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Christian, husband, father, and pastor. Also a proud and dedicated nerd. One of the dads at TheDadLetters.com and author of TheLivesIHaveLived.wordpress.com. Acts 20:24

8 Ways You’re Being Manipulated, and You’d Be Surprised at How Simple They Are

Audrey Rae, Braxton, and #3-

Before we move on at all, I need you to see how adorable this video is!

Totes adorbs, am I right? (I hope upon hope that you have no idea what “totes adorbs” means because this abbreviation fad has passed by the time you read this. If so, just…don’t ask.) But here’s the thousand dollar question: what on Earth was that commercial advertising? Horses? Shelter dogs? Being a farmer? If you didn’t know the brand name at the end, any of these things would make more sense than the truth.

This is a beer commercial.

Again, if you didn’t know the brand, you probably wouldn’t believe me. It’s likely that not a single moment of that one minute tribute to endearing animals makes you say, “That makes me think of beer”. This is because of one simple truth.

You are being manipulated.

The ad here isn’t about beer, it’s about feeling comfortable and almost familial with a company that sells something that is not really seen as “familial” and can definitely be an uncomfortable topic with some people. They want people to think, “Budweiser’s okay for my family, they have horses who love puppies!”

In fact, the manipulation doesn’t end there. Every ad you see, every item you buy, and every commercial you watch are all geared toward getting you to buy a product. In fact, if you were more eager to read this letter than previous ones, it’s because I used the title to manipulate you.

Sorry about that. Just making a point.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m definitely not telling you this so that you can become some kind of conspiracy theorist that’s afraid that “they’re all out to get you”. And I’m not writing this so that you can think that all corporations are evil or anything like that. Seriously, it’s just their job. They’re not terrible people (at least I don’t think so, I must confess that I haven’t met every advertising rep on the planet), they’re not secretly an evil society, they’re just trying to make money, and that money goes to their company, and that company gives a lot of people jobs. It’s not bad, it’s just life.

No, kids, I tell you this because I want you to do one thing: be aware.

As you walk through the capitalistic storm that is our society, just be aware that ads have little to do with a product, and a whole lot to do with convincing you that you need their product. Seriously, it’s kind of ridiculous when you really think about it. You’ll be told that eating this cereal will make you dunk a basketball better, You’ll be told that this food will make you more popular, you’ll even be told that wearing specific clothes will change who you are. The ad is about you, not the product.

The reason that so many ads do this is because they want to make you ignorant to this fact: they need you a whole lot more than you need them. Seriously! You could go your whole life without that certain cereal, that specific restaurant, or that brand of clothes, and never miss a beat. But without customers (not just you, of course, but customers in general) a company would cease to exist.

With this in mind, know that you’ll never need that specific product. Hopefully you’ll be in your teens, or just before, when you read this, and you’ll likely have a list of things that you absolutely need. Ask yourself why you need them. Do you need Nike because you genuinely think that they’ll be a more effective shoe, or is it because that sports star wears them? Do you need that band’s new album because you enjoy their music and their lyrics, or because they’re sooooooo cool right now? Do you need that brand of clothes because they look good and make you feel confident, or because it’s what everyone else is wearing? (On that note, please never buy from Abercrombie & Fitch or any of its subsidiaries, at least while Mike Jefferies is affiliated with them. I hope that by the time you’re reading this, Jefferies has either found Jesus or been punched very hard in the face. Preferably both.)

Stuff isn’t bad, kids, but remember that you are more important than the stuff. Who you are, who you strive to be, and who you’ve been made to be can never be defined by a product. You are all so much more than what you wear, what you eat, or what you listen to. Don’t be manipulated, kids, you’ll always be greater than a product.

Oh, by the way, if you haven’t noticed, I don’t actually have 8 ways you’re being manipulated. Sorry.

I love you guys.

1 Corinthians 1:4

                        Dad

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One Comment on “8 Ways You’re Being Manipulated, and You’d Be Surprised at How Simple They Are”

  1. reamsden February 11, 2014 at 10:24 am #

    I love those horses, and I’ve never once actually tried Budweiser. I think I see your point in that while I don’t monetarily support the brand, my comfort with Anheiser-Busch as an American establishment (though now owned by the foreign Inbev) is greatly increased because of these ads.

    I have to pinch myself to remember that I’m being manipulated by commercials most times, but I also never want the awareness of manipulation to become a fountain so overflowing with critical thinking that I cause a flood of cynicism.

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