Skepticism

Hypno tisn’t

By tkingdoll

Marketing. Much maligned, and often unfairly so. But sometimes, I admit, accurately so, and never was there a better example of shady, nasty, downright dirty dishonest marketing than Australian company hypnomarketing.

Some people think that marketing manipulates people into buying something they ordinarily wouldn’t. This is largely untrue and a bit daft when you think about it. Can an advert really overpower your free will? No, although it can push a few buttons to get you thinking about the taste of cola or what your life would be like if you owned an iPod. But the idea that you can brainwash someone into buying or even liking your product is a dafter idea than Cadbury’s recent racist chewing gum campaign.

So when I see something like hypnomarketing, I see red. They are claiming that they “have found ways to speed up the brainwashing process” for marketing purposes.

They don’t tell us how they achieve this, other than “through a process”, but a quick look at their launch event photos shows us that it’s apparently achieved by making young men remove their jeans.

Ignoring the pre-school standard of web design and typos, the hypnomarketing website goes on to claim “in one afternoon we induce subjects into a hypnotic state and then whilst in this condition we attempt to make them…positively love your brand. This may forgo the need for expensive advertising” Now I’m really mad. Here’s why…

I run a marketing business. That means I am an expert in effective marketing; if I wasn’t then my clients would sue me for misleading them and I’d be broke. And I can assure you from the bottom of my repeat-business list that if the claims made by hypnomarketing were true, they would not only be unethical, but illegal.

Another claim is “For to long marketers and advertisers have been using blunt ineffective tools such as advertising, cheap promotions, and expensive packaging design.”

Ineffective? Sure, that’s why advertising, promotions and packaging design is a multi-billion dollar industry. It’s not like alternative medicine, where people buy it despite a lack of evidence, it’s the exact opposite. Advertising, promotions and packaging have been researched, tested, exhaustively analysed and there is conclusive, definite, absolute evidence that if done properly, they work. The economy depends on that fact, too. If you can’t differentiate through marketing, you aren’t going to sell a thing.

That little detail aside, the hypnomarketers have demonstrated their lack of marketing knowledge with a simple oversight. Any company with a large budget to spend on one afternoon of marketing is going to demand two things: 1) proof of effectiveness and 2) return on investment. In other words, what is hypnomarketing offering me in return for my money?

“The costs of a session are approximately between $20,000 and $100,000 (AUD). However, compared to advertising this is obviously extremely cost effective. At the end of every session expect there maybe at least 10 people who are newfound brand loyalists.” TEN people. For a $100,000 investment. That’s $10,000 per ‘brand loyalist’. This is cost-effective? Compared to ‘expensive advertising’, it’s a joke. For the same money you can get your brand in front of millions.

It’s also noteworthy that they offer zero proof for the effectiveness of hypnomarketing. Their ‘satisfied client’ list is empty and they have no case studies, no measurement studies, no effectiveness research to back them up. I wonder why.

But for all their bashing of traditional marketing methods, it’s fascinating that the hypnomarketing event they are so keen to promote on their website offers “free beer, wine and food on the night, as well as stacks of free Golf Punk clothes to give away.”

But…but…those are traditional marketing methods proven to increase brand loyalty! That’s right, they are getting people drunk and full of food, giving them free clothes, providing some raucous fun in the form of a stage show, and then claiming any increase in brand loyalty is as a result of the hypnotism.

I’d almost admire their cheek but I’m too busy reporting them to the Australian Advertising Standards Authority.

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10 Comments

  1. "He might not get past the $10k per person figure "

    Ha! You're obviously not living in the world of Dilbert, unlike some of us. In many cases, you'd be lucky if they got that far…

  2. Aww, the title was great (: But then, I've been fond of puns ever since reading Asmiov's story Jokester.

    I'm convinced that this site is either a hoax or a scam. If it's actually an attempt to create a legitimate business, these people are very, very stupid…

  3. I'm sort of hoping it is a scam, with some kind of 'aha, April Fool!' punchline. I don't mind looking daft for having fallen for it (as I'm not the only one), but I just can't find anything on the site that gives me a clue. Have you guys watched the video? There's a lot of giggling and such in the background, which makes me think maybe there's something we don't know, but if it is a hoax it's very poorly executed and the golfpunk brand appears to be a legit one so they'd be doing themselves some damage if they had perpetrated a hoax this bad.

    And by bad I mean 'if it's fake, where's the joke?' – cause I sure can't see one. Maybe I'm biased :D

  4. I've done a bit of digging, and the only Steven Feelgood I can find in Sydney is a Psychologist who has done work in sex offender rehabilitation. It's interesting to note that one of his papers is "Generation of concrete ideas for a media campaign to motivate undetected sexual offenders to seek treatment using the Marketing Psychology approach. " in 2002. Anyone know what the 'marketing psychology approach' is in relation to sex offenders? Maybe it's like that episode of The Simpsons where Wiggum sends a promise of a free boat to all uncaught criminals. :D

    No idea if it's the same guy but it's an interesting fit. I just emailed him to ask.

    Will continue to dig!

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