Have you been brandwashed? Working in social media and having a degree in marketing, product branding is something that I’ve always been fascinated by. Brand names are so much a part of our lives that we don’t even realize many times how often they make an appearance. Do you plug in your slow cooker in the morning or do you plug in your Crock Pot? Crock Pot is the brand name for certain slow cookers. Slow cooker is the actual appliance name. Do you grab a Kleenex when your nose is runny or a facial tissue? Again, Kleenex is the brand. Facial tissue is the item.
Brand names show up in so many places today that we are bombarded with them from our earliest days. How many of your baby’s onesies are emblazoned with Nike, have cartoon characters on them, or have a store brand name across the chest? I don’t even think about it any more when the kids leave the house with a music star’s picture on their t-shirt or a logo on the back of their jeans or their jacket. Why do we do this? If you’re curious, you will want to check out a book by Martin Lindstrom called Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy
Brandwashed is a look at why we think the way we do about what we buy and how companies encourage us to think this way to line their own pockets. The author decided to try to make a year without buying any new brands at all. It’s not as easy as you think. No Cheerios for breakfast – instead he chose an apple. No San Pellegrino water at the restaurant – instead he asked for water. He did continue to use the items that he had at home but when they broke or were finished, if it had a brand name of any sort on it, he didn’t buy it. He made it six months before being lured back to the name brands he was accustomed to. That’s when he realized he’d been Brandwashed.
Brandwashed will help you understand how brands invade our daily lives without us even knowing it. It will examine how advertisers and marketers target children at younger and younger ages. You’ll learn how retailers encourage panic and capitalize on the paranoia over contagious diseases, extreme weather, and food contamination scares. (Oh my word! We are due for snow! Run to the store now to stock up!) You’ll also learn how companies are secretly (or not so secretly) tracking some of the personal details of our lives and then using that information to target us with ads that have been psychologically tailored to appeal to us. The author even shares how the maker of one popular lip balm made their products chemically addictive to encourage us to continue to use them. Find out why men buy rugged, ripped products while women go for terms like enticing, soft, and luxurious and how brands take advantage of this.
This is an extremely interesting book. I totally admit that I am hooked on brand names. Whether I’m buying a kitchen appliance or a new handbag, I’m always very aware of what name brand it is. When I reach for my favorite beverage at the store, I know exactly which one I want. When I’m grabbing a package off the grocery store shelf, I’m more likely to grab one labelled natural and I always reach for the pink razor for me and the blue razor for my husband. If you’re looking for an interesting read that will make you stop and think, this is it! You’re not as aware of what you respond to as you think you are.