Advertising: Modern Day Brainwashing Essay

3285 words - 13 pages

Brainwashing and Mind Control are “best thought of as a series of techniques that are used over time to shape a person’s perception, cognition, emotions, decision making and behavior to such an extent that they have lost their freedom of choice” (Mind Control Today). These techniques, once in existence within authoritarian and totalitarian governments, are increasingly being practiced by advertising companies and mass media. There are extensive similarities among the political and economic standards that cause negative impacts on society, as a result of adopting these mind control tactics. As Malcom X pointed out, “The media is the most powerful entity on earth, because they control the minds of the masses”.
Advertisers and corporations are liable for using modern and sophisticated forms of mind control to the extent level of brainwashing consumers, in order to manipulate their choices and their spending habits. Our society is being negatively impacted, by becoming a consumer driven society constantly distracted by overwhelming persuasive advertisements, as opposed to ideal informative advertisements. The most vulnerable and negatively impacted targets of persuasive advertising are the younger, less mature, and/or less knowledgeable and self-directed consumers. Ironically, it was once said “An advertising agency is 85 percent confusion and 15% commission” (Allen). It is quite clear that social benefits are not part of this equation. The harm and severe social related costs far outweigh any economic growth and benefits deemed necessary for advertising and marketing companies.
Research suggests that we can actually influence the human mind without them being consciously aware. “Anything which is perceived consciously is open to critical evaluation and arguments, leaving a huge scope for rejection. Anything which is programmed deep into ones subconscious meets no resistance, making subliminal marketing more powerful than its conventional counterpart.” (Kapoor). Advertisers and marketing companies are mostly interested in subliminal manipulation because by targeting consumers’ subconscious mind, they can control their involuntary actions, emotions and beliefs. The subconscious part of our mind is able to process around 20,000 pieces of information per second, where as our conscious part can only cope with about forty. This function explains why any subliminal message that our subconscious receives, can be received and responded to by consumers without them ever being aware of it. This form of mind control can be very powerful if used correctly, it could influence consumers to want and buy a product without their control (Winder).
The result of mind control can be identified in persons who end up developing different beliefs and values. Once this controlling process grows in multiple different ways for a long period of time, it results in brainwashing. Interestingly enough, according to Steve Hassan, in brainwashing, the manipulator is the...

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