Guided by social science, marketers were quickly learning how to play upon people’s insecurities, frailties, unconscious fears, aggressive feelings and sexual desires to alter their thinking, emotions and behaviour without any awareness that they were being manipulated.By the early 1950s, Packard said, politicians had got the message and were beginning to merchandise themselves using the same subtle forces being used to sell soap.Legislation to prohibit subliminal messaging was also introduced in the US Congress but never enacted.Both the UK and Australia have strict laws prohibiting it.And in the much darker novel (1949), Huxley’s compatriot George Orwell described a society in which thought itself was controlled; in Orwell’s world, children were taught to use a simplified form of English called Newspeak in order to assure that they could never express ideas that were dangerous to society.These are all fictional tales, to be sure, and in each the leaders who held the power used conspicuous forms of control that at least a few people actively resisted and occasionally overcame.
Fortunately, all of these sources of influence operate competitively.
The soothing music we all hear overhead in supermarkets causes us to walk more slowly and buy more food, whether we need it or not.
Most of the vacuous thoughts and intense feelings our teenagers experience from morning till night are carefully orchestrated by highly skilled marketing professionals working in our fashion and entertainment industries.
They were allowed to lower their shades an hour a day to have sex, but both the rendezvous time and the lover had to be registered first with the state.
In (1932), the British author Aldous Huxley pictured a near-perfect society in which unhappiness and aggression had been engineered out of humanity through a combination of genetic engineering and psychological conditioning.