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3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  2,791 Ratings  ·  357 Reviews
Foreword by Morgan Spurlock

From the bestselling author of Buyology comes a shocking insider’s look at how today’s global giants conspire to obscure the truth and manipulate our minds, all in service of  persuading us to buy.

Marketing visionary Martin Lindstrom has been on the front lines of the branding wars for over twenty years.  Here, he turns the spotlight on his own
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 20th 2011 by Crown Business (first published 2011)
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Apr 08, 2012 Anna rated it did not like it
I had to stop reading this about a third of the way through, because the way this book is written is so off-putting that it makes the author sound like a condescending know-it-all. The book has a very unfortunate "Hahaha, consumers are STUPID" tone to it, and as a result it feels like you are being talked down to as you (ostensibly) learn about the "tricks" that companies use to make you buy things.

There is also an infuriating digression in chapter 2 on Big Pharma, in which the author heavily i
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
You're even more of a sucker than you think you are. The more plugged in you are, the more susceptible you are to the sneaky tactics of those who mold opinions and buying habits. Ditch that cell phone! Stay off that Facebook account! Keep a few more secrets. Be more discerning and less impulsive.
Sep 04, 2012 Tina rated it did not like it
Shelves: not-finished
I stopped reading this book about two chapters in because it seemed to be full of hooey. For instance, there's a chapter section about manufacturers fooling people into thinking things are fresh, such as by telling people to refrigerate ketchup. But I don't know anyone who thinks marmalade is "fresh" as they suggest everyone does. He says it's the tartan caps which fool us into thinking the jars were flown in from Scotland last night, since everyone knows marmalade originated in Scotland. ??? Am ...more
Dani Peloquin
Apr 07, 2012 Dani Peloquin rated it it was amazing
For years, I have tried to find a book that made me gasp as many times as Freaknomics did. I remember thinking about that book years after I read it...I’m still thinking about it now. I tried Super Freakanomics and other books that people thought were comparable but none of them made me gasp and do a triple take. None of them until “Brandwashing”. This book does for marketing and advertising what Freaknomics did for economics and Fast Food Nation did for food. It made my brain hurt in a way far ...more
Misericordia ❣
Mar 03, 2016 Misericordia ❣ rated it it was amazing
This is one gread read for people interested in marketing, behavioural studies, psychology etc. A number of things already published elsewhere but there is also a lot of new good illuminating stuff incorporated.

1. Buy Buy Baby - When companies start marketing to us in the womb
2. Peddling Panic and Paranoia - Why fear sells
3. I Can’t Quit You - Brand addicts, shopaholics, and why we can’t live without our smart phones
4. Buy It, Get Laid - The new face of sex (and the sexes) in advertising
5. Und
Nov 28, 2011 Kayla rated it did not like it
Don't read this book. It has no 'trade secrets', no new information. It just reads like a compendium of blog posts from the past few years. You will have heard it all before if you follow pop culture/cultural studies at all.

Basically, Lindstrom is a salesman, not a scientist. He makes a lot of overblown rhetorical claims, then cites studies which fail to support them. For instance, he says that advertisers brainwash children (even in the womb!) to buy their brands. But the research he cites only
Jan 02, 2012 Catherine rated it it was ok
I bought this because I enjoyed the excerpts I had read on Fast Company but the actual book was a disappointment. Lindstrom approaches branding from a Chicken Little point of view where marketers have the most nefarious of incentives and consumers have the most simplistic responses. He opens talking about his attempt to do a "brand purge" but failed to establish what constituted a "new brand" or even what his definition of brand is, making the purge too generic to understand why he failed. Then ...more
Jess Saxton
Apr 18, 2012 Jess Saxton rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2012, ebook
I found parts of this book both fascinating and a little shocking. Many of the 'secrets' that Lindstrom points out are things I either already knew or suspected, but when I was reading the sections about social media, cell phones, and word of mouth advertising, I found the types of advertising that really work on me.

In fact, my posting this review on Goodreads, a social media site geared to avid readers is something advertisers love. I'm spreading the word about the books I read, thereby endorsi
Sep 07, 2011 Dawn rated it it was ok
Shelves: knowledge-nf, 2011
Did not really enjoy this book at all. I much preferred Buyology, the author's previous book.

For a book called Brandwashed there was sure a lot of name dropping of brands involved. I wonder if they were paid endorsements? After all if looking at a celebrity spokesperson changes the way you think about a brand (literally, in your brain), then maybe reading about a brand countless times in a book will make your brain associate the brand with the book, or maybe all books (haha). Other times the au
Jul 17, 2012 Anita rated it it was amazing
I stumbled upon this book on the new books section of the library and found every second of it interesting. I recommend paying special attention to the chapter on data mining.

I have a serious media-buying habit (books, music, dvds) that I am trying to get under control and I thought this book would help me fight the urge to purchase something at the click of the button. He starts out about how he tried to "go brandless" for a set period of time. It did help with my struggles, but here's the bad
Nick Ertz
Oct 24, 2011 Nick Ertz rated it really liked it
This book can get your blood boiling. It details all the tools used by a marketer in selling a product. Some are sneeky, some are essentially lies - but they all move the soul to buy - buy - buy.
The hard question you start to think about is how much is too much? Whose fault is it that I want to buy stuff? Yes, some need is manufactured - but when I do really need something - what is the most honest way for a company to tell me about their product?
Jul 30, 2011 Dachokie rated it liked it
Shelves: sociology
The American Consumer: Gullible or Just Plain Stupid?

This book was reviewed as part of Amazon's Vine program which included a free advance copy of the book.

I was a little leery about reading BRANDWASHED, because I knew it would probably make me realize how sneaky, subliminal marketing schemes had more control over my purchasing decisions than I did. After reading the book, I have wistfully come to the conclusion that the war between my own common sense vs. being victimized by savvy marketers wa
Feb 25, 2012 Kevin rated it did not like it
Shelves: economics, politics
I usually like books that look into the back rooms of companies. That said, I did not like this book. In fact, it infuriated me. The back of the book made it seem so interesting. I was sorely mistaken.

First of all, this book paints the world of marketing, and the democratic economy, in a very black-and-white, overly-simplistic way. Marketers are evil, faceless corporations concernet with corrupting the public. People are simple, innocent beings with no mind of their own and no reasoning skills.

Dec 22, 2013 Paul rated it it was ok
Although this book provided a decent amount of food for thought, that food unfortunately came spiced up so much so as to make it barely edible (and to make me wonder if all that spice was to mask some subpar food underneath it all). The blatant and transparent sensationalization of every hypothesis Lindstrom tried to put forward only ended up detracting from it and even leading me to question the veracity of his supporting arguments.

In fact, some of his statements were complete and utter nonsens
Loy Machedo
Jul 04, 2012 Loy Machedo rated it it was amazing
Loy Machedo’s Book Review – Brandwashed by Martin Lindstrom.

After the success of Buyology for which I gave it a 8.5 rating comes Brandwashed, an insiders peek at what goes on into the Complex, Competitive and Corporate World of Marketing, Branding and Selling.

For Danish-American Marketer whom Time Magazine christened as the “World's Most Influential Thinkers” in 2009, this book was more or less the shocking exposure of the dirty laundry Top Brands have been keeping hiding from us - its stains,
Dec 21, 2016 Christopher rated it really liked it
After reading this, you'll never trust any form of brand marketing again. Chapstick causes chapped lips, lotion causes dry skin, brands sell hope but never results. It gets worse...
Sep 29, 2011 Skjam! rated it really liked it
Disclaimer: I got this book through the Goodreads giveaway program on the expectation I would write a review. My copy is an uncorrected proof, and minor changes (possibly major changes to the final chapter) are likely to occur in the final product.

The first thing I noticed reading the introduction is that apparently Martin Lindstrom does not have a library card. Also, it's pretty clear that he has never had to look for a discarded newspaper to get the help wanted ads--let alone consider getting
Farah Ng
Review from Broken Penguins blog:

“Who controls what you buy?” may seem like an easy question. But master marketer Martin Lindstrom provides an answer that spans over 200 pages in his second book, Brandwashed.

At first glance, of course I control what I buy. I see it in the store, put in my basket and pay for it with my own money.

Brandwashed says that’s garbage because marketers have thought long and hard about what makes us want to buy in the first place.
John Pappas
Aug 04, 2012 John Pappas rated it liked it
Not a lot new here -- Lindstrom focuses on the general strategies (sex sells, people fear social isolation, peer pressure is powerful) marketers and advertisers rely on as they craft their strategies to sell products to the average consumer. What he reveals about particular brands and the "symbolics" they use (Whole Foods' positioning of flowers at the entrance of every store attempts to communicate freshness through the smell and visuals, making the consumer believe the produce is fresher (desp ...more
Kristin Little
Sep 30, 2011 Kristin Little rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: I won this book through Goodreads' First Reads program. This review is for the ARC edition.

Totally mind-blowing. This book is making me think twice (and even 3 times) about everything I do, think, and most of all, buy! The chapter on pre-natal marketing (yes, you read that right, PRE-NATAL) especially struck a chord with me. I am watching my 3 year-old for signs of branding, and I have to admit, it doesn't look good. ;)

The ARC mentioned that the electronic version of Brandwashed wou
Abhishek Rohilla
Jul 22, 2012 Abhishek Rohilla rated it really liked it
The author has a long experience of working with some of the big marketing giants. His insights into what type of weird tactics marketers can use to get revenues and keep the cash register ringing amazes the reader at times. For example, he quotes an example of a restaurant serving fish. The restaurant gets the supply from the deck and from there it hires a small fisherman boat to deliver the supply to the restaurant. Customers can see the fish being delivered by the fisherman and they tend to b ...more
Heard an interview with the author on NPR back in Oct 2011 & finally got around to checking this out from the library. I've done previous reading on the topic, and I'm not sure I learned anything earthshakingly new, but the material was presented well, with sources and examples galore.

I was intrigued to read about the experiment where his company "planted" a family in a typical suburban neighborhood & had them talk up specific brands to test the effects of peer pressure ... and it was c
Alex Kartman
May 10, 2015 Alex Kartman rated it really liked it
Brandwashed offers incredible insight into the marketing and advertising industry. Similarily to how Fast Food Nation changes your outlook on that industry, Brandwashed will change how you look at the world of marketing around you. Martin Lindstrom pens this tell-all from his experience building and executing campaigns for the world's largest companies. He lays dirty secrets and dastardly tricks on the pages to rewire your thinking.

We know the world is filled with advertising. In first world cou
Nov 05, 2011 Melody rated it it was ok
Nothing too new or surprising here. Lindstrom is a little too fond of the expression "more than you can imagine." I can imagine plenty, when it comes to marketing, and my deeply cynical imaginings are rarely wrong. So, yeah- you are being marketed to every second of your life, unless you live in a cabin in the unspoiled woods. Speaking of the unspoiled woods, I thought a lot about Ma Ingalls while I was reading this- I wonder who marketed what to the pioneers, and what brands were popular, and w ...more
Nov 05, 2011 Ahf rated it it was amazing
This book is fascinating and I'd recomend it to anyone. Sure the guy is a bit over the top, but compared to all the brandwashing that we've all lived through since birth (or according to his research even in-utero!) maybe he needs to be a bit extreme to make the point. I'd particularly recomend this to parents of young children. My dad was brillent with his anti-marketing parenting style. Buy what you plan to, don't buy imulsively. Don't buy things that are heavilly marketed. Keep your eyes open ...more
Fernando del Alamo
Jan 09, 2015 Fernando del Alamo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Gran libro sobre las técnicas y conocimientos que tienen las empresas par engatusarnos a comprar sus productos. Y utilizan todo tipo de técnicas, desde el miedo hasta las más rebuscadas psicológicamente. Y nadie se libra: ni los críos y ni el mismo autor, que reconoce que ha caído en más de una de sus propias tramas.

La verdad es que habiéndolo leído me miraré las cosas a patir de ahora de una forma diferente y estaré más atento cuando vaya a comprar o, simplemente, vea un anuncio intentando anal
William Aicher
Oct 09, 2011 William Aicher rated it liked it
Shelves: business, marketing
As someone who's been working as a marketer for over a decade now, I found parts of this book to be quite interesting - and even stirred up a few ideas of how I can better do my job in some ways. However, once I reached the section near the end about online marketing, privacy, etc. it became obvious just how much Lindstrom really sensationalizes things, and frankly stretches the truth so far as to make it almost false. So, while it's a very interesting read, I'd recommending taking some of his a ...more
Franco Raffa
Mar 17, 2016 Franco Raffa rated it did not like it
I really enjoyed Buyology, even though some sections were a little pointless, but there were some gems, but Brandwashed was flippen difficult to get past chapter I didn' was painfully boring. Probably a summary of the anecdotal learnings would be a more entertaining read - when you can't take out any gems in the 1st chapter there's no point reading on - way too many brilliant books out there to waste your time.
Kevin Anderson
Jul 11, 2015 Kevin Anderson rated it liked it
I liked this book. It is a page turner, it's an interesting topic, and it's full of fascinating case studies like the conception and marketing surrounding Axe body spray. My main criticism is that it comes to conclusions very quickly. He rattles off a few citations without going into much depth on them and moves on to the next topic. This is nice since it makes reading quick and fun, but it leaves me skeptical at times.
Nov 14, 2011 David rated it liked it
Despite the fact that this book covers ground that has been already explored, Lindstrom manages to make his findings interesting and, yes, a bit scary, especially when he talks about the "data mining" that involves everyone without their consent or even their knowledge.

Got any secrets you don't want advertisers to know? Sorry, that ship has sailed, and Brandwashing gives you the details.
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2015 Reading Chal...: Brandwashed by Martin Lindstrom 1 6 Apr 13, 2015 08:58PM  
  • The Branded Mind: What Neuroscience Really Tells Us about the Puzzle of the Brain and the Brand
  • Neuromarketing: Understanding the Buy Buttons in Your Customer's Brain
  • Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing
  • The Psychology of Attitude Change and Social Influence
  • The Buying Brain: Secrets for Selling to the Subconscious Mind
  • Brand Failures: The Truth about the 100 Biggest Branding Mistakes of All Time
  • Out of Character: Surprising Truths About the Liar, Cheat, Sinner (and Saint) Lurking in All of Us
  • Fascinate: Unlocking the Secret Triggers of Influence, Persuasion, and Captivation
  • Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture
  • Unthinking: The Surprising Forces Behind What We Buy
  • Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It)
  • Big-Box Swindle: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for America's Independent Businesses
  • Beyond Culture
  • Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are
  • The Person and the Situation: Perspectives of Social Psychology
  • The Art of Influencing Anyone
  • Shiny Objects: Why We Spend Money We Don't Have in Search of Happiness We Can't Buy
  • The High-Beta Rich: How the Manic Wealthy Will Take Us to the Next Boom, Bubble, and Bust
Martin Lindstrom (born 1970) is the author of the bestseller Buyology - Truth and Lies About Why We Buy (Doubleday Business, division of Random House). Lindstrom is also a public speaker and the founder of a number of organizations including Buyology Inc. Prior to founding his consultancy, Lindstrom was working as an advertising agency executive at BBDO. TIME magazine named Lindstrom as one of the ...more
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“As James U. McNeal, a professor of marketing at Texas A&M University, puts it, “75 percent of spontaneous food purchases can be traced to a nagging child. And one out of two mothers will buy a food simply because her child requests it. To trigger desire in a child is to trigger desire in the whole family.” 0 likes
“In a surprising 2008 study, researchers at the University of Bath, UK, found that the fear of failure drives consumers far more than the promise of success; the latter oddly tends to paralyze us, while the former spurs us on (and pries open our wallets). In fact, as the study found, the most powerful persuader of all was giving consumers a glimpse of some future “feared self.”24” 0 likes
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