increasing the percentage of fraud in the Gross Domestic Product.

There is little or no incentive to teach the public to avoid these manipulation tactics or do research into this. There are some exception fortunately; but they have little funding and they can’t get their view across to the majority of the public.

Some of the most obvious and basic principles of advertising were made quite clear decades ago by both Edith and Lucy when they both had their opportunities to star in a TV commercial. In both cases they made the mistake of being honest and weren’t given the job much to the disappointment of both Archie and Ricky. In Edith’s case she actually said something like “They want me to say that this is the softer one but I think that is the one that is the softest,” in her own style which might be why Archie called her a dingbat (a lovable one). The point is that there are few if any commercials that present their product honestly. When trying to maximize profit the way to accomplish this simply doesn’t involve providing the best information possible for the benefit of the consumer; therefore no advertising agency does this. However it does involve trying to do everything you can to convince the consumer that they’re looking out for the best interest of the consumer even though there is a clear conflict of interest. A simple principle that should be easy for most reasonable people to understand is the fact that almost all advertising under the current circumstances is intended to be fraudulent. Since this can be so easy for reasonable people to understand and the corporations realize this they may have come to the conclusion that they should target less reasonable people; or better yet get them while they’re young.

In fact this is exactly what they have increasingly been trying to do over the last several decades. As some segments of the public have become better educated and learned better to deal with fraudulent advertising the marketing people have learned how to be more effective with the reset and they have learned how to target children at a younger and younger age. They’re now trying to increase brand loyalty before children have a chance to learn how to think rationally and they’re actually going one step further and attempting to prevent them from learning to think rationally. The corporations have turned into child predators. This may seem far fetched until you realize some of the tactics they have been studying and implementing; however even if it isn’t quite true it is way to damn close! They have been hiring child psychologist to study little children in their homes and to make friends with them and act as if they’re looking out for their best interest even though this is clearly not true. They have even developed something they call the “girls intelligence agency” which involves hiring some of the cooler girls to study their peers and attempt to pitch items to them. This is only the beginning of some of the things they have been doing. And to make things worse on numerous occasions when sincere concerned citizens have attempted to complain congress has at times stepped in to protect the corporations not the children!

That’s right they protect the scam artists in several ways without providing any protection for the children.

One of the biggest ways they do this is by passing trade secrecy laws that enable the marketing researchers to do a large amount of the work in secrecy and making it illegal in some cases to expose what they’re doing to the public so that they may stand up to them. When concerned citizens complain the marketers often cry censorship; however when it comes to exposing their activities and the work product of their research they’re often the ones that are using trade secrecy laws to censor those that may want to blow the whistle on them. Fortunately there are some good researchers that have done some work to expose this activity and some of their work is available in many libraries around the country. This isn’t broadcasted by the mass media of course so if the word is going to get out on these practices it has to be done at the grass roots level for no; perhaps this will change if we ever develop a Mass Media that is actually interested in the best interest of the public which the current one pretends to be.

If you’re interested the following are some good books, articles and web sites that you can find out more on the subject. If you have a couple of these at your local library they come recommended; if you don’t perhaps you might consider donating a copy of one.

Juliet Schor “Born to Buy” 2004
Alissa Quart “Branded” 2004
Susan Linn “Consuming Kids” 2005
Naomi Klein “No Logo” 2002
Why They Whine: How Corporations Prey on Our Children by Gary Ruskin
Campaign for a commercial-free childhood

There are other sources listed at the end of some of these books some of which I may add at a later date; and I may follow up on this with a more detailed review of these activities and books in another month or so.

(For more information on Blog see Blog description and table of context for most older posts.)

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