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Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  2,016 ratings  ·  289 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 in
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ebook, 304 pages
Published September 20th 2011 by Crown Business (first published 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Anna
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
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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.
Tina
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
Kayla
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
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Catherine
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
Dani Peloquin
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
Dawn
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
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Jess Saxton
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
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Anita
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
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Paul
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
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Dachokie
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
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John Pappas
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
Farah Ng
Review from Broken Penguins blog: http://brokenpenguins.wordpress.com/2...

“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.
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Skjam!
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
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Kevin
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.

L
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Abhishek Rohilla
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
Kristin Little
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
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Loy Machedo
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,
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Tracey
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
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Dav
WHAT A READ. So shocking, and yet things made so much more sense to me now. Like how the hell the ads on Facebook suddenly show me hotels in Hawaii (I was looking for flights to Hawaii before I went onto FB), why everywhere I go, it's music from my childhood (ie. 80s & 90s pop), and most of all, how I am totally and utterly brandwashed, despite my belief that I am exempt from this. -.-" Now I know.
Melody
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
Jesse
an interesting title in general, but i got the sinking feeling that this whole thing was a personal marketing ploy ala don draper and that the author could care less about consumers and just found a great niche to sell books. ugh.
Ahf
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
William Aicher
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
Fernando del Alamo
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
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Jen
Amusing book that is really good for the personal anecdotes and tells some of the (in my humble opinion: far too) elaborate means that companies will go to in order to try to get a consumer to buy their product. Example: tartan caps for marmalade.

I walked away from this book realizing that a lot of people get paid a lot of money to do a lot of thinking about every aspect of a product whereas I simply care about, "How well does it work compared to everything else that does that same thing?" Maybe
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Nick Ertz
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?
David
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.
Bookaholic
V-aţi gândit vreodată de ce sunteţi ataşaţi de un anume brand? De ce alegeţi să cumpăraţi un produs de la o anumită firmă fără să analizaţi prea mult motivaţiile şi fără să vă gândiţi că poate o altă firmă oferă ceva şi mai bun? (de pildă, mania Starbucks – sunt o mulţime de alte cafenele, mai mici, no name-uri, care oferă cafea mai bună şi mai ieftină şi, totuşi, la Starbucks e mereu coadă). Martin Lindstrom, specialist în marketing, CEO al companiei Lindstrom, vorbeşte despre strategiile cele ...more
Craig Shore
Do you use Carmex lip balm? You might reconsider after reading this. Oh, and you think your privacy is protected because you have the latest Internet Security Suite..... think again.

Great book for the average consumer to increase awareness of dodgy marketing strategies and help people make better decisions.
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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
More about Martin Lindstrom...
Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy and the New Science of Desire Brand Sense: Build Powerful Brands through Touch, Taste, Smell, Sight, and Sound Brandchild: Remarkable Insights Into the Minds of Today's Global Kids & Their Relationships with Brands Clicks, Bricks & Brands Brand Building On The Internet

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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
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