Here’s a grim, meathook reality so grim that you might want to sit down for it in case you can’t sit down pain-free for the next week: There is nothing in the whole world as profitable as human suffering. In every time and in every place, human misery offers unparalled opportunity to make dollars.
Understanding this is a matter of understanding some psychology.
A person’s level of motivation to take any given action is a function of the amount of pleasure they expect to gain or the amount of suffering they expect to avoid.
If they come to believe that a previously favoured course of action will lead to a decrease in future pleasure or an increase in future suffering, they will come to change their behaviour.
The psychology of advertising is little more than causing the reader, listener or viewer of the advert to suffer in some way and to then create an association between the product that you are trying to sell and the alleviation of that suffering.
This is done with a simple two-step procedure.
The first is to get the reader to feel bad for some reason. In practice, there are an almost unlimited number of ways that you can make a person feel bad. The really big ticket items, though, are a fear of disease, a fear of low social status and the fear of not being attractive to the opposite sex.
These fears play into the ultimate biological reason why human beings feel fear – namely, when the biological organism calculates, consciously or otherwise, that its potential to maintain or to spread its genes is threatened.
The second is to promote a product as the solution to that feeling bad.
In the case of fear of disease, you can sell medicine and insurance. You can manipulate the target’s fear of germs by exaggerating the prevalence of them to sell cleaning products. You can manipulate the target’s fear of dying by exaggerating the degree of anxiety that a reasonable person ought to feel if they do not have life insurance.
In the case of fear of low social status, you can sell flash cars, expensive clothing, jewellery, houses, golf clubs, yachts and more. Basically anything that appears to compensate for any kind of erectile dysfunction or small penis will attract people who are willing to pay money for it.
In the case of fear of not being attractive to the opposite sex, you can sell just about anything. The use of sex to sell a product is almost universal in advertising. After all, it plays at the fundamental male fear.
The psychologists who conduct advertising campaigns know that the human male – in the vast majority of circumstances – is permanently in a state of subconscious anxiety about his capacity to pass his genes on through a fertile female of his species. This will make him reliably dumb in ways that can be anticipated and profited from.
All the advertiser has to do is to associate the lack of their product with a lack of mating opportunities, and the presence of their product with the presence of mating opportunities. When this is achieved, the male will be willing to pay money for the advertiser’s product in order to alleviate the anxiety the advertiser has created.
It can therefore be seen that the purpose of advertising is literally to make you suffer for money.
This column is no exception. We make a living from telling you when you’ve been lied to – and then selling you what we claim to be the truth. The more we can aggravate your sense of outrage at the lies of politicians, priests and psychiatrists, the more likely you will become to spend money on our books.
Of course, we claim to be doing it out of solidarity, in your own interest – but then so did the priests who burned Giordano Bruno at the stake.
As above; so below – but don’t forget that anyone who is trying to make you suffer is probably not doing it out of sadism but simply for the $$$$$.