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Book Review

Dec 8, 2011
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‘Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy’

Courtesy of Beaverdale Books

Review by Harriet Leitch

By Martin Lindstrom

Crown Business



291 pp

Have you ever bought something based on the products commercial, not because you need it? It happens every day, and a new book from author Martin Lindstrom, will show you how companies do it. “Brandwashed” examines the techniques and strategies used by the advertising world to get you to buy a product. It presents a variety of ways the sale is closed and will intrigue both readers and everyday consumers.

“Brandwashing” begins when we are just children, even while still in the womb. Case in point: young, mothers-to-be were frequenting an Asian shopping mall, which played soothing music and used smells to make them comfortable. A surprising benefit — their newborns became calm when these new mothers brought them to the mall. Thus was a new generation of loyal mall shoppers born.

Mr. Lindstrom presents other familiar methods — fear, addiction, sex, peer pressure and nostalgia — in readable chapter after chapter. The most frightening chapter was not the one on fear, but the one that discusses data mining. To have retailers know that much about customers through your purchasing choices is just a little bit more than scary. And “loyalty card” will have a whole new meaning to readers.

Knowing all this doesn’t necessarily change your purchasing habits, but it sure opens your eyes to how marketers make you want to purchase certain brands for the items on your list. “Brandwashed” is an eye-opener. CV

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