I forgot to include this quote about when and especially WHY it was that companies had to start manipulating us all through advertising, rather than just trusting that we would go out and figure out which products were better, and buy them.

new and improved book richard tedlow advertising shift

It seems so strange in our ad-saturated modern media existence to consider that there was a time that this was not so. We are all so conditioned to believe that the whole ad industry exists to make us change our minds and do things that we wouldn’t otherwise do, that the question of why companies have to do this … well, it just never occurred to me, is all.

Kind of a freaky …  wait for it …


W00t! I used a management buzzword – can I go home now?

The turn probably began back in the ’50s, when the admen realized, much to their chagrin, that advances in technology and the growing standardization of ingredients were resulting in brands that were technically identical. The old approach — reciting product benefits, hammering home a “unique selling proposition” — didn’t work anymore. And so, as the marketers wrung their hands, wondering how to cope with this newfound problem of “rapidly diminishing product differences,” the ad agencies groped for new and deeper persuasion techniques, sexier approaches, sharper hooks.

The result, as Richard Tedlow writes in “New and Improved,” was the dawn of our current era of image-based marketing — the insistence that products not only be good, but that they appeal to our hidden yearnings, “deep in the psychological recesses of the mind.”