How do brands manipulate our unconscious mind?

The secret to stop being a sucker and buying useless things. 😄

Manipulation is the term that best describes influencing my unconscious mind to sell me something.

How to influence?

Some genius marketers have perfectly understood how humans work.

I am often willing to spend if a good deal is presented to me.

I buy things I don’t really need. Why?

If brands spend millions on marketing, it’s because they double or triple their investment. They know how to pull the unbconscious strings that encourage the purchase of their products.

I am easily influenced. I can just look at how my emotions influence my thoughts.

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Whoever can take control of my emotions can manipulate me.

This is why the main lever that brands play on is fear:

  • Insurers play on the fear of losing.
  • The pharmaceutical industry plays on the fear of dying.
  • Alarm vendors play on insecurity.
  • Car manufacturers play on the fear of being compared.
  • Humanitarian organisations play on the fear of being selfish.
  • Laundry sellers play on the fear of disappointing my parents.

The message is delivered at a subtle, often undetectable level.

Limiting beliefs

Emotions feed the limiting beliefs that govern me.

A good salesperson is someone who intuitively understands my unconscious patterns.

Researchers estimate that over 95% of my behavior is governed by my beliefs.

For example, sales activate the following beliefs:

  • If I buy, I will save money (fear of losing money).
  • If I don’t hurry, others will get the product before me (fear of not being better).
  • If I get a good deal, I will be proud of myself (fear of not making it).
  • If I don’t buy, I won’t get another chance (fear of losing the opportunity).

I remember participating in a private sale, with discounts of up to 70% off. I was so excited that I bought a coat and a jacket. I wore them once or twice at most, because I didn’t need them. For months I wondered why I had bought them.

Children are particularly easy targets for unconscious beliefs, especially before the age of 8.

The example of McDonald’s

McDonald’s is probably the brand that has best understood how people work.

The campaign “Come as you are” was a success: if at home my parents offer me conditional love (“If you don’t do your homework, I’ll be angry.”), at McDonald’s I receive unconditional love.

Big Mac
The perfect mum has prepared a Big Mac for me, placed at heart level. In other words, McDonald’s is offering me motherly love.
Publicité Big Mac

The brand excels with children:

  • The restaurant represents their dream home: a playground, a kitchen where they choose their favorite food, a family and joyful atmosphere at the table.
  • Gifts are offered: symbols of parental love, generosity, fun, happiness.
  • The food is high in fat, sugar, salt and additives reminiscent of breast milk.

Thus, the belief “If I go to McDonald’s, I will be loved” is firmly anchored from a very young age.

I always wanted to eat at a fast food restaurant at least once a month. And even if I came out disgusted, wondering what I could find in that food, I would still go back. It wasn’t until I removed my unconscious belief that I was able to put an end to the hamburger and fries craving.

Manipulation techniques

They are well known to brands.

Follow the others

As a survival instinct, I tend to unconsciously follow what others do.

This is why if a sheep jumps in, the rest of the flock will follow.

Of course, it is not as extreme for human beings.

However, if there is a queue in front of the Louis Vuitton shop, it is probably because there are some excellent deals inside.

Behind, there is the fear of being different.

Terre Hermès
Water in the desert represents life winning against death.
If I want to be young, handsome, sporty, elegant, strong and determined like this man, then this perfume is for me.

Need for consistency

If I commit myself to something small, I am ready to commit to something more.

I act consistently with my past actions. Again, this is a survival instinct: it allows me not to disperse myself unnecessarily.

If I sign a petition, I am more willing to contribute to the same cause.

Behind, there is the fear of rejection.

The offer that you can’t refuse

If I reject a request, I am more likely to accept a more reasonable offer.

This is why the most expensive products are put forward.

A car salesman who presents a $35,000 model knows that he will be turned down. By presenting vehicles at $25,000 or $20,000, the buyer will be more easily seduced, despite his/her initial budget of $15,000.

Behind, there is the fear of displeasing.


The feeling of deference to authority is deeply rooted in me.

This is why characters in advertisements often wear white coats to extol the benefits of their wares.

Behind, there is the fear that I will not be loved if I do not obey.

Pub Camel

The rule of reciprocity

If someone offers me something, I unconsciously give in to a feeling of obligation and tend to buy.

This is why brands offer :

  • Free samples = gifts.
  • Coupons = rewards.
  • Sweets = parental sweetness.

Behind, there is the fear of not loving.

How not to be fooled anymore?

I am an easy target for professional persuaders.

By accepting my fears and beliefs, companies no longer have power over my unconscious mind.

The best way to stop being tricked is to heal myself emotionally.

Find out how emotional acceptance works.


How do brands manipulate us?

They know that human beings can be influenced by playing on their emotions.

A government that defends the interests of the people would ban advertising and discounts.

However, manipulative techniques only have a hold on my fears and limiting beliefs.

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