The Persuaders

No, not those "Persuaders", these ones...
(PBS embed code FAIL)

The doc may be slightly dated, but still no less relevant to understanding what lengths corporations are willing to go to when building a brand. Millions of dollars are spent hiring men like Clotaire Rapaille, Frank Luntz and Acxiom to ensure campaigns and products have the best chance of success. Between just those three players alone, it sounds like humans are ruled by reptilian drives, waiting to be told what we want to hear - and companies like Acxiom are mining, selling, and analysing our data to determine just where we are most receptive and vulnerable.

Exhibit A:  The marketing company marketing itself:
  Well ARE YOU squeezing every branding idea or key message out of all that data you've paid for?  Not sure?  
"See how others succeeded" = See successful companies, thereby reminding yourself how you're falling short.

Today, being media literate is part of being a responsible citizen, it's paramount to take time to become as skeptical as possible and remain watchful for those times we might suddenly feel particularly softened, sympathetic or drawn towards a brand. As with most things that are at first glance easy to hate, of course marketing and brand building has had a bad name since No Logo became gospel for the a new generation of youth tired of pandering ads and eager to embrace counter-culture and anti-establishment ideals.

So it's worth asking: are public relations firms and advertising agencies always inherently full of evil machinations?  There are plenty of organisations such as Amnesty International who are just as seriously tapping into advanced marketing techniques to help bring their target audience to consider the issues their brand of activism needs people to take notice of.

Catching my eye with an ironic, upsetting, subtly subversive ad campaign to bring attention to human rights? It feels a bit forced, but . . . sure.

Tapping into my primal desire to avoid being ostracised to sell me some shoes?  

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