Huh… so this is what the kids are calling a blag

“It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.” – Winston

I was reading a blog yesterday about persuasion profiling. The short of it is that researchers and companies are beginning to understand that there are differences in the way people will react if a particular person is shown a “Buy one, get it free” versus “10 of your friends bought this” versus “For the next 12 minutes, 75% off”, etc. etc.  Some will more consistently be swayed by the first example, while others the last. Interestingly, this style preference appears to be consistent across products. So it doesn’t matter if I’m buying a car or apples, I might be consistently swayed by the “For the next 12 minutes, 75% off” advertisement. Click here for more information:

Now some  people apparently have a problem with this. Is profiling such people ethical? Granted there are lots of pros and cons to advertising using profiling… really advertising in general. I don’t particularly like it that walking through the mall with my girlfriend, as a shortcut to queen street, lands me danier for an extra 15 mins. But that’s freedom of advertising.

But if I think about this from the perspective of a 21st century consumer rammed by the train of information that’s out there. I can’t help but welcome these types of profiling. I can’t help but welcome ANYTHING that will help me sift through the googles of products out there to find what I like. And in democracy, as is necessary, it is my responsibility to be informed about what the companies are doing.

Every time we shop, we vote with our dollars on which companies to support and which not. Government can’t be expected to watch out for us all… history has been a good lesson on that one. So as much as we can, in the broken democracy in which we live, it is our responsibility as consumers to vote with our dollars.


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