brainwashed! it’s us versus them!

We, humans that is, haven’t changed a whole hell of a lot since becoming a socialized animal.? Although most of us consider ourselves to be living in a civilized civilization we’re still just a large amalgamation of different tribes.? Of course, these tribes aren’t our sole focus of sustainability and survival anymore.? They are, instead, our allegiances, alliances, and enemies.? And wouldn’t you know, the advertising industry just so happens to know how to leverage all three!

The tribal life style is “hard-wired” into our evolutionary mindset.? That’s how we survived, procreated, and defended ourselves against bigger, badder, and more lethal predators.? It’s all about numbers and safety.? As the comedy crack team over at, well, Cracked put it, “The more stress we feel, the more we feel love and attachment to those who look and sound the same as us, and the more we feel hatred to those who don’t.“? We become more and more insular when threatened by greater and greater amounts of unfamiliarity.? Then, that meant physical defense and survival, now, well, it’s more about the preservation of ourselves and the mental — you know, with our bigger brains and all.

So, with this pre-wired, predetermined drive to compile ourselves into the familiar and the safe, what better industry is there to take advantage of us than those in advertising.? It’s us versus them, where them is anything that disagrees with us.? Whether it’s politics or platform shoes, the arrangement of ourselves by safety is an important and all together easy strategy.? This, fellow tribe-mates, is the essential, founding ingredient in brand loyalty.? Whether it’s the Mac versus PC hullabaloo, and no matter what tribe you happen to be a part of, you’ve been nurtured by your allegiance and taught to hate the enemy.? Sure, the “I’m a Mac” ads are innocent enough, but they’re meant to make those who watch them associate the PC with everything you’re supposed to find unappealing.? Even if we are, we never want to think of ourselves as stuffy, unyeidling, and static.? We’re all hip, cool, on the bleeding edge.? I’m a Mac!? From the flip side, the new “I’m a PC” stereotype ad is meant to fortify that you there, you using the PC, aren’t a stereotype!? We’re all different, see!? We do cool things, too!? Mac, you fool, you’re just being a bratty snark.? See?? It doesn’t matter which side you’re on, the goal of each brand is to do exactly what they’re accusing the other guy of doing — remain static.? It’s just that they want you, tribesman, to remain static with us and continue to garner hatred for them.

The tribe mentality is pervasive.? And it’s lasting because, honestly, it works.? It works for sports teams and their fans.? Video game consoles.? Sneakers.? Fish sticks.? Movie theatres.? Politics.? Oh, politics.? Attack ads this election season are rolled each commercial break because they present us with information that, inevitably, will push us into further alliance with our party of choice.? They make us feel uncomfortable, uneasy, and no matter our personal morals or how wrong we may feel individually about the negative process our tribe mentality couldn’t care any less.? We humans didn’t raise to the level of being able to single-handedly destroy an entire planet by not surviving and adapting.? And we sure didn’t survive based on our scrawny bodies alone.? Strength in familiarity.? Strength in numbers.? And the fear of being ostracized from that very group of strength.

Every company is pandering to their consumers through their brand.? That’s just common sense.? But what power we consumers lack as an individual in a tribe, we must make up for as that individual synthesizing one’s own information.? When does that happen?? Hardly ever.? So, it looks like it’ll be us versus them for a while longer.? Evolution is a hefty animal to shake loose!

3 comments for “brainwashed! it’s us versus them!

  1. September 24, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    Your right Brandon. A little competition never hurt. Maybe you and I would get more done if we were competing for best intern. It’s on!

  2. September 24, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    Oh, it has been brought, my man. Breaking away from what’s safe is the only way to grow.. some, however, must instead grow DOWN.

  3. September 25, 2008 at 10:36 am

    Amen!!!!!!!

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