A wonderful four-hour look at how Edward Bernays contributed to shaping the modern American consumer landscape using his uncle’s principles.
By Liza Persson
The American department store chain J.C. Penney is bringing back its’ mail order catalogue to increase its customer engagement (Reuters, 2014). My first thought was that mail order catalogues seem so quaint these days.
My second one was: it’s smart to bring it back. Without it, a swipe of customers would be lost, because for them the purchase is just one step in a much longer process preceding and following that transaction for which having an actual, physical, mail order book is indispensable, a process far more important than the product one ends up buying.
Discrimination deemed legal, product pricing based on data collected about an individual is slowly coming to the public’s attention, although the practice came into being long before the Internet did. It appears that corporations are regularly using what they know about their customers – their income and personal purchasing habits – to make adjustments to the price points for items that appear on computer screens (Fertik, 2013; Shpanya, 2013; Valentino-DeVries, Singer-Vine, & Soltani, 2012). In effect, what you are charged for an item may not be what your friend sitting next to you is being asked to pay while shopping at the same online store for the same product. According to an unidentified programmer most of these alterations are based on your location, browsing history and your preferred operating system (Shpanya, 2013). Computer cookies pick up this information and transmit them to the store fronts (Potter, 2013). So what’s new? Do you use Facebook? If so, your preferences are about to be sold globally to enhance your mobile advertising experience using the Facebook Audience Network (FAN) (Beer, 2014).
“Psychology has been at the heart of advertising since its invention, although, academically, advertising and psychology have long since gone their separate ways. For advertisers, the ability to manipulate consumer impressions and decision making has been the key to success. If product sales increase following a carefully orchestrated campaign, the persuasive tactics have evidently worked, although as with any natural experiment it is hard to establish cause and effect due to the lack of control over confounding variables” (Giles, p. 106).
Giles, D., 2003. Media Psychology. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
‘The Power Inside’ is the third social film in a series created by Pereria & O’Dell for Toshiba and Intel. The series, which launched in 2011 with the film ‘Inside’, has been proclaimed as ‘groundbreaking’ by Fast Company and won multiple awards.
This third installment launched August 15, 2013 with a six episode web series featuring a strong ensemble cast including Harvey Keitel. The campaign was aimed at tech-savvy MillenTrnials and was hoping to promote Toshiba laptops that housed the Intel Core 15 Processor. Campaign assets included six ten minute webisodes featured on a sleek website, an active Facebook page, a Twitter feed and a YouTube channel.
“Public relations is … a communicative process designed to enhance the relationship between the organization and the public and, as such, is a branch of propaganda…. Propaganda is here defined as a deliberate attempt to persuade people, by any available media, to think and then behave in a manner desired by the source, it is really a means to an end” (Taylor, 2003, pp. 6-7).
Taylor, P. M. (2003). Munitions of the Mind. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
by Lisa Peyton
‘Chipotle’s latest marketing campaign has gone viral’ reads the headline of one of the many articles buzzing about this 3 minute video simply called ‘The Scarecrow’.
Since first hearing about the video over a week ago in a newsletter I subscribe to, I have been bombarded with references to the campaign in almost every facet of my life. My digital marketing students a Portland State, my social media clients, my connections on LinkedIn, the girl at the gym, strangers on the streetcar – everyone, it seems, it talking about it. Continue reading
WHY was Obama’s campaign SO effective? I recently ran across two quotes that answer that question and have much broader implications for the future of digital media. The first was from Pamela Rutledge, in her article ‘How Obama Won the Social Media Battle in the 2012 Presidential campaign’. She summed it up this way, “An effective social media campaign is based on the psychology of social behaviors NOT the current technology” (Rutledge, p. 2013). Mybo.com was able to take advantage of new technologies surrounding online social networks in order to enable Obama supporters to connect and build social relationships. The second quote was from the Handbook of mobile communication studies, chapter 17 by Howard Rheingold. He eloquently puts it this way:
Communication technologies and literacies possess a power that has, on many occasions, proven mightier than physical weaponry — the potential to amplify, leverage, transform, and shift political power by enabling people to persuade and inform the thoughts and beliefs of others.
Obama recruited a variety of tools that allowed his supporters to easily find and inform undecided voters. Continue reading
Your attention is what every advertiser wants, not necessarily because they want to change your mind, but simply because they want to reinforce opinions you may already hold. Repetitive attention to their product breeds familiarity and can steer individual choices at a later time. The use of imagery builds this cognitive phenomena quickly. Continue reading
An interesting web capability called Churnalism was recently introduced in the United States, brought to us by the British Media Standards Trust. In short, just as plagiarism software operates, the Churnalism site will compare journalism with known press releases and attempt to identify the source of the information. This capability will also allow the user to determine if quotes have been taken out of context. It should be a great way to detect churn and spin while increasing media literacy.