As Gary Vaynerchuk famously said, “Marketers fuck up everything.” That’s just what we do. (Yes, I am a marketer and include myself in this group.) We ruined radio and television, we ruined Internet search, we ruined email and texting, and now we’re ruining podcasts and social media. (And if we can’t end the affliction of robocalls, we’ve ruined cell phones too.)
You know those Jord brand, cool wood watches that I sometimes wear on my YouTube channel? They gave me those because I’m an influencer.
Those 10,000 followers you have on Twitter? 2,500 of them are bots.
That quirky Instagram story where one of your favorite movie stars helps some friends move with his new pickup truck? That truck manufacturer not only gave him that truck, but probably a lot of dosh to post it to you.
Half of those videos of friendly pranks, dogs adopting kittens, animal rescues, and adorable toddlers you see today are scripted and staged by marketers. What you think are random conversations in podcasts, spontaneous videos, recommended links, catchy background music, or helpful tutorials are actually bought-and-paid-for, relentlessly researched, vigorously tested and tracked content. It is produced for companies by advertising agencies that create campaigns which has been curated by an army of marketers employing computer scientists, copywriters, and phycologists. They hire scientists to strap electrodes on people and monitor their eye movements and brain activity. They use astrophysicists, who left researching the cosmos, because it pays better to build recommendation algorithms and data models that will predict and prod you what to buy next.
Now they’re integrating AI, to know what you will do before you know what you will do. And we haven’t even dipped our toes into synthetic media and Deep Fakes yet. We talked about the memes you’re infected with in TV shows, movies and books. How much more effective will they be in brainwashing you when AI can customize every story to your specific confirmation bias?
Of course, none of those marketers will send you offers like these, because:
I told you earlier that queso-flavored nacho chips taste better than squash because they are genetically engineered to. They’re also genetically engineered with just the right amount of yeast and sugar to feed the bad bacteria in your digestive track to create a physical craving for more. (Just like that “diet” soda you drink.)
You probably got suckered into leasing your car instead of owning it and are trading it in and refinancing the amount you’re still upside down on. Those nice credit card companies offer a minimum payment plan that if you follow will take 40 years to pay off. You buy a home and pay $186,511.57 in interest to borrow $200,000.
You’ve probably heard about identity politics. Merriam-Webster defines the term as “politics in which groups of people having a particular racial, religious, ethnic, social, or cultural identity tend to promote their own specific interests or concerns without regard to the interests or concerns of any larger political group.” But what they’re missing here is how the political parties use this information to manipulate you. Because those campaigns aren’t run by political idealists, but marketers. And just like there is identity politics there is identity marketing.
You are being scored every day of your life. Scored sexually, politically, and financially. You think Alexa and Siri are your friends. But they’re just sucking up to you so they can sell you more stuff. The big marketing agencies know more about you than your mother or your spouse does. Really.
And once again, the key battles of the war are fought against children. They reason you drink five sugary sodas a day is because you got addicted to them as a child. Do you think adults were clamoring for all of those sweet flavors for vaping devices? There’s a reason you will never see an ad for toothpaste, laundry detergent, or breakfast cereal on FOX News Network. Because the average demographic watching that network is over 60 and you set your buying habits for items like those decades earlier. I’ve bought Zest soap for more than 40 years. Why? Because we hate change.
There are six and eight-year-old children who have never tasted a piece of fresh fruit. Because they moved directly from baby formula to happy meals. And if you did offer them an apple, they wouldn’t eat it unless you put sugar on it. You can thank marketers for that.
And you can thank marketers if you were foolish enough to buy a dining room set with no payments for three years, overpay $15 for a tasteless brand of vodka, are carrying around an extra 20 pounds, don’t own a piece of clothing without a logo on it, and just generally live on 125 percent of what you earn.
You can thank marketers if you feel inferior because your neighbor drives a car with higher status than you do, and you can thank marketers if you bought a car because you think it has a higher status than your neighbor’s. They will make you feel inferior, insecure, and neurotic – then sell you hair plugs, breast implants, and nose jobs.
This is nothing new…
Marketers have always wanted to sell you shit and always tried to manipulate you into believing that you were making your buying decisions with a rational mind. But today they have state of the art technology to do it with devastating efficiency.
Stop. Take a deep breath before you read the next paragraph...
You are living in the Matrix; it’s just not configured like the one in the movies. The real Matrix is a collection of machines used for surveillance and data-gathering. (This includes every online search you perform, what you buy, every website you visit, your social media posts, the things you ask your voice assistants, what apps are on your phone, and what you stream for entertainment.) Then this data is exploited to manipulate your habits, moods, identity, beliefs, and behaviors. The objectives are to make you feel powerless, needy, and helpless – and drive you to take self-destructive actions that reward the managers of the Matrix.
The damaging results to humans are not debatable. They’re on display daily in society all around you. They include:
Technology advances rapidly. Efforts to regulate technology change glacially. And the gap widens more each year. It is what it is. But that doesn’t mean you are powerless. You’re not.
You still have the power to determine your own destiny. You still have the power to create a radical rebirth for yourself.
But if you’re serious about doing that, you better get pissed off. You should be furious about all of the people, companies and institutions that are playing you like a violin. And after you’re done being furious, you better get focused, determined, and resourceful. You’re going to have to get smarter, become a critical thinker, recognize the programming you’re receiving, and counter-program against it.
That’s what we will look at next…