Wednesday, July 8, 2009


They’re brainwashing us!

“It’s part of what we cherish most about friendships. And that’s precisely why the marketers are so keenly interested in them.”

In psychology, we've discussed about how the advertisers work. It was very interesting to read about. I knew that advertising was getting more invasive but I had no idea. Reading about it showed me how it’s actually a lot more sophisticated and sneaky then I thought it was. Advertisers get paid to figure out new ways to get into people’s heads. I never thought that subliminal messaging works but it must because the advertisers use it to their advantage very often, according to these articles.

“Marketers are teaching kids to view their friends as a lucrative resource they can exploit to gain products or money.”

Where do we draw the line? There has to be a line somewhere. What’s appropriate? When are they going to far? For me, I feel as if they’ve already gone to far. They’ve hired people to influence their friends just for the purpose of advertising. This invades personal privacy and it brings in the question about who can we trust? What can we trust? The article talks about “the Wholesome Halo.” Companies like PBS, which has a positive connotation, are being targeted by advertisers BECAUSE of their positive connotation. Schools also fall into the lure of the advertisers. Do the ends justify the means in this case? On one end, schools do need the money because of budget cuts, but on the other side of the argument, does that mean it’s okay?

“But since 1990, commercial activities in schools have expanded substantially, with an explosive rise in nearly all types of school-based marketing since 1997.”

Targeting kids is more dangerous than anything else because I don’t think they are old enough to make their own decisions. That’s why kids need to be around good influences when they are young because it will really influence the way they are when they grow up. However, with these new forms of advertisement everywhere, what are we going to do? Kids don’t know how to differentiate between what is good and what is bad. They don’t know if they are being advertised to or not. Kids are very naïve, and they’re not to blame. They’re young. I believe that media now makes it really hard for kids to learn how to make their own decisions. At this moment in time, all we need to do is look outside and media tells us what is cool and what isn’t. Where is our individuality? Where will it be for the future generations?

Where do our own opinions really start to form? This article reminds me of Wall-E where the people are constantly hooked up to a screen. Our generation is like this because we are constantly seeing what our society wants us to see. We are constantly being influenced to think a certain way. This is portrayed by this article and by the article we read the other day about hooking up. Media plays such a big role in our lives. When are we suppose to learn how to make up our own mind if we are constantly being pressured by everything else to sway in a certain direction?

I like our psychology class because I feel like I'm really getting challenged to think about the world around me and why people act the way they do. This is exactly what I came to the Summer Program at Brown for. I feel like I'm exercising my brain and doing so much thinking about the world and I decided that I wanted to share my insight with you all.


Don Gosney said...


Your opening line suggested you might be referring to some of your fellow ILC Brownies in another class where some of the speakers are coming in and telling them one sided stories to sell them on an idea.

Your lessons about the power of advertising should serve you well. Now that you have some inkling about what’s going on I hope that you’ll be able to see right through some of the more blatant advertising schemes.

Many years back advertisers would embed very short film clips into movies played in the cinema. These clips would show hot dogs, popcorn and soft drinks. The viewers would see these clips and not even be aware of what they had seen yet they felt an undeniable urge to rush out to the lobby to buy a bucket of popcorn and a supersized soda. They called this subliminal advertising and it was eventually outlawed.

Some theater owners will spray their theaters with an odor that smells like fresh popcorn and you already know how irresistible that can be.

I’m unsure of when it was outlawed but do you recall Joe Camel? He was the Camel cigarette camel that came across as a really cool teenager. His persona sent a clear message that cigarettes were cool, that smokers drove the fastest cars and had the loosest babes hanging all over them. Congress passed laws preventing the targeting of teenagers by tobacco companies.

[The tobacco companies reluctantly agree to desist for targeting teenagers here in the US but the Chinese market is still fair game for them.]

It’s truly a good thing, Cynthia, to read about your new physical fitness regimen where you’re exercising your brain. For most people it’s an underused part of their body and it’s as though they refrain from exercising it for fear that they might either wear it out or pull a muscle in it somewhere.

Charles Tillman Ramsey said...

Nice post Cynthia, do you plan on applying to Brown? Do you see yourself applying to schools on the East Coast? I know that you wrote about enjoying your visit to MIT, does that figure in your future? I have always been curious about whether you have felt that being part of the ILC was worth it.

I would love to hear your thoughts about what you have taken from this program. Joseph Young wrote a very powerful post the other day that summed up what we are battling every day in the district, it was a great post. Do you share the same feelings and has been part of the ILC made a difference in your life?

So let us know and share with us your thoughts and impressions about our program and what your future plans are. Remember college applications are due in a little less than five months.

Take care.

Charles T. Ramsey, Esq.
School Board Member
West Contra Costa
Unified School District