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RANT Lesson In Trojan Mass Marketing Via Perverse Fascination

Discussion in 'Advertising, Marketing, Social Media' started by focusedlife, Sep 11, 2017.

  1. focusedlife
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    focusedlife Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Did you know that America has been fascinated with the perceived hilariousness of African Americans and Jews since the mid 1920’s?

    You can verify it, yourself.

    On January 12, 1926, a bizarre two man comedy show entitled “Sam ‘n’ Henry” debuted on Chicago’s WGN radio station. Two years later, after it changed its name, it would become one of the most popular and highest rated comedy shows in American radio history.

    The show?

    Amos n Andy.

    What was it?

    It started as a 15 minute radio serial sitcom voice by 2 white actors, familiar with minstrel traditions, who voiced the 2 title characters, as well as other, primarily, black characters on the show.

    The main characters, 2 rural farm workers from the South head north in search of a better life and prosperity in the urban jungles of Chicago (later changed to Harlem).

    Clearly out of their element the plot line found it's footing in the problems the pair faced in their day to day pursuit of success in the big city.

    The reason why?

    Using elaborate and suspenseful plot lines, the show had mastered the trick of creating listener suspense (open loops to you diehard copywriting and persuasion porn nerds).

    Though most would say it resembled a soap opera, the truth of the matter is that soap operas, as we know them, had not yet been invented.

    Considered the mother of soap operas (so named for the soap manufacturers that sponsored these “shows”), Irna Phillips created the first radio soap called “Painted Dreams” and 3 other well known soaps in the 1930’s, after Amos ‘n’ Andy had, already, been on the air for some time.

    So, in reality, soap operas copied Amos ‘n’ Andy (who, coincidentally were sponsored by toothpaste manufacturer, Pepsodent).

    Though controversial at the time (and of course, even more so, today), it was definitely a case study lesson in commercial mass persuasion success.

    One historian, Erik Barnouw, remarked in 1966: “In retrospect it is easy to see the stories and Amos and Andy as part of the ghetto system. All of it was more readily accepted and maintained if one could hold onto this: ‘they’ were lovely people, essentially happy people, ignorant and somewhat shiftless and lazy in a lovable, quaint way, not fitting in with higher levels of enterprise, better off where they were.” (source: Erik Barnouw, A Tower in Babel: A History of Broadcasting in the United States to 1933, Vol. 1)

    3 key profound and unexpected findings came about as a result of the shows success that is important to note as it relates to mass persuasion and influence:

    1. NBC discovered that it was now, clearly, in the business of selling the predictable attention of enormous audiences at a premium. Something most platforms strive to emulate, today.

    The power of the “style” or “type” of entertainment offering that was Amos ‘n’ andy and its ability to bring in giant audiences willing to hear advertising. Before this it was believed that advertising and entertainment didn’t mix well.

    In 1931 “The Rise of the Goldbergs” debuted, which was another serial short, but this one about a Jewish family living in the Bronx (yes, a loose remake, still on tv debuted in 2013…).

    2. With better rating monitoring systems in place, this shows further success, hereby helped prove the ideas that America was fascinated with this sort of stuff.

    Entertainment laced with controversy and “not normal” plot lines.

    These characters were experiencing things that were not normal to the listeners. It was a whole different world to them, which, I suppose was the origination of the fascination.

    3. Amos ‘n’ Andy proved that an industry could, in effect, wholly “own” part of the day (the show aired at 7pm sharp, every day, across America) and could do so in the coveted and personal space of their listening audience, a once inconceivable to infiltrate their target, inside their homes.

    Yes, Amos ‘n’ Andy was trojan AF and it paved the way to success for other broadcast media companies to model.

    Daytime soap operas, targeting women at home (housewives, if you will), who were understood to have the most influence in at home buying decisions, followed the serial template used by Amos ‘n’ Andy.

    Soap opera plots, however, centered on family relationships among the white middle class, the target customer, which were, thus, even more natural selling tools than the minstrel shows were.

    The methods used to “sell” stuff in daytime radio were more overt and effective because the target listener could see themselves in the characters used as proxies on the show and were influenced and subliminally urged to use what the characters on the show used.

    Ninja.

    Though I understand just how perverse the show was in light of the mass normalcy of racism acceptance in America, at the time, I still think it is useful, if nothing more, than as Robert Greene (author of the 48 laws of power) might put it, than to understand how to either safe guard yourself from it (make yourself immune to its negative effects on you) or figure out how to put it to use in a more positive and ethical way (perhaps?).

    What do you think?

    Useful info or should I have just posted something about 9/11 like everyone else is probably doing, today?

    I’m pretty sure there is a tie in to 9/11 in here somewhere, somehow.

    Maybe it’s all the apocalyptic media coverage on how America has to ban together to fight the forces of evil trying to destroy us?

    Isis told N. Korea to send Irma this way to forewarn us of what’s to come. The storm before the storm. We must all ban together.

    I dunno.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
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  2. GuestUser450
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    Should've led with that.

    People like stories. People with money can be organized by demographic. Publishers like to know about these demos to show them stories they'd probably like to consume so their attention can be sold to advertisers.

    The persuasion game is overrated, unless you're talking about how behavioral economics authors have persuaded book buyers that they're schlock is anything but hyper-dissected versions of Dale Carnegie's books from 80 years ago.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2017
  3. focusedlife
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    focusedlife Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Mind expanding a bit further?

    Why is it overrated?

    Thanks
     
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  4. GuestUser450
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    Sure.

    TLDR: Less is more. Data is dumb, insight is everything.

    Just so we're on the same page, persuasion itself is not only a good thing, it's necessary for life. None of us would be here without it. Persuasion is the act of convincing someone to do what they already want to do, when we want them to do it. Persuasion is about time, not force. Convincing someone to do something they don't want to do is manipulation not persuasion. So when I say persuasion is overrated I'm specifically talking about the countless books, articles, ted talks and gurus that collect dozens of 'this one weird trick' examples of bite-sized human nature 'backed by research' and sell them as lifehacks or breakthroughs.

    That said -
    I think there's a conflict between behavioral economics and simple heuristics that have proven to be true throughout human history. I don't think there has to be (simple answers often have complex explanations), but it's inevitable since pop BE (books, ted talks, blogs etc.) need the simple answers to be wrong for contrast.

    If BE were a diet it'd be the keto diet. It's a hot trend with growing evidence that it's good for weight loss, gut health, brain health, athletic endurance, and some say cancer prevention and treatment too. And all of it's 'backed by research'.

    Cool. But the point of changing diet is increased longevity and quality of life. If you look at the longest-living civilizations, their diets are vastly different from one another (by most accounts, the Okinawan diet was like 70% sweet potato.) So, local culture develops heuristics over time of what to eat and why. If it didn't work, they wouldn't eat it. Point being, no civilization has survived on bacon guacamole sandwiches with burnt cheese for bread and lived to pass it to the next generation.

    Another example:
    Ever see the sport science segments where they dissect all the kinematics, calculus and derivatives of velocity necessary for an athlete to perform even the simplest of movements? I bet their math is correct. But no athlete is calculating trajectory before they make contact with a ball; they've practiced over time what to do and the brain figured it out.

    Most of our big problems have a large degree of uncertainty, and yet there's no shortage of data and calculation available to help us find the wrong answer to why things are. We have plenty of tools but a shortage of appropriate applications. In many cases, optimization is impossible; you have to estimate, not calculate.

    That's why I said so many newer books are magnified retreads of How to Win Friends and Influence People. You can dissect it forever, but it's easier to understand that people are inherently self-involved, oblivious and emotional creatures of habit and to treat them accordingly.
     
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  5. focusedlife
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    focusedlife Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Data is dumb is an interesting statement.

    To be frank, I don't understand what you said (and suspect I'll probably not be sold on the idea, anyway).

    While I do agree persuasion and manipulation are slightly different, I'm not in agreement with your contrast of the two.

    With that being said, if you "trick" someone into doing something like getting them to sign something they didn't know they were agreeing to or having sex without a condom or something (ghosting), that, to me, is manipulation.

    Yeah, I agree persuasion is more like getting them to do what they're already thinking about doing, but giving them way better reasons why to go through with it (think anti-suicide negotiator, lol).

    When you say overrated, that implies it's thought too highly of, which is why I asked you about it.

    Your response seems a bit in conflict with your original reply to my OP.

    Estimation, comes from micro calculations.

    When you're trying to figure out how much more to nudge the little scale deals in the doctors office that comes from micro calculations.

    When you're trying to figure out whether your client's campaign will succeed or fail you use the data to draw up insightful forecasts.

    Wanna know what's trending?

    Google insights (lol) draws on data.

    Just sayin.

    While I'm still not sure why Persuasion is overrated, even though, I think, you tried answering above, I do appreciate you replying .

    Regards,

    Los
     

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