Mind manipulation, brain washing, thought control, coercive persuasion, re-education… whatever you want to call it, it’s apparent that we know our minds can be controlled by outside sources. Brain washing is a popular science fiction and dystopian fiction trope but is actually considered non-scientific. There is apparently no scientific proof that at least the popular understanding of brain washing is factual.
But that’s not to say our minds cannot be … contorted, if you will. Whilst the idea of someone taking over your actions and controlling your mind completely is apparently only theoretical, it is not inaccurate to say that on a daily basis our minds are bombarded by attempts to bend our control, to distort what we think we know and to play on our desires to manipulate our impulses.
In it’s simplest form, advertising makes you want something you didn’t know you needed so that you go out and spend your hard earned cash on a product you may or may not regret buying later. I don’t fully understand perfume adverts though, they just confuse me and I can’t say I’ve ever bought any, so I guess they don’t work.
We are presented with images of perfection, people we can be if we buy a product, places we can go if we only spend our money with the right company, food we can eat if we go to the right places… things we can smell like if we wander around in dress shirts on the beach? There’s actually a picture of a burger at work that I walk past about 20 times a shift at the moment, it wasn’t until last night I realised that was probably the reason I’ve been hankering for a burger…
But the images are false, not new news. 84% of millenials don’t trust traditional advertising… maybe this is why…
We both know which one is the advert and which one you’ll actually get if you walk into a Macdonalds. So advertisers have to get more creative, they have to use the inter web to lure us into a false sense of security. Here’s a funny video… that’s actually a discrete advert. Here’s an oddly long shot of a can of coke in the middle of your favourite tv show. And there’s always the tugging on your nostalgia strings (particularly effective for generation Y, we do love the 90’s…).
This advert nearly made me want to give internet explorer another shot… insanity.
So every time we get suspicious of advertising those clever cookies at the advertising companies come up with new ways to convince us to go shopping. Though they are officially supposed to draw the line at subliminal marketing. No using fleeting images to convince us to buy things… except that’s exactly what an advert is isn’t it?
Aside from removing yourself from society and finding an uninhabited island to survive on there’s pretty much no way to avoid advertising. Even the most strong willed of people will inadvertently find themselves victim to those perfect images. I mean I’m still thinking about that burger… not the Macdonalds one, that’d be disappointing. Advertising works by making suggestions. And the power of suggestion on our little minds is a strong one.
I was watching Jonathan Creek once (great British murder mystery) and there was a guy in it who created an alibi for himself purely with the power of suggestion. Granted that’s a fictional guy in a fictional world with fictional events, but the idea kind of stuck with me. He literally altered this guys memory by adding in a few inane details so a new memory could be pieced together and falsified. And that is how easy it is to suggest a lie as truth or a want as a need, to the human mind.
P.S. searching for a gif of brain washing lead to a peculiarly large number of ladies washing cars with body parts other than their hands… I definitely typed in the word brain, and somehow I got brainless…