Did you know that American shoppers are more likely to buy a banana whose peel color is Pantone 12-0752 (Buttercup) than a banana that’s Pantone 13-0858 (Vibrant yellow)? Big banana growers do. And they go to considerable trouble to bring you just the right shade of Buttercup.
Color is often used for propaganda purposes.
Here’s an interesting item in Fast Company magazine that describes how the healthy foods industry uses subliminal messaging and psychological stimulation to influence your perceptions and behavior.
In this case, it’s a way to get you to spend more of your hard-earned money on the organic, generally healthy, fresh-looking food at Whole Foods. The copious beds of glittering ice are not the least bit necessary for keeping certain foods fresh. Some of the “fresh” fruits can be more than a year old. And some of the techniques to entice you into making a purchase also can involve making your produce selection rot more quickly once you take it home. To say nothing of the fact that “organic” means that the food that you put in your mouth wasn’t fertilized with nutrients synthesized in a clean factory, but with feces.
Sorry about that last one. You get the idea.
Ever wonder why, at Whole Foods, customers are presented the opportunity to buy fresh cut flowers as soon as they walk into the store, making it more likely that they would damage their selection during the course of shopping, than showcase the flowers safely near the cash registers?
There’s a propaganda purpose to it. A form of psychological manipulation.
If organic food producers and supermarket chains can use color, atmosphere, temperature, moisture, art, casualness – and even cut flowers – as a basis of influencing a target audience’s perceptions and therefore actions, isn’t it logical that nation states can do it, too? Is it something for you as a policymaker to be aware of? To defend against? To use for diplomatic purposes? Let’s take it further: To weaponize against others? Think about it. (And don’t forget to read the article. Don’t worry – it’s short.)