Marketing Changes The World
| May 8, 2024
Dear Self-Made Millionaire, 

 

I am sorry to let you know, it is not kindness, compassion, or love that will change the world… Marketing changes the world (which is both scary and empowering).

My fascination with marketing and influence goes back as long as I can remember. As a child, I enjoyed the TV ads more than the programs. The idea that we can influence someone else’s behavior or a whole society in a predictable manner, is both scary and inspiring, and one that is worth investigating.

When it comes to marketing I have more experience than most…

Over the last 5 years, I have averaged $5 million a year spent personally on Facebook and Google ads, with well over $30 million in total. Plus I have run successful marketing agencies and I started The Digital Marketing School.

As you would assume…

Marketing is always at the forefront of my mind. 
It is what influences people to buy, sways the emotions of voters in elections and changes our behavior (like trying a new diet because some celebrity said so)…

In my opinion, marketing is just applied psychology.
It is the science and practical application of how to change a person’s behaviour to buy, to vote or to act…

In my opinion, marketing is important… because marketing changes the world … 

Marketing has so much to answer for, I mean it has created a desire for things out of nowhere! Marketing has changed our life! If we just take breakfast for example, most of us would not second guess the bacon and eggs you gobbled down with a huge glass of orange juice…right? It’s just normal! Something we have been doing since the start of time?

Wrong

Here is how a marketer invented orange juice…

 

In 1769, Spanish missionaries planted the first California orange trees in San Diego. Then, about a century later, the population in this region swelled when 300,000 gold-probing immigrants set their sights on finding some shiny rocks.  Most didn’t, but around 10,000 did contract scurvy. The miners called it ‘sailor’s disease’ and, reasoning that the ailment was cured by land, buried themselves in the sand up to their necks to treat it. It didn’t work (surprise surprise)

Of course, one effective cure for scurvy, oranges, which are rich in Vitamin C, was already growing nearby. Thereafter, the groves prospered, and, in a matter of decades, they grew a lot of oranges – like, way too many. 

Because of this, the crop had become worthless. (Unless you had scurvy.)  So, in 1907, the California Fruit Growers Exchange hired a marketer called Albert Lasker to create a campaign to sell more oranges. At the time, the average person only ate half an orange per serving. Since it takes a few of the fruit to provide enough juice to fill a glass, Lasker’s idea of selling the juice instead of the fruit was genius. (Before Larkin, orange juice did technically exist, but it was boiled, canned, and utterly tasteless.)

But his true brilliance, I think, was his tagline: ‘Drink an orange.’ 

This language appeared beside the first juice extractors, which sold a bundle of oranges for just 10 cents. And, in a dazzling display of semiotic smarts, Lasker also changed the name California Fruit Growers Exchange to ‘Sunkist.’ 

 

Consumption of California oranges jumped by 400%.

 

The ads that followed managed to convince Americans that beginning their day with a big shock of sugar water was both healthy and natural. 

In an essay called American Advertising Explained as Popular Art, Leo Spitzer praises one ad in particular, which depicts a scenic slice of southern California: …on a high mountain range, covered with snow that glistens in the bright sunshine, furrowed by vertical gullies, towering over a white village with its neat, straight rows of orange trees, there rests a huge orange-colored sun, inscribed with the word ‘Sunkist.’

As Spitzer points out, this ad allows the consumer to feel like he or she is “drinking nectar at the source,” imbibing juice imbued by the warm nourishment of the sun. 

Lasker’s line – Drink an Orange – launched a product and a daily habit. 

And while there have since been many promotional iterations shilling orange juice, they all essentially rely on the same premise. We still sell the stuff the same way. 

 

But it is not just orange juice…


Bacon and eggs for breakfast were invented as well

Bacon has a reputation as a classic breakfast food, but why? It’s greasy, fatty, and high in sodium — not quite the pinnacle of a ‘healthy breakfast’. Well, just like cereal’s rise to breakfast stardom thanks to the magic of PR and advertising, bacon has a similar success story.

Its reputation as a quintessential breakfast food is attributed to PR consultant Edward Bernays back in the 1920s. Bernays is often touted as “the father of public relations”

Part of Bernays’ success comes from none other than his uncle, Sigmund Freud. Freud is known for his work in psychology and founding the field of psychoanalysis and the unconscious mind. And, yes, the mummy issues.

Bernays used a lot of this psychological research to underpin his work in PR, linking products to feelings or ideas, and appealing to people’s emotions or subconscious. And that’s what he did when he was hired by the Beech-Nut Packing Company to increase consumer demand for bacon

In the early 1900s, Kellogg coined the whole ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’. To help sell their now-famous cereal, they painted a ‘healthy breakfast’ as a moral and religious issue. 

Bernays took that concept and really ran with it. He spoke to a doctor who suggested that a heavier breakfast would be healthier because the body loses energy during the night. Then he asked that doctor to find 5000 other doctors who agreed. He then circulated this information in newspapers around the US. And a lot of these doctors mentioned bacon and eggs as part of this hearty breakfast. 

And with that, Bernay’s job was done. He’d successfully promoted bacon and pioneered the PR tactic of recruiting dodgy third-party experts to sell things that ‘4 out of 5 doctors recommend’.

So if orange juice was invented and bacon turned into a breakfast food, what else? 
Turns out one other marketing strategy changed what we do each morning, this one really helped us all

Here is how marketing made over 55% of Americans start brushing their teeth…instantly

One day in the early 1900s, a prominent American executive named Claude C. Hopkins (The famous advertising person of that century) was approached by an old friend with a new business idea. The friend had discovered an amazing product, he explained, that he was convinced would be a hit. It was a toothpaste, a minty, frothy concoction he called “Pepsodent.

However, when his old friend approached Hopkins about Pepsodent, the ad man expressed only mild interest. It was no secret that the health of Americans’ teeth was in steep decline.

 

The reason for Ad man’s denial

 

Yet as Hopkins knew, selling toothpaste was financial suicide. There was already an army of door-to-door salesmen hawking dubious tooth powders and elixirs, most of them going broke. The problem was that hardly anyone bought toothpaste because, despite the nation’s dental problems, hardly anyone brushed their teeth.

His friend came back, again and again, appealing to Hopkins’s considerable ego until, eventually, the ad man gave in.

It would be the wisest financial decision of Hopkins’s life. Within five years of that partnership, Hopkins turned Pepsodent into one of the best-known products on earth and, in the process, helped create a toothbrushing habit that moved across America with startling speed. Soon, everyone from Shirley Temple to Clark Gable was bragging about their “Pepsodent smile.” By 1930, Pepsodent was sold in China, South Africa, Brazil, Germany, and almost anywhere else Hopkins could buy ads. A decade after the first Pepsodent campaign, pollsters found that toothbrushing had become a daily ritual for more than half the American population.

Hopkins had helped establish toothbrushing as a daily activity. It would remain America’s best-selling toothpaste for more than thirty years, earning billions. Before Pepsodent appeared, only 7 percent of Americans had a tube of toothpaste in their medicine chests. A decade after Hopkins’s ad campaign went nationwide, that number had jumped to 65 percent.

So if marketing can change the way we do breakfast and brush our teeth what else could it do? Maybe it is worth learning a thing or two about marketing? 

If you want to become a self-made millionaire.. I would suggest it… because marketing changes the world 😉

Chris

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