Little Grey Cells #10… We are being brandwashed too easily

* Martin Lindstrom is the author of revelatory best-sellers Buyology: How everything we beleive about what we buy is wrong and Brandwashed: Tricks companies use to manipulate our minds and persuade us to buy

Brandwashed is an exposé on the workings of big brand marketeers, as someone who works as a respected consultant within the industry, what made you decide to write the book?

Today the consumers are the owner of brands – not the companies and it is essential for companies to ‘clean up their house’ and prepare themselves for a world where the consumer sooner rather than later will hear about what’s going on behind the scenes – good as well as bad.

A ton of companies, of course, have nothing to hide – yet some have. So this book both talks to the consumer – sharing a ‘behind the scenes’ impression – but also to companies, hopefully making them realise how important it is to act in line with the future of ethics where consumers increasingly are gaining amazing power.

Advanced science is increasingly being used to map out consumers responses and true neural behaviour, what do you think is next?

This is only the beginning. Now that the first round of hype has faded out, a ‘cleaning process’ of promises, companies and individuals is going on – there are still far too many unrealistic impressions on what is possible to be achieved using neuro-based research techniques.

The next step will be an improvement in the accuracy of the results – the future? To truly understand our non-conscious mind – the reality is that we understand less than 5% of our non-conscious behaviour – so there’s a lot of work to be done.

In your book you attempt to live one year without purchasing a new branded product – would you recommend this as a lifestyle choice?

Absolutely – its a great way to get a true ‘wake-up’ call – but it’s also a way to learn how to appreciate things more. Once we get used to things we tend to appreciate them less, keeping yourself away from brands for more than 12 months makes you appreciate what you have.

Does it upset you when you see marketing being used subversively at the consumers’ expense?

Absolutely – or else I wouldn’t have written this book. I constantly remind myself that I’m a consumer too. For sure I’m just as upset as everyone else if someone tries to cheat me and this ‘world view’ needs to drive our marketing work – ensuring that ethics becomes a natural part of our code of conduct.

In Brandwashed You also set up a family in the suburbs and have them actively influence their neighbours through a series of experiments – what was your biggest revelation?

That we talk about brands more than 50% of the time; all day long!

Where do you live and why?

I mainly live in Australia. Why? Because it is an amazing country, it’s as simple as that!

What/where is the most beautiful place that you have ever been?


What was the last music you bought/downloaded?

Paul Van Dyke

You live your life whizzing between cities advising companies on their marketing decisions, any tips for other frequent travellers like yourself? And what do you never leave home without?

To have a home base, to maintain your friends and most importantly always to spend one additional day wherever you go in order to learn about the local culture.

Tim Healey (15 Posts)

Tim is a DJ, music producer and digital advertiser.