Though the exact percentage is debatable, the fact is that the vast majority of U.S. GDP is made up of personal consumption. The American consumer doesn’t just drive the U.S. economy, for decades he’s been driving the global one as well. Though that dynamic is slowly changing as Americans cut back on just about everything we buy, for the better part of the last 60 years, the U.S. consumer has been king. And from this has sprung a massive marketing and advertising industry coldly focused on a singular goal: getting us to buy as much stuff as they possibly can.
In his new book Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy, marketing guru Martin Lindstrom trains a bright light on his own industry to uncover all the unsavory things that marketers do to subtly, or not so subtly, influence our buying habits. Lindstrom’s agreed to answer your questions, so fire away in the comments section. As always, we’ll post his replies in due course.
Oh, and to prime the pump, here’s the Table of Contents:
1. Buy, Buy Baby: When companies start marketing to us in the womb
2. Peddling Panic and Paranoia: Why fear sells
3. I Can’t Quit You: Brand addicts, shopaholics, and why we can’t live without our smart phones
4. Buy It, Get Laid: The new face of sex (and the sexes) in advertising
5. Under Pressure: The power of peers
6. Oh, Sweet Memories: The new (but also old) face of nostalgia marketing
7. Marketers’ Royal Flush: The hidden powers of celebrity and fame
8. Hope in a Jar: The price of health, happiness, and spiritual enlightenment
9. Every Breath You Take, They’ll Be Watching You: The end of privacy
10. I’ll Have What Mrs. Morgenson Is Having: The most powerful hidden persuader of them all: us