1. BBC had a truly informative 4-part documentary (each 1 hour long) on Bernays called “Century of Self”.

    It has since been removed by youtube.

    But I was able to find another. Link below. Beware that it is four fucking hours long. It takes commitment! I watched it in half hour segments over the course of a week. It was well worth it.

  2. But … but … Bernays was patriotic!

    Along with him, there was Stephenson (Canadian, and Churchill’s spy), the Gallup organization, and a host of others behind the curtain, crafting the propaganda from 1940 to whomp up the war effort for WW2.

    Oh well. The ‘day of infamy’ did what they couldn’t.

  3. Great video…but I’d have to say that it’s a little harder to sell a car now…you can’t just put a good looking woman behind the wheel and have her make an O-face.

    Bernays is just one example…there are many others. The first great mass hypnotists were American evangelists…and they still excel at that craft.

    Here’s a link to a piece by a guy who started out as an ad man…but ended up in an entirely different line of work. The piece is about brainwashing…probably most of you will find it offensive, and full of inaccuracies…enjoy!


  4. Some of you probably read Bill Bonner on the internet.. His book, “Mobs, Messiahs and Markets, is about the irrational behavior of investors…and well worth a look.

  5. It’s pretty simple, really. You take the attributes of the product, determine what functional benefits are to the consumer and then what emotional benefits emerge as a consequence of the functional ones.

    Persuade by reason, Motivate through emotion.

    Then you use both rational and emotional messaging to relate the product to the consumer’s Value System. Do they value safety? Belonging? External validation? Then convince them the product will give them that.


    Think about it… the best marketing taglines throughout history do just that:

    “Because so much is riding on your tires.”

    “Because you’re worth it.”

    “Just do it.”

    “The Real Thing.”

    “Be all you can be.”

    Look around a bit… you’ll see tons of examples, when you know how to figure out what they’re really selling. It’s not always sex… it’s any number of things that people need, desire and value.

  6. @ Stucky — You can watch all 4 parts of “The Century of the Self” on Google videos. That’s where I watched them, along with several other documentaries by the same director, Adam Curtis.

    Great stuff, I agree.

  7. Century of the self is one of the best/important documentary series I have ever seen and I watch far to many documentaries. The archive footage is just mind blowing and the commentary very clear and concise. Adam Curtis seems to have an amazing talent for providing a narrative that connects so many important events.


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