The Power of Brands, Conscious and Unconscious

Ian Chipman (Knowable Magazine)

The particular preferences people stand by tend to be very idiosyncratic, Bronnenberg notes. “It’s not that all consumers stick with their coffee preferences but migrate their preferences for sugar or pasta sauce,” he says. “I think it’s that you have some favorite things that you yourself find important, and you stick with those preferences, and others you don’t.” A certain kind of pancake mix may be nearer and dearer to your heart than, say, the kind of syrup you squirt on top of it.

In Advertising, Sex Still Sells and Men Are Still Buying Manhood

Angelo Franco

A study conducted at the University of Manitoba found that as many as 56 percent of ads printed on men magazines depicted one or more hyper-masculine belief. Researches looked for images that portrayed situations commonly associated with hyper-masculinity, such as ads that showed men as violent, physically aggressive, hypersexual, or involved in a dangerous activity for the sake of the thrill. Aside from the fact that more than half the ads fit these definitions, the study also found that the ads are targeting low-income, younger men to an alarming rate. 

Facebook and the Powers of Media Manipulation

Marty Kaplan

The average Facebook user sees only 20 percent of the 1,500 stories per day that could have shown up in their news feed.  The posts you receive are determined by algorithms whose bottom line is Facebook’s bottom line.  The company is constantly adjusting all kinds of dials, quietly looking for the optimal mix to make us spend more of our time and money on Facebook.  Of course the more we’re on Facebook, the more information they have about us to fine-tune their formulas for picking ads to show us.  

Gauging the Real Effects of Media

Marty Kaplan

There wouldn’t be an advertising industry if people weren’t susceptible to messages.  POM Wonderful wouldn’t rent billboards promising (falsely) to prevent prostate cancer, the fossil fuel industry wouldn’t spend millions on spots claiming (falsely) to produce clean energy, candidates wouldn’t fork over billions of dollars to local TV stations for (pants-on-fire) political ads if all their money could buy were some wispy correlation.


Dead Culture: How Our Culture Became Stagnant

Tyler Huggins

The forces of antagonism don't create culture, they kindle creativity. Machiavelli suffered under the House of Medici and wrote The Prince. The Harlem Renaissance responded to racism, segregation and classism with art, poetry and music. Philip K. Dick uses his religious mania to create some of the most intriguing passages in literature. To quote Orson Welles: "In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance..."

How Tom Burrell Catapulted the African-American Market in the Media

Natalie Meade

The African-American community benefited from Tom Burrell’s efforts because it was a voice at a time when their voices were misunderstood and quelled. Before his retirement in 2003, Tom Burrell, is credited with creating the principle of “positive realism” – “a technique depicting African-Americans using consumer products in a manner that is authentic and relevant." Adele Lasseur, Media Director at Burrell Communications,  recently spoke with Highbrow Magazine about the agency and how it targets what she  calls the most powerful and forward-thinking consumer market: African-Americans. 

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