Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to BuyThe Only Book You Will Ever Need on Branding: to start, run and grow your business

Now you know how to rule this world!


Martin Lindstrom is a famous marketing consultant, expert in the world of marketing and branding.  His first advertising agency opened in 1982 when he was only 12. Martin’s career was very rapid. He was one of the founders of neuromarketing concept.

Martin Lindstrom’s book “Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy” was published in 2011 and taken as an extension of his previous book “Buyology”.

He starts the book with introduction where he describes the experiment he calls brand detox. The experiment limited the author to buy and use any new brands within one-year period, however he could use the brands he already had. Martin failed his own experiment. During this experience Martin faced lot of difficulties trying to avoid purchasing new brands. After six months he gave up the idea proving his point that brands have huge influence on each of us and people have no power to refuse using them.

Book contains 9 chapters, introduction, and conclusion. In every chapter Martin describes the strategies, which marketers use to brand people’s mind.

The first chapter is dedicated to manipulations which marketing specialists use to form brand preferences in early childhood years to make children keep their faith in brand when they grow up. Martin says that starting from intrauterine age children undergo marketing technologies, because they can hear sounds and feel scents and flavors through amniotic fluid. This chapter also covers nostalgia as one of the most influential triggers used to brand people’s minds.

In the second chapter Martin describes another very strong means of manipulations – fear. Marketers and advertising guys use tactics of intimidation based on people’s fears such as illness, infections, failures, fear to become “bad mother” and others. This pushes people to buy goods which help to get rid of these fears or at least limit their influence.

In chapter three Martin writes about oniomania, unstoppable desire to buy something inspite of necessity and consequences, brand obsession and addiction. Author of the book describes model of dependence told him by ex-top manager from Philip Morris. According to this model there are two stages: first stage of routine, when people use some brands and goods as a part of their everyday life, and the second stage, dream stage, when people buy something not because they need it, but because they let emotional signals inside their brain. According to Martin desire is one of the key success elements of any brand. Another marketing tactic is usage gamification to evoke brand addiction.

Sexual overtones in advertising are described in chapter four. Marketing specialists investigate people’s deepest sexual fantasies, creating nostalgia about sexual flowering, promising to make everyone sexier, and doing great job selling it for good money.

In the fifth chapter Martin speaks about power of a social pressure in consciousness branding. When several people approve something, we start to think that they are right since they are in majority, and this is what they call a social pressure. Marketers use this method to make people buy their brand.

In chapter six again we face nostalgia in marketing. The author pays more attention to the strategy, which includes awakening past memories with sounds, pictures and images. Using nostalgia it is necessary to follow certain rules and prevent people from thinking of a brand as something old and out-of-date. Martin also describes in this chapter such a thing as artificial imperfections in the product. Some minor flaws in products make them more real and consumers prefer to buy them.

In chapter seven Martin Lindstrom says that marketers often use celebrities in promotion. This strategy relates to phenomenon called transference. People tend to transfer their feelings for someone on some things or other people. Marketers try to convince people that buying some product they buy a piece of celebrity, and for many people celebrities mean dream come true.

Chapter eight is dedicated to so called spiritual marketing. Nowadays people pay more and more attention to their health and healthy way of life. This is what marketers use. Lot of products now have labels saying that this is healthy and natural food. But if we look closer than we will see that this is just a regular product with marketing cover.

In chapter nine Martin pays attention to the problem of hiding personal data. Using various technologies like digital coupons, loyalty programs, marketing software etc. it is easy to gain access to any personal data of a person. Everything is aimed to manipulate consumer’s consciousness making them choose some certain brand.

The book ends with conclusion which takes us to the experiment of word of mouth marketing. Hired people moved in prestigious suburbs playing very successful family. They had to promote brands they used and then analyze how it influences their neighbors. And as it turned out people tend to buy same products they hear about from successful people. Martin says that the most powerful tool in promotion is people themselves. If you can support your brand with word of mouth, this geometricizes brand power.

So, if you need my opinion on this book, then I’d have to say it is totally worth reading. Gran your copy and begin you brandwashing journey!