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How the usage of psychological techniques used by the prolific and still very much known archetype psychotherapist, Sigmund Freud, whose nephew Edward Bernays took on his uncle’s ideas in order to develop techniques with the purpose of manipulating the masses. The general promise and legacy of Edward Bernays is how to convince people to purchase things …   Read More

How the usage of psychological techniques used by the prolific and still very much known archetype psychotherapist, Sigmund Freud, whose nephew Edward Bernays took on his uncle’s ideas in order to develop techniques with the purpose of manipulating the masses. The general promise and legacy of Edward Bernays is how to convince people to purchase things they really don’t need and then go on mass producing those goods to fulfil their selfish unconscious desires. What is even more shocking is that with the legacy of Sigmund Freud, Edward Bernays brilliantly succeded on giving his services to major brands we still very much know today among them like GE and Chiquita. Interestingly enough, it was with the help of Bernays that the CIA overthrew the Guatemalan government in the 1950s and hence the term we use today “Banana Republic.” The premise is people are subconsciously selfish and they have an ego which is selfish, knowing that, the techniques used in advertising catered to that inner desires. Of course, the result of this is a society of consumers. To put an example of how Bernays succeeded in his persuasion through advertising techniques, he was given the task to convince women that smoking was “cool” and liberating. By convincing women that smoking is a statement of liberation, Bernays successes on changing the mindset that smoking was a statement of liberty by relating the cigarettes as the symbol of the penis and as the symbol of the torch in the statue of liberty. Bernays was the author of the book Propaganda, where he wrote:

“If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it? The recent practice of propaganda has proved that it is possible, at least up to a certain point and within certain limits.”

Of course, we know this is true as it was clearly demonstrated by Nazis specifically by the master of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels. Goebbels was the Minister of Propaganda during the Third Reich. Goebbels used propaganda techniques in order to ideologically prepare for aggressive warfare and for the “justified” annihilation of people of different creeds. Adolf Hitler himself is quoted in his book Mein Kampf:

“The function of propaganda is to attract supporters, the function of organization to win members… Propaganda works on the general public from the standpoint of an idea and makes them ripe for the victory of this idea….”

Of course, what is the relevance of all of this today? Well, the research and R & D did not stop at Bernays. Research on persuasion is very much alive today and thriving. Psychologists are working around the clock with Public Relations specialists and advertising companies to know the most effective ways to convince you to buy stuff you don’t really need. Things like Apple products to running shoes. To make an example, there is the field of Emotional Branding. The premise is to create an experience in the purchasing of brands, rather than just a product that are useful. The video below demonstrates how this works with Tide and Downey: What branding and advertising by exploring the reason of why people join cults and apply this to advertising techniques. In the video, he explored the concept of “Cult Brands” the video shows how they interview actual cults like Hare Krishna to Apple product users and understanding their psychological patterns to turn the concepts of brands into a cult-like mentality that is proven to work.

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