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Thursday, 15 November 2012

THE BLATANT PERSUADERS



One of my favourite books of all time is Vance Packard's The Hidden Persuaders - about advertising, marketing and all that jazz in and out of the shadows.

I have been toying with an idea to write my version - The Blatant Persuaders - and have been doodling with an introduction.  The book may never be written but here are my rough opening words:

INTRODUCTION

The idea for this book was born out of frustration.  I am a voter, a viewer, a listener, a reader and a man with needs, wants and desires.  I am also a member of the human race (as far as I know) and I think (I may be wrong) that I have some right to personal opinions on the world around me and a further right to think for myself and make decisions independently.  As a rational human being, I am, of course, open to argument and persuasion but I like to think that final decisions affecting my life are mine and mine alone.  But more often than not I don’t feel that I am a constructive part of  “the global community” in so many ways.  I don’t always feel that my decisions are purely mine.  I am being influenced by overt and covert methods of manipulation, as we all are.  I feel I am being lead by the nose on a lot of things, swept along by the hype of the moment.  I feel overpowered by advertising, advice, criticism and opinion coming at me from all directions and through various technological and printed media channels.  I tend to complain about all sorts of things, in that now accepted grumpy old citizen kind of way, but, after a long career in business, I am happy with that aspect of my personality because I have been drilled to believe that feedback is the breakfast of champions. Ugh.  It could also be the indigestion of losers.  But I digress.  I watch television, surf the Internet, listen to the radio, read newspapers, magazines and books to keep myself informed, educated and entertained. I own a mobile phone with all the positives and negatives associated with it.  I have an iPad, so feel both connected and handcuffed. I should be okay with “my world” but I believe I am being manipulated into thinking certain things, behaving in certain ways, believing certain fads, bending to certain opinions, feeling strangely educated but simultaneously brainwashed, feeling involved up to a point but isolated as a freak if I don’t text, tweet or press the red button at the right times.  It no longer feels like “my” world.  More and more, the professionals in media and marketing are playing with my mind, heart and soul by making me worry about lifestyle, food, the environment, poverty, law and order, health, education, the economy, the future, my lack of cool gadgets, how I am able to get up in the morning or to sleep at night if I don’t live responsibly or exercise enough or pray to some guru or other.  I feel bombarded by advice and information on how I should look and what I should wear.  I watch, listen and read and gradually I have begun to doubt my ability to survive without the solutions and remedies offered to me.  I do not believe I am alone.

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