Book List: You’ve Been Brandwashed

Over the past week of work, I still tried to squeeze in toms reading time. I read Buyology a few weeks ago, and was really excited to read Martin Lindstrom’s new book Brandwashed.  I waited two months to go through the waiting list at the library for this book, and he met all my expectations and more!

Lindstrom peels back the layers of marketing secrets. He writes with a critical tone about the public sharing of information on megasites like facebook and google, as well as explains how loyalty cards for major retailers work to earn them more money despite their arguments that the cards are meant to assist the consumer in saving money. One of my favorite parts about his writing is the experience that he brings to the table from all of the different marketing projects he has worked on. He explains how Walmart, MacDonald’s, Whole Foods, and others use specific marketing tactics to target populations that they believe will buy in to their brand, and their products.

My favorite chapter of the book was a chapter on nostalgia marketing where Lindstrom discusses the ways in which advertisers paint their contemporary products as linked to the past, to traditions, and to simpler times. I also found the first chapter fascinating as he explains how specific products and music marketed to pregnant mothers will impact behaviors of their children once the children are born.

He writes about keeping up with a fictional family, The Morgensons, with a social experiment that essentially copies the premise of the 2009 movie The Jonses Lindstrom’s warning about the dangers of allowing these companies to access to much of our personal information are direct contrasts to Jeff Jarvis’ Public Parts  that I wrote about last week. He writes both as marketer and consumer in a voice that shows some tension (and an awareness of this tension) between these two roles as he propagates marketing techniques and falls for them.