The message in the ‘Mad Men’ series is so entertaining, we often forget it’s also educating. Vance Packard penned one of the ad industry’s first exposes ‘Hidden Persuaders’ as early as 1957. He squealed on the master manipulators’ subtle strategies for getting us to do and buy what we do and buy. And yet these 3-piece-suit sharks swimming Madison Avenue are still getting away with it as they hustle us out of hundreds of millions of unnecessary dollars each year.
What makes the money so unneeded are the products we choose. Start with the big bad four: Salt, Sugar, Fat and Cigarettes. Every consumer knows by now each is attractively addictive, but what some still won’t let themselves know is now modern technologies are being used to kickstart the addictions.
The human body already craves more salt, sugar and fat than it needs, and is addicted to smoking. Now, however, the craving is being enhanced by the insidious ways large food companies have upped the amounts of salt in our pizzas, burgers and frozen foods; sugar in our Cokes, chewing gum and candy; along with our ice creams, desserts and processed foods.That obesity is a national problem is no surprise, especially when the Super Bowl Ravens and 49ers can boast 24 players each weighing more than 300 pounds. As for smoking, data about intended addiction has been in for years.
In the business the name is “the bliss point in the brain’s pleasure centers.” That point beyond which the consumer will still keep enjoying the addiction no matter how much you add to it. In a study by the University of Washington, researchers don’t villainize these food managers, they simply portray them as benign figures delivering what their bosses want. But off the record, some were quoted as saying they draw the line when it comes to letting their own children consume”stuff like Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Dr Pepper and Lunchables.”
Good gracious…conscience lives on even in the food industry.
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