December 8, 2017

You Can't Buy Love... But You Can Sell With It

It makes the world go round. Newborns fail to thrive without it. And you can't buy it. But you can sell with it. It is love.

In the brave new world of marketing manipulation, advertisers are pushing their crap with sex, as usual, but now they are also exploiting love. Perhaps consumers have caught on to "sex sells" advertising, and aren't consummating as many purchases as when the act was still novel.

Love is the final frontier for getting you to buy more everything.

One of the worst advertisements I have heard recently states that what makes a particular manufacturer's car, is love.

"Really? Love?" I think, "not steel, glass, rubber, lots of plastic, and the energy of thousands of workers along the supply chain?" It makes me want to throw up, or at least throw my hands up, every time I hear it.

Where is the love? In the glove box? Are the tires filled with love? Does it run on love? Are more expensive models made with more love than cheaper models (or are the cheaper ones made with "like").

If there is any love involved in capitalism and marketing, it is the love of money and profit above all else. But they don't say that. It is all about the loving relationship that they manipulate us into through propaganda, lies, deceit, and all that brain chemistry poking and prodding.

What if ads could only give factual information about products, instead of hacking into our emotional treasure chests and subconscious?

The problem advertisers would have with that is their teams of sell-out psychologists, neurologists and brain researchers know that just giving people the facts doesn't work well enough to satisfy the big brands. They know they have to manipulate their victims emotionally in order to maximize profit.

A Canadian brain researcher says, “The essential difference between emotion and reason is that emotion leads to action while reason leads to conclusions.”

The heart is impulsive, while the brain is analytical. Sellers want us to be impulsive. They don't want us using our brains, because they fear that the conclusions we would arrive at are:

1) I don't need that, or
2) I can't afford that, or
3) That product causes great harm to the environment, or
4) so many other conclusions that would lead us to reduce our consumption.

Wrap your brain around that as the consumer frenzy reaches its peak over the next few weeks. Defy the advertisers - use your heart AND your brain when making purchase decisions.

"To buy, or not to buy", is the question they never want us to ask ourselves.


  1. Anonymous12/08/2017

    Hi, I don't want to go on about video games, but the industry is also employing scientists and psychologists to increase consumption. One company analyses sweat, heart rate and other physiological markers when designing and testing games. Eye movements are also measured as longer distance eye movements cause fatigue and the resulting discomfort will reduce playing time. Selling is certainly getting more sophisticated. Consumers need to learn more about the toys they are buying.

    1. Anonymous12/08/2017

      Hi Alex,
      I heard a Ted-Ed talk the other day about artificial intelligence, and she talked about the algorithms in social media like Facebook can detect when a manic-depressive person is about to go into a manic-phase, and Facebook sends them more ads about gambling and spending, as apparently a person in that phase does those behaviors more often. Long sentence, sorry...but how frightening! And of course, this time of year any TV ad for Christmas is all about how to make your kids and husband or wife happy simply by spending. Ick - all pretty disgusting. This is the youtube/TedEd link:
      - Mary

    2. Anonymous12/09/2017

      Thanks, Mary for the link, watched the talk and you have to feel worried for the more vulnerable people who can be manipulated. Gambling seems to be everywhere these days. It's on TV, on YouTube, it's mixed in with games and it is disguised as investing in the stock market. Gambling is very profitable and is the latest cash cow.

    3. Alex and Mary,

      That is indeed scary stuff. It is important for people to know these things so they can protect themselves from predation.

  2. A Truly remarkable Frenchman Gustave le Bon wrote The Crowd A Study of the Popular Mind. I am rereading it again.Le Bon quotes are an inspiring .Saffron

    1. Saffron,

      Thank you - another one added to our book list.

      "The masses have never thirsted after truth. They turn aside from evidence that is not to their taste, preferring to deify error, if error seduce them. Whoever can supply them with illusions is easily their master; whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim."

      Gustave Le Bon

      From 1960, yet it describes what I see today perfectly. Cassandras beware.

  3. As usual a timely post Gregg. I'm embarking on a Buy Nothing Year for 2018 and have started blogging about it. I've always been open with my children about advertising and we of course don't watch it, however, short of keeping them locked in their room for eternity, I cannot protect them from it's influence forever. I can teach them critical thinking though and to savour love, friendship, family and experience over STUFF. Wish me luck! :)

    1. Anonymous12/09/2017

      Wow, Buy Nothing Year 2018! That is terrific. The best of luck to you and I look forward to hearing your progress. - Mary

    2. Thanks Mary. I'll keep the NBA community updated on my progress! It's something I've been wanting to do for years. Now is definitely the time to give it a go. Obviously I'll buy food, utilities, any necessary medicine and pay the mortgage. I think we have enough of everything else to last us. I'll be interested to see how much money we save as we're pretty budget driven already lol

    3. Karen,

      How exciting! A project for this time of year (Solstice/Rebirth) always gets me going, and yours is a good one. Please do share a link here so we can follow along.

      Advertising directed toward children should be classified as child abuse. Your kids are fortunate to have a parent that leads by example. They will be prepared as a post-consumer system sets in, and as we adopt a biocentric world view.

    4. Gregg, I am excited to be starting this. I've not blogged before but will try to put in a link to it. We're pretty low tech here (from choice), so I expect to make a few mistakes while I learn how to blog properly...but I'm ok with that :)
      I'm mostly hoping to keep an accurate account of what it feels like to be voluntarily spend free, and perhaps to document parts of our simple life.
      Thanks to you and all the NBA community for the inspiration to do this.

  4. Anonymous12/10/2017

    Interesting as always Gregg. Here we always have the ads on tv with no sound, and lately I've been saying to the kids 'let's try to guess what the ad is for' without hearing it. You are spot on when you say they are now trying to bring love into the picture, and I have been so surprised that some of the more 'emotional' ads have been for - banking!! (and sometimes fast food - arghhhh) I shouldn't be surprised, but of course any intelligent person then has to ask themselves, what the heck has the ad actually got to do with what it purports to be advertising...


    Karen, I'm also interested in following your no spend year.

    1. Madeleine, that's a good idea to turn the sound off and play a game with the children trying to guess what's being advertised. I might try that. Up until now I use the avoidance method for advertisements ie we pay a small amount to watch Netflix etc so we can avoid ads altogether. I also can monitor what the kids watch that way as the few times they've watched free to air tv, they inevitably see ads for all sorts of mindless crap, which they then instantly want! I guess it's part of life but I'll make it as small a part of theirs for as long as I can. Ideally I'd happily live without a TV at all actually. We have a couple of friends who don't have one so the idea is not totally alien to the children. It's a hard sell to the husband though LOL. Game of Thrones and all that!!!


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