Archives for posts with tag: advertizing

Any way you look at it, a human individual is a decision making machine.

When living in the bush, the decision making process was rather straightforward.
Information was available on a ‘what you see is what you get’ basis and bad decisions had the rather nasty habit of becoming obvious after a very short time.

Now, when living in a social context, things are a little more complicated.
Other people want from us.
Other people actually depend on convincing us to do various things and not to do other things.

‘Convincing us’ means influencing our decision making processes.
Which can be done using one, two or a combination of the following methods.

By ‘managing’ the information we have at our disposal when making a certain decision.
By altering the way in which we feel about the outcome of that decision being put in practice.

The A&B of the matter, for those familiar with the domain…

But there are two other things which are rarely discussed about these matters.

How ethical is it to manipulate other people?
Specially when the manipulated are not fully aware of what’s going on, which puts the manipulator in almost full control of the whole process.

What are the longer term consequences of the whole thing?
Is there any difference between manipulating people to ‘consume’ things which are more or less detrimental to their health and manipulating people into making far reaching political decisions?

As in ‘is there any difference between convincing people that smoking isn’t that bad for them (or at least pleasurable enough to balance the risk) and convincing them to vote for/against … (feel free to pick your own candidate/issue)?

“The researcher whose work is at the center of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data analysis and political advertising uproar has revealed that his method worked much like the one Netflix uses to recommend movies.”

Matthew Hindman,


But who made this possible?
Is there an ‘armed robber’ in every store that compels us to buy one thing or another?

Read this report and find out a very interesting fact.
“Companies that control the world’s food”,

10 companies are listed there. Nine of them sell things that are marginally useful. For instance even the most health conscious person in the world might, from time to time, indulge in a glass of milk, or a cup of yogurt, accompanied by a couple of Oreos.
The tenth sells carbonated, artificially flavored and acidified sweetened water, while the sweetener is sometimes obtained from corn. Yes, you guessed right, it’s Coca-Cola Company.

And now the interesting part. 8 of the other nine companies have a reasonable profit margin of around 10% (Mars hasn’t disclosed the figure) while Coca Cola has a profitability rate of 18%. Not bad, eh? Specially after considering that they have spent another 6.4% of their turnover on publicity – to remind us of their existence… while the other companies have something to communicate with their ‘audience’ (new products and things like that) Coke hasn’t changed anything of real importance in their line of products since … ?!?

Pepsi, the ‘other’ beverages company in the list, is in line with the majority of the rest when considering the profitability rate, about 10%, and publicity spending – a little less than 4% – while a few of the others try hard to improve their share market by agresivelly advertizing their ‘public image’ instead of letting their ‘considerably better and cheaper product’ become recognized (and demanded) by the happy customer: Kellogg 7.4%, Mars 6.6% but the champion of the advertizing agencies is…Unilever with 10.7%. You thought too that Unilever was more of a chemical company (Omo, Domestos, Rexona, Axe, Vaseline) than anything else? Apparently about half of it’s business is about ‘food’, if you can call it that: Hellmann’s (canned mayonaise), Becel/Flora (hydrogenated vegetable oils known as margarine)… The only really edible thing I found on their list is Ben & Jerry (an otherwise delicious ice cream) (

Consumer discretion is in dear need nowadays.

PS Dove, another of the Unilever brands, is the soap I’ll use to wash my hands of this messy business once I’ve had finished this post. In fact I’ve been using it for years now.

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