Brandwashed: branding and marketing expert Martin Lindstrom says consumers need to wake up and become savvy from Cambridge Judge Business School on Vimeo.

Red Pill or Blue Pill?

A review of Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy
By Martin Lindstrom

When you wrap up the conclusion of this book, you’re either going to come away with a refresher course on the effective and powerful tools used by marketing firms, or you’ll see the conspiracy (perhaps) behind how advertisers manipulate consumers into buying their products and services – and go back to school and start a reputable career.

Lindstrom is no social media guru spouting half-backed tactics. He’s a respected branding expert (listed in Time Magazines Top 100 Honorees) who pulls back the cover on everything from fear, nostalgia, celebrity endorsements, big data, privacy and predicts an Orwellian future crafted by savvy advertising, social media and marketing firms. In fact, if you don’t get the impression that there’s a Roswell behind advertising and template for power…you get the picture.

This isn’t a conspiracy theory book by the Michael Moore of advertising. Instead, it’s an honest expose’ of traditional practices that have developed in an age where big data now provides studies and practices to motivate consumers. There’s science, research and plenty to back up the claims in this narrative, but what’s more important perhaps is the realization that we need to wake up.

In the post-privacy era, the genetic elements of advertising cultured in the gilded media age has given away to the potential for a dystopian future, where databases filled with websites, likes, friends and other private location, purchasing habits and the like build a profile for our current and future selves. In most cases, we’re oblivious to what’s going on and this book is a nice bellwether – a sober look at what’s happening around us.

If you’re in advertising or marketing, this is a great book. If you find yourself intrigued by the economics of our age – buy this book. I listened to the audio version first and found it completely engaging and since I can always use a dopamine rush, I just might be the hard copy so I can mark a few pages, but I highly recommend this book for those in the field.