Crowd Manipulation in Marketing and Propaganda

How the Crowd is used as a tool in marketing or propaganda By John Giannatos

Both marketing and propaganda make use of crowd psychologyA� in order to achieve their communication objectives; these namely include in the process the control, the influence and the desires of a certain crowd, in order to direct the behaviour of the individuals towards a specificA� action.

Advertising and Marketing Basics.
Advertising usually aims at the promotion of certain goods having as its ultimate goal to improve people’s lives and their prosperity. In addition, it can be used as a tool for brand awareness or brand recognition.
Advertising has (appeals to) two main audiences: consumers and businesses
Advertising is ephemeral and often is adaptable to new conditions as it rises to the needs and demands of every period in time.

Propaganda basics.
Propaganda utilises the same means as advertising but it mainly promotes ideas and it aims at shaping people’s way of thinking.A� Most of the times it promotes a negative visual presentation of the opponent. Propaganda appeals mainly to two audiences: the religious andA� the political. It is in its essenceA� that propaganda constitutes a form of communication education aiming at shaping the conscience of the crowds.
Each of the aforementioned methodologies utilises crowd manipulation differently in order to create stereotyped patterns of behavior or interests.


Crowd definition and its main characteristics
A crowd is a temporary entity comprised of different elements that are gathered together based on a common means, goal or motivation shaping thus a new entity with new characteristics.
The personality and the smartness ofA� every individual is of no relevance once they are gathered into a crowd. It is only then that they begin to think and act differently than when they were outside the crowd. (acting and thinking as individuals)

What holds a crowd together is usually aA� shared motivation based on a hidden agenda. As far as propaganda is concerned it may include deprivation,A� fear, repressed feelings or greed; while for advertising it is mainly greed, vanity or the need for prosperity.
The main property that keeps a crowd united is a shared feeling ;A� a key factor indeed, both for propaganda and advertising.
The crowd experiences a sense of insurmountable power and a feeling of omnipotence to such an extent that it annihilates any sense of responsibility that it might be present.A� So the crowd gets easily carried away by its wildest instincts and becomes overly spontaneous while beingA� wrapped in a mist of social stress.

3941308908_f9feb1c9d4_oIn the above image the product is connected to a high and luxury quality of living

Another characteristic of crowd psychology is that the individual does sacrifice or willfully ignores what is best for it sheddingA� every personal inhibition. The individual fails to provide a logical explanation for this attitude when it is asked to do so. At the same time it is characterised as being overly receptive to the messages it is subjectedA� to; this is due to the fact thatA� its conscious personality has been removed and it is thus manipulated by the domination of its unconscious personality.
As the individual becomes part of a crowd itA� blindly obeys to all the subjections that are imposed on it by the person that removed its conscious personality. The individual reshapes its thoughts, its feelings and its needs so that they are similar to those of the crowd it belongs to; without using any logical judgment or analytical thinking.
The crowd has an unquenchable thirst for the immediate achievement of its objectives and it allows no waiting period/ standby time, towards making itsA� dreams come true. It refuses to acknowledge any possible doubts or uncertainties that may arise since every single doubt is automatically transformed into certainty. Feelings tend to become more extreme turning distaste into hatred and desire into order.
When it comes to its behaviour the crowd responds only to extreme stimuli and strong repetitive expressions conveyed/portrayed through the brightest of colours as is the case in advertising and propaganda alike.
The crowdsA� become more obedient to power and to strict subjectivity (call to action for advertising ot the power of its leader in propaganda)

For years the commercial propaganda promoted that Smoking is a status of life while the advertising industry promoted particular firms or tobacco products

Following is a vivid example that aims at pinpointingA� the degree of limitation enforced on the critical thinking of the individual that becomes part of a crowd.A� If the average IQ scoreA� of an individual is around 100, the IQ score of the crowd ranges from 40 to 90 and most of the times itA� can be compared to the physiology of a person hypnotised.

The crowd thinks in pictures and not in sequences while its inferences are not made based on some principle or logicalA� relation to reality . This is exactly why you will most likely witness an expensive product to be more successful than a cheaper one even ifA� both productsA� are of the same quality. In advertising, sales success is not always connected with the quality of the product but it is most likely to be connected with the successful way of its promotion as it gets throughA� to the conscience of the public.
Whether a consumer or a political human being , the person who falls for the alluring influence of an organized crowd reduces himself/herself to the lowest ranks of the hierarchy of civilization. This is one of the reasons why the marketing messages are characterized primarily by simplicity.Most of the times an advertising message is so simple as to address a 6-year-old child.
The thin line between propaganda and advertising
Although an advertising messageA� reaches the consumer on a personal level, the consumer itself not only reacts under the influence ofA� the social unconscious but it also copies the behavior and it thus inevitably becomes what in marketing is called the ‘target audience”.

Propaganda1The method of Luring one into joining a crowd and social influence. Everyone is doing it…. Be part of’.


Basic Methods and Practical examples of propaganda or advertising

Luring one into joining a crowd and social influence (LEARN MORE about the Ash Experiment here>>>A� )
Everyone is doing it
Be part of’.
Don’t get left out
Majority rules’
Best seller..
Most popular product’

Citing Prominent Figures
i.e. A famous person endorses a product or supports a theory or a political party.

Making Associations (transfer..)
Sex appeal, patriotism, power, love, fame, wealth, popularity, intelligence etc. (i.e. for smart travelers, feel the power of’ live the sensation)

Comparing against the Enemy or competition
Our best product (among the others)

Creating Stereotypes and simplification
Reduces complex situations into simple choices
Comparison between the “good” and “bad”

Even though propaganda and advertising have different goals and objectives they both share the same techniques and principles of crowd psychology in order to achieve their objectives. At times they are interconnected and we often experience propaganda to function as advertising and advertising to act like being a part of propaganda. Propaganda alone has a larger influence on people and for this reason it can be used by trusts or industries; i.e. a firm that sells aA� specific coffee brand promotes their product (this is advertising) while the coffee industry promoting through the media that 1-2A� cups of coffee a day are good for your health (this is propaganda) .
Both terms are an essential part of the field of marketing.
The scientific way that crowd psychology is used by commerce or politics might seem scary; the way it can enhance and support an entire system based on the manipulation of human weaknesses and characteristics. Nonetheless, it never seizes to be one of the greatest tools used in communication. Communication itself, still plays the most pivotal partA� in human existence (and it does notA� limit itselfA� to that). Despite its objectives and its intentions it sustains its significance as the most unique characteristic of human intellect and evolution.

By |August 6, 2015|