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Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy

Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy

4.1 19
by Martin Lindstrom, Dan Woren (Read by)

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Foreword by Morgan Spurlock

From the bestselling author of Buyology comes a shocking insider’s look at how today’s global giants conspire to obscure the truth and manipulate our minds, all in service of  persuading us to buy.
Marketing visionary Martin Lindstrom has been on the front lines of the branding wars for over twenty


Foreword by Morgan Spurlock

From the bestselling author of Buyology comes a shocking insider’s look at how today’s global giants conspire to obscure the truth and manipulate our minds, all in service of  persuading us to buy.
Marketing visionary Martin Lindstrom has been on the front lines of the branding wars for over twenty years.  Here, he turns the spotlight on his own industry, drawing on all he has witnessed behind closed doors, exposing for the first time the full extent of the psychological tricks and traps that companies devise to win our hard-earned dollars.
Picking up from where Vance Packard's bestselling classic, The Hidden Persuaders, left off more than half-a-century ago, Lindstrom reveals:
   • New findings that reveal how advertisers and marketers intentionally target children at an alarmingly young age – starting when they are still in the womb!
   • Shocking results of an fMRI study which uncovered what heterosexual men really think about when they see sexually provocative advertising (hint: it isn’t their girlfriends).
   • How marketers and retailers stoke the flames of public panic and capitalize on paranoia over global contagions, extreme weather events, and food contamination scares.
   • The first ever neuroscientific evidence proving how addicted we all are to our iPhones and our Blackberry’s (and the shocking reality of cell phone addiction - it can be harder to shake than addictions to drugs and alcohol).
   • How companies of all stripes are secretly mining our digital footprints to uncover some of the most intimate details of our private lives, then using that information to target us with ads and offers ‘perfectly tailored’ to our psychological profiles.
   • How certain companies, like the maker of one popular lip balm, purposely adjust their formulas in order to make their products chemically addictive.   
   • What a 3-month long guerilla marketing experiment, conducted specifically for this book, tells us about the most powerful hidden persuader of them all.
   • And much, much more. 
 This searing expose introduces a new class of tricks, techniques, and seductions – the Hidden Persuaders of the 21st century- and shows why they are more insidious and pervasive than ever. 

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Audio
Even the savviest consumer is susceptible to the often invisible influences of marketing tactics. Brand outreach is so expansive that companies attempt to influence children in utero by exposing mothers to certain odors and jingles. In other words, fetuses are being prepped for brand loyalty before they can even open their mouths and cry. Lindstrom has more than 20 years of corporate marketing expertise, so Brandwashed is filled with fascinating anecdotes and corporate tactics that are at once brilliant and creepy. Dan Woren’s narration is well paced, authoritative, and soothing. This style works during the book’s more didactic passages. But the author’s prose also contains dry humor that doesn’t come across via Woren’s staid reading. While this audio production is slick and professional, it also feels a little lifeless. A Crown Business hardcover. (Sept.)
Publishers Weekly
Lindstrom (coauthor of Buyology) passes off a familiar survey of marketing methods as an exposé. A marketer himself, he shares this primer of modern marketing objectives supposedly as critique, but just as much to crow about their efficacy. Lindstrom is especially proud of his own endeavors, including creating a fake “family” and installing them in a California neighborhood, then charting their influence on the purchasing behavior of their friends and neighbors. The book does include some surprises, particularly the extent to which Internet searches, sophisticated data mining based on credit card use, and loyalty card purchase tracking encourage more purchases. “Being able to predict what the consumer is likely to buy next—and being the first company in line to perfectly target the offering to the consumer in question—is of paramount importance to companies of all stripes,” he writes. Lindstrom makes some astute assessments about marketing techniques that work, noting that the concept of celebrity endorsers has extended to the lowest standard of public recognition, the reality television “star.” His insider’s perspective proves valuable, but his book strains for real critique and sophisticated analysis. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
"I've only read two business books from cover to cover in the last five years: Buyology and Brandwashed. It is no coincidence that Martin Lindstrom is the author of both of those books.  Brandwashed is smart, thought-provoking, and laugh out loud funny."  
-Steven Levitt, Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago and bestselling author of Freakonomics

-“If you buy products, you need to read this book. It's really that simple.”
 - Tom Rath, New York Times Bestselling author of StrengthFinder 2.0 and How Full is Your Bucket

"If you want to learn to cut through marketers' phoney health and wellness claims and make smarter decisions  -  about both your body and your money - you need to read this eye-opening book."
-Dr Oz, bestselling author of YOU: The Owner's Manual health series.

“Parents of small children who read this book will cringe (while lunging for the power button on the computer). Savvy marketers will take notes.”

"A fascinating read. ...Given just how marketing-saturated our culture has gotten, Lindstrom's book argues convincingly that no one should view himself or herself as a rational actor. It's worth thinking about the next time you walk out of Best Buy in a daze, having no idea what the heck you just spent $600 on.
-The Boston Globe.

“I am fascinated and empowered by Martin’s work, both as a business woman and as an individual consumer trying to buy smarter! Martin has changed the way I view brands and consumer behaviors. Very enlightening!"
-Tyra Banks

"A crucial bridge between the unconscious mind, the brand that's marketing to you, and the impulse to buy...it's a wake-up call that you can't afford to ignore!"
-- Jean Chatzky, bestselling author of Money 911, Financial Editor NBC Today
“I can’t think of a better tour guide to take us into the black box that is brand marketing. I’ll never look at my favorite brands the same way again!”
 - Bill Tancer, bestselling author of Click: What Millions do Online and Why it Matters.
“Martin Lindstrom makes the point that marketing today is about connecting with the consumers emotionally in order for them to participate in the brand. Surely he received some of his inspiration from Priceline.com and “the negotiator.” I found his book insightful and informative.”
-- William Shatner

Product Details

Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 5.10(h) x 1.16(d)

Meet the Author

MARTIN LINDSTROM, was voted one of the World's 100 Most Influential people of 2009 by Time magazine.  Among the globe's foremost marketers - now turned consumer advocate - Lindstrom has advised top executives at companies such as McDonald's Corporation, Procter & Gamble, and Microsoft. His most recent book, Buyology, was a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller and voted "Pick of the Year" by USA Today. He is also chairman and co-founder of Buyology Inc

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Brandwashed 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
R_Andrews More than 1 year ago
When I was growing up I remember my parents making a list of all the groceries we needed to pick up while we were at the supermarket. I come from a big family and we would all head to the store on Sunday after church. Little did I know, and only now thanks to Brandwashed, that my family was playing right into the hands of the marketers employed by that grocery store! Not only do supermarkets constantly change the location of items to keep you waltzing around their stores, but according to Brandwashed 75% of spontaneous food purchases are a result of a nagging child. So here we have my parents walking around the store aimlessly looking for that tube of toothpaste or jar of peanut butter with all of these nagging kids clinging to them saying, 'buy me this! buy me that!' We must have cost them a fortune! Of all the subjects discussed in Brandwashed, the last chapter about the Morganson family, if that's there real name, was by far the most intriguing. He paid a married couple and their three sons to move into a gated community in Orange County, CA and market products to their neighbors. I have never heard of anything like this done before, it was mind blowing! This book has totally changed the way I look at supermarkets, credit cards, search engines and even the apps that I have on my iPhone. I don't know what drove the author to write this, but I am glad that he did.
Meltivore More than 1 year ago
Martin does a good job of explaining what goes on in today's marketing tactics. Many of the ways in which we're roped in are not unexpected, but not always obvious. Using fMRI monitoring to gauge our primal longings and fears is just one of the many ways that are used to gain insight in marketing to the masses. It's both amazing and appalling how we are separated from our hard-earned dollars. A good read; you'll never view brands or a shopping trip the same way.
Fromage More than 1 year ago
I used to use my credit/debit cards for all of my transactions. After reading this book I have started to carry cash on me a lot more often. The experiment described in the last chapter is really cool, and really scary. Definitely worth your time.
styleman428 More than 1 year ago
This was a very interesting and well-researched book. I would suggest this book not only to those interested in business, but to those interested in psychology as well.
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CrazyLegsFindlay More than 1 year ago
If you are ever going to make another purchase I would suggest giving this book a chance. It flows very well and crams a ton of subject matter into a short read.
The_Walrus83 More than 1 year ago
I don't know what A-G-M was thinking (probably because that person is an employee of Whole Foods) but this book was so insightful. I have been paying so much more attention to supermarkets and you know what? All of them have flowers right when you walk in, this can't be a coincidence! There are so many more gems in there, great read for you and your wallet!
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A-G-M More than 1 year ago
The subject matter is intriguing and is worthy of a well researched book on the subject, but this is not it. I, for a fact, know that most of what is says aboout Whole Foods Market are lies or at best half truths - which make me seriously question everything else he has written.