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What do you think about companies, agencies, and other entities using polls and focus groups to determine ways to manipulate others? eg Ads

Polls and focus groups are used extensively in developing advertisements and political campaign marketing. The outcome could be considered manipulative. Is it manipulation? Just smart? Effective influence? Tools of the trade? Fair?

What do you think?

After the posting of some comments below, I've added the following.

Let me add a slight twist. Let's say Company A claims diet pill X will make you lose weight while eating whatever you want in whatever quantity you want. They bring in focus groups to find the best means to "sell" it to the public? They package it just right, they say just the right things, and provide the right images. People flock to it only to discover it doesn't really work. Is it manipulation? Smart marketing?

Further, what if we later discover that Company A knew diet pill X did not lead to weight loss. Manipulation? Effective influence?

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  • Jul 4 2013: Look for the motive of polls---any poll. We are not required to be a robot for someone else--to dance to their tunes. We have the ability to think.

    I once heard that something less than 10% of the world's people are true leaders. The rest of of are followers and many follow blindly. How many voters act on knowledge? We humans largely act on emotion and not honest assessment of facts and values. Few people make decisions on good morals.

    Manipulation is everywhere! Beware of your own mind and think about decisions you make. Our decisions determine who we are and therefore if we allow others to manipulate us, we are not building a good character that is strong enough to overcome pressures from others.

    Pick any political issue; who is manipulating and who is educating for the public good?

    Revealing a person's "heart" reveals a person's character. Choose well in all you do! I am not in favor of letting others choose for me.

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