Sunday, August 16, 2015

Brandwashed -- Martin Lindstrom

Meeting details:  We will be meeting on Wednesday, August 19th at Chandra's house at 7:30.  Email me for directions if you need them.

Discussion questions:
  1. Did you enjoy the book?  Why or why not?
  2. Do you have any strong childhood “smell memories”?  As you think about these memories, do they have any specific brand associations?
  3. How strongly do you believe advertising and branding affects us “in utero”?  Does Lindstrom adequately take into consideration the continuing association with these brands that children would experience even after birth (eg. his parents’ bossa nova preferences, children whose parents smoked during pregnancy – and likely carried on smoking during the baby’s childhood)?
  4. Emotions are strong players in the world of branding, and fear is one such emotion that companies often exploit.  What are some buzz words that companies use to play on our fears and convince us to buy their products?  How do they work?
  5. Why is fear such a powerful factor when it comes to advertising and promotion?  Why are women (especially new mothers) so particularly susceptible to fear-based advertising?
  6. How do advertisers manipulate users by taking advantage of, and even helping to create, brand obsessions and addictions?
  7. How do advertisers use “symbolics” to manipulate us?  Can you think of some concrete examples you have experienced?
  8. Before reading this book, would you ever have thought of the Arabian horse as a sexual creature?  Were you surprised to read how strongly the use of this animal in a car’s design and branding  affected the success of the car?
  9. Do you have a Zhu Zhu hamster in your house?  Do you feel manipulated now that you know to what lengths the makers went to market their product and make it so desirable to you/your children?
  10. What tools do advertisers use to convince us that we need something?  What personal qualities do advertisers try to manipulate in the viewer?
  11. How much do celebrity endorsements impact your purchasing decisions?
  12. “…our brains are prone to forming mental shortcuts…known as somatic markers, that link cues from our physical world to specific emotional states… Shrewd companies are able to actually plant these somatic markers in our minds by creating associations between some positive emotion and their product.” (pg.183)  Think of Lindstrom’s examples of the goji berry and acai; what subconscious connections might consumers make about the geographical origin of these “superberries” (Himalayas, Brazilian rainforest) and how that would relate to their effectiveness?  Can you think of any other branding examples that employ this strategy?
  13. Have you been startled to find advertisements on the the web that seem specifically geared to you?  Do you appreciate this, or does it feel like an intrusion into your privacy?
  14. Would you recommend this book to others?  To whom, and why?

Menu: Appetizers from scratch -- avoid the use of brand ingredients!

1.  Melon, Mozzarella, and Prosciutto Skewers
2. Lemon-Caper Parmesan Potato Salad Bites
3. Stuffed Celery
4.  Sweet and Spicy Nut and Pretzel Mix  (no Rice Chex!!)
5.  Cumin-Roasted Cashews
6.  Endive Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Walnuts  -- CHANDRA
7.  Mini Bacon Quiches
8.  Chocolate Bruschetta


Tell us what you think!