Like Douglas Rushkoff’s last piece, Merchants of Cool, The Persuaders scared the living bejesus out of me. After the fog of advertising consumed our lives, they went emotional on us, and then they ingrained advertising into everything we watch, read, and consume. Now they’re focus grouping us to the point where their messages reach our subconscious.
The political stuff at the end was especially disheartening, on both sides of the fence. It was like George Lakoff’s language research combined with psychology that approaches hypnotism, all used to push people to support political positions that ran counter to common sense.
My first thought after viewing it was to remember an old Bill Hicks (RIP) bit about advertising:
“By the way, if anyone here is in advertising or marketing, kill yourself. No, this is not a joke: kill yourself . . . I know what the marketing people are thinking now too: ‘Oh. He’s going for that anti-marketing dollar. That’s a good market.’ Oh man, I am not doing that, you fucking evil scumbags.”
As they say, Lord, help us. These demographers and ad folks are out to kill us all from the inside.
You might also want to entrust in Paul’s take on it. Scary stuff.