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Andres Aullet

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Should we teach our kids about how advertisement (public relationships, marketing) works?

Let's face it, advertisement works.

But let's also admit it, it is not as simple as a creative ad shown during the superbowl or a picture on a magazine that we find funny and incidentally reminds us of some particular brand of chips, or insurance company.

As far as i know (admittedly a much more thorough research can be done), advertisement works because it exploits a few flaws in the way our subconscious work:

- we remember things best when emotion is evoked while we learn them (fear, anger, excitement). And this is due to the chemical changes that these emotions induce in our brain.

- we decide mostly with emotions, and not with reason. This seems counter intuitive to most people

- we live with the ever present contradiction of trying to be unique and trying to be like others. We like to be singled out if we are wearing nice clothing, but we hate being singled out if our pants happen to rip.

- being rejected by our peers, or not being part of the in-group we admire, actually hurts, pretty much in the same way (neurologically) as a punch in the stomach hurts

- anything repeated frequently makes a stronger memory, easier to recall, and a memory that is easier to recall is trusted more (and feels more familiar) regardless of it's veracity

- novel experiences are considered riskier than familiar experiences, regardless of their real inherent risk


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So all these factors are merged with a product and tweaked to make that product appealing and familiar to us, without us fully understanding why it feels appealing and familiar.

Now, recently the target of the advertising industry are increasingly younger kids. And I would venture to say that if many adults don't fully understand why advertisement works, then even less kids would be expected to know

Should we include in a kids education: at schools, in church sermons, at dinner table conversations, an explanation of what advertisement is and why it works? What would be an argument against teaching this?

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  • Nov 14 2012: On the power of PR... I'll comment here: Take the videogame industry, I've watched the videogame industry over the last ten years use PR techniques to steal videogame ownership from gamers. See this mans website here: http://store.steampowered.com/

    This man (gabe newell of valve/steam) and many in the industry have successfully taken computer programs hostage on the other side of the internet and made them "check in" with their servers (which would have been impossible in a pre internet era, you would GET the software and wouldn't need permission to use it).

    If you look at a site like reddit, you see gamers CELEBRATING having their games sabotaged by a gaming corporation that uses it's "digital rights management" (hostage software) to data mine kids and adults who play videogames for "business purposes" (how better to spin PR and exploit them for money).

    The videogame industry has redefined broken "get permission" hostage software (games) as a benefit and have young kids and adults alike celebrate being exploited, that's a PR miracle.

    Diablo 3 (a game that cuts a chunk out of the software and has it run on servers on the other side of the internet) sold 10 million copies, thats how dumb most people really are they just don't give a crap that they are exploited because their emotions are involved - they've been taught to love their exploitation.

    Same thing happens with "MMO's" which is just code for DRM'd role playing games (which used to be single player and you owned them). Corporations have successfully spun them as a "Service" (which technologically from a software standpoint they don't have to be). Paying monthly to play one single videogame (15/month) after you just bought the game for $60 up front, is another PR miracle.
    Not only did you PAY for the game, you PAY for the corporation to exploit you and you like it because you are so addicted (it has 8-10 million players still after almost 10 years)
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      Nov 14 2012: Thank you for taking the time to provide a more in-depth explanation Bob,

      While I may not agree with all of it, i do see its value and I will do some reading based on the references you have provided.

      My point i guess tries to jump one level down... The actual mechanism that makes people fall prey to manipulation is within our brains, and most of it is not learned, but relies on innate abilities (or disabilities) of our brains to be aware (or not) when we are manipulated.

      Awareness goes a long way to reduce the impact, but we cannot change our brain physiology, so we are stuck with having to train every future generation on how to deal with those inefficiencies

      I will be back with more comments once i have done some more reading. Thanks again for the pointers

      cheers
      • Nov 15 2012: The problem Andres is without the internet they would be forced to sell you the software stand alone, i.e. the only reason they can get away with this is because of technology.

        (you should read this by Thomas Babbington Macaulay)

        http://homepages.law.asu.edu/~dkarjala/opposingcopyrightextension/commentary/MacaulaySpeeches.html

        Of course you'd 'disagree' since you are a capitalist, you'd accept anything that exploits others for profit because you have no understanding of copyright law and how it has been infinitely expanded to take away the public domain. Older games should fall into the public domain (source code, etc) but they never do, they are locked up under monopolist copyright law.

        Unless the developer has enough power in the relationship and is kind enough to release the source code.

        Things like this are impossible for most games:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhAR8rWPluQ

        So you have tonnes of old games that can't be fixed or updated and are confiscated by capitalists. There is no software repair industry because of copyright (monopoly rights) which you blindly protect. You come off as just another ignorant american IMHO. Which you couch in 'reasonable' sounding language because you are just so alarmingly uninformed and unconsciously pro capitalist underneath it all.

        Diablo 1 + 2 did not have to get permission from the nanny corporation to be used, they could be modified and used without the internet because people you know PAID FOR IT. Diablo 3 introduced SINGLE PLAYER LAG (latency) that is *breaking* the game on purpose, making it inferior because game corporations desire total authoritarian control and don't give a shit about the right of gamers to own their software.

        Corporations now use contract and law to do an end run around individual and civil rights (your rights to own the products you buy).

        Gaming culture and the ability of fans to update and fix their old game is stolen from them and the fact you'd "disagree", is just wrong.
      • Nov 15 2012: Google: "Diablo 3 real money auction house" for a nice surprise.
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          Nov 15 2012: Hello Bob,

          I did not disagree because i am a capitalist or because i would accept anything that exploit others for profit. I hope you meant that as a generalization, but if you meant that as a description of my own worldview you can go back and read some my opinions and that might drive a different conclusion

          I am very aware of the problem with patent and copyright law, and like you, i am always weary when businesses change their model in order to add more strings attached to their products. Diablo 3 is just one example of an increasing trend

          Now, regarding online games, I can share with you the experience i have with my kids. They do own console games and some pc games, and from time to time we do the experiment of turning the internet modem off and trying to use both computers and console games as usual.

          It is eye opening for them to see how many programs (even simple programs in the computer) are crippled when they are not allowed to "call back home" behind our backs.

          And their response is usually one of disgust with the program/game makers: "why do they need us to be connected?" is they immediate question. I usually leave the question lingering in, for them to ponder later

          cheers

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