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Why Marketing Has Become So Evil (and Some Tips on How You Can Overcome the Spell)
a "How We Get You" Column by Brian Vaszily

The number one reason that marketing has degenerated into a range of sinister tricks played on consumers is because most merchandise, services, brands, people, ideas and beliefs being marketed these days are crap, and there is more of this crap than ever.

Brian VaszilyAbout
Brian Vaszily

Brian Vaszily (pronounced "vay zlee") is a bestselling author, positive change advocate, speaker/organizer and sometimes funny guy whose life mission is to help others explore, experience and enjoy life more intensely while bypassing the traps that would hamper that goal -- particularly unscrupulous marketing and rampant consumerism.

Brian is the founder of, has authored several books including the acclaimed novella Beyond Stone and Steel (see for some reviews), and with over fourteen years of marketing management experience is President of the TopMarketingPro consultancy.

In addition to his How We Get You columns here at SixWise, Brian also leads the popular blog, "The 'Live Deeper' Blog by Brian Vaszily." He has appeared on many TV and radio shows and been quoted in many publications regarding his books, columns, articles and ideas. Brian Vaszily was born and raised in Chicago, growing up on the northwest side in the blue-collar Portage-Cragin neighborhood. Brian and his wife and two children currently reside outside Chicago, Illinois.

Most movies deserve two stars at best, most vitamin supplements are worthless, most new politicians suck just like the old ones, most books are an offense to the paper they're printed on, and the last thing we need is another new revolutionary weight loss diet.

The people offering you these pointless or worse products do so for the usual reasons of trying to make gobs of money and increasing their power while they're at it. They obviously won't admit the truth - "Hey, what I'm selling you is pretty much crap, will that be cash or charge?" - so they devise increasingly sophisticated ways to con you into buying it from amidst all the other stuff out there.

The number two reason that the marketing of products has degenerated into a range of sinister tricks - a close cousin to reason number one above -- is because our trust in one another is almost extinct.

You may be among the seeming majority who don't even fully trust their own spouse, so why in the world would you trust me, a relative stranger, when for example I announce that my first book, Beyond Stone and Steel: A Memorial to the September 11, 2001 Victims, would probably be one of the most uplifting and inspirational books you ever read?

I genuinely mean that about my book, but you have repeatedly spent your precious money and time on stuff that lets you down, and sometimes even slams you down, so being anything but distrustful these days seems absurd. Unless you know me, you're almost required to think, "Yeah right, Brian, you're just trying to sell me your stupid book," in order to protect yourself. (But hey, it's NOT a stupid book, got it?)

As you can see, though, this presents a sad puzzle for the handful of honorable marketers out there who are trying to promote products that are worthwhile.

The Good Marketers Sad Choice: Sell Only to Your Mom or Sell Out


"Welcome to Wal-Mart, Mecca of Crappy Products You Mostly Don't Need"

Because you the consumer have been jaded in two ways - by the worthlessness of soooo many products you try, and by the evil tactics that were used to sell them to you -- the honorable marketers know (or quickly learn) that you will laugh in their face if they simply say, "This product is truly exceptional, please try it."

So they believe they either must resort to using the same tricks that are working for the sinister marketers, or they must settle for selling their products to the small handful of people that know and trust them … like their Mom. (There are actually more options available that most aren't aware of, but that's the stuff of future columns.)

Of course, they typically choose the first option because they want to get their worthwhile product out there and make a good living off of it … and so what's left is the paradox: they have then joined the ranks of the sinister marketers, and their worthwhile products get lumped in with all the crap.

This makes YOU the consumer the biggest loser of all.

To summarize, this is because:

  1. Most marketing is now trickery - of the few good products and the many bad ones - and so everything you see, hear, read and otherwise experience must be approached with great caution. Plus once the mass of the public is onto a given marketing trick, a new and more sophisticated trick is just devised to take its place.

  2. The few worthwhile products (goods, services, brands, people, etc.) are all lost among the bad ones, and with marketing traps snapping at you everywhere you move it can be remarkably difficult and disturbing for you to find them

And your money, time, health, and even your relationships are strained and battered because of it.

It is NOT mere coincidence that the rising rates of debt, obesity, depression and total money spent on marketing all look so similar when charted out.

Ask yourself to answer this honestly, for example: out of everything you've bought in the past year or so, how much of it was truly a good investment? How much of it turned out to be a waste or, even worse, a detriment (such as to your waistline, your health, your brain, or your time?)

Some Key Tips to Escape the Evil Marketing Spell

So what is the solution? That's a giant question with many answers that I've covered in some previous columns and will continue to cover. But here are a few of the top practical tips on how you can best find your way to the relative small handful of truly worthwhile products out there.

  1. Trust Those You Trust. Oh, I know … duh. It sounds utterly obvious but it still bears repeating since "word-of-mouth" is and forever will be THE best form of marketing out there: when a sibling, parent, friend or someone you already trust recommends something, you can feel comfortable in taking that recommendation because you know they have your best interest in mind. They're not working on commission. So whatever it is you're in the market for, ask those you already trust what they might recommend.

  2. Let the Strangers Prove Themselves to You … Then Trust Them. No matter what type of product you're in the market for - an air purifier, a church to attend, a brokerage service, dental goods, an island to travel to -- you can now easily find websites, bloggers, newsletters, magazines, talk shows and more dedicated to revealing the best and worst in that area. Review them, and when you find one that truly does seem loyal to its audience's interests give it a chance by acting on one of its recommendations.

    If you are happy with whatever they recommended, chances are good you can trust them again and again for future recommendations in that area. Similarly, when you find a company whose products are worthwhile, chances are good you can trust their other products. Loyalty, though an old-fashioned concept, still does pay.


    Marketers invest enormous amounts of brainpower into manipulating your emotions, but relatively little in appealing to your brain.

  3. Trust Google. I don't mean the company - I don't know Larry or Sergei or anyone there personally, though I hear they are nice - but I do mean the service it and other search engines provide. Google provides you what no one else at any other period in history has ever had: the collective opinions of mass numbers of other people in an instant. We're already at the point where many of us are taking the idea of that for granted, but ironically we're still actually under-utilizing that amazing power.

    Instead of being tricked into buying anything, with Google at your fingertips you really have no excuse but to find out what countless others have said about it. Type in "best toothpaste" on Google (go ahead, try it, the results are actually interesting) and in an instant (or two instants if you still dial-up for Internet access) you've got all the research you need from a wide variety of sources to make an informed decision you will likely be pleased with.

  4. Trust Your Brain… While Guarding Your Emotions. Here, buried at the near-end of one of my columns, is one of the most important secrets you'll ever hear about marketers: they collectively invest enormous amounts of brainpower into manipulating your emotions, but relatively little in appealing to your brain. Their tricks almost all take place on an emotional level.

    Therefore, as I have stressed in multiple ways, your best defense is to train yourself to mistrust your emotions in the midst of any marketing -- especially during movies, TV shows and music where they subtly attack you because your mental defenses are typically down - while investing enormous amounts of your brainpower into analyzing anything before buying it. This includes other people's ideas, beliefs and opinions in addition to the things most people think of as products.

  5. Trust me. Okay, I am not asking you to trust my advice on the best toaster ovens (Cuisinart) or interior house paints (Benjamin Moore), but what I am suggesting is that you should subscribe to this free newsletter and read my weekly column that exposes all the sinister marketing tricks my peers in marketing use to con you. You have much to gain with these insights, and since my column is free and it comes with a full money-back guarantee, nothing to lose.

    Some of my peers in marketing detest me for revealing all these secrets, by the way, but it is my mission to provide you these insights so you are truly an educated consumer and have way more than just a fighting chance in a world of increasing marketing trickery. Plus maybe at some point we'll make the evil marketers' job of deceiving you so difficult that they'll go work at Denny's instead.

Nine Out of Ten Mom's Recommend These Other Columns by Brian Vaszily:

marketingPeople Who Drive Silver or Blue Cars Should NOT Read This

   How Stores are Secretly Using Barry Manilow to Rob You

   Is Jennifer Aniston Secretly Pregnant with Tom Cruise's Baby? A Vaszily Exclusive!

See a List of All of Brian Vaszily's Columns Now!

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