“However hyped the risk of germs may be, it is at least real. Some corporations go so far as to conjure threats where there are none. A television ad for Brita, the German manufacturer of water-filtration systems, starts with a close-up of a glass of water on a kitchen table. The sound of a flushing toilet is heard. A woman opens a door, enters the kitchen, sits at the table and drinks the water. The water in your toilet and the water in your faucet "come from the same source," the commercial concludes. Sharp-eyed viewers will also see a disclaimer a the start of the ad printed in tiny white letters: MUNICIPAL WATER IS TREATED FOR CONSUMPTION. This is effectively an admission that the shared origin of the water in the glass and the toilet is irrelevant and so the commercial makes no sense--at least not on a rational level. As a pitch aimed at Gut, however, it makes perfect sense. The danger of contaminated drinking water is as old as humanity, and the worst contaminant has always been feces. Our hardwired defense against contamination is disgust, an emotion that drives us to keep our distance from the contaminant. By linking the toilet and the drinking glass, the commercial connects feces to our home's drinking water and raises an ancient fear--a fear that can be eased with the purchase of one of the company's many fine products.”


Daniel Gardner, The Science of Fear: Why We Fear the Things We Shouldn't--and Put Ourselves in Greater Danger
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The Science of Fear: Why We Fear the Things We Shouldn't--and Put Ourselves in Greater Danger The Science of Fear: Why We Fear the Things We Shouldn't--and Put Ourselves in Greater Danger by Dan Gardner
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