The Most Powerful Weapon in The World

Posted by 3 November, 2008


I’ve just finished reading "All Marketers Are Liars" by Seth Godin. Seth Godin made the statement:

Nuclear weapons have killed a tiny fraction of the number of people that unethical marketing has. It’s time we realized that there may be no more powerful weapon on Earth.

This statement really took hold in my mind. Is marketing the most powerful weapon in the world? Seth Godin is a marketer so how do I know if he is lying or "telling a good story"?

Marketing stories can have a nearly instant impact, and that impact can be felt for decades. Paul Prudhomme created a story about redfish that made the fish a staple in restaurants around the country – and came very close to causing its extinction.

I checked on this and found it to be true. Here’s a link to the article in the NY Times. Granted this is only one source, but the NY Times is a reputable source of information in many regards. After one example, I’m not completely convinced. I’d like a more recent example.

Coke and Pepsi created a story about corn syrup, and this myth is causing the premature death from heart disease and diabetes to millions of people.

This is an example that really hits home. I’ve heard that this is true, but how do I know it’s not another marketer telling me a good story so I’ll buy the more expensive organic and natural food and beverages? This issue I found to be less conclusive since companies could stand to lose millions and possibly billions of dollars if corn syrup is indeed found to be bad for you. In fact, the corn refiners have set up a website dedicated to the "Truth About High Fructose Corn Syrup". An article at concludes that high fructose corn syrup is bad for you, but is it true or is it something we want to believe because being healthy and green is a fad (I hope it’s not a fad, but only time will tell) in the US now? Here are some other resources for this particular subject:

The point of this post was not to state that redfish or corn syrup is good or bad. I wanted to reemphasize that Seth Godin’s point is that marketing is a real weapon. We are constantly bombarded with marketing.

Seth Godin has two questions to ask a marketer in determining whether you should believe the story that the marketer is telling you.

1. If I knew what you know, would I choose to buy what you sell?

2. After I’ve used this and experienced it, will I be glad that I believed the story or will I feel ripped off?

Are there any other recent marketing examples that you feel may end up hurting people?

photo by Giginger


Other articles you may find interesting:

10 Ways to Become Financially Independent
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I Conquered the iPhone


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November 4, 2008

Especially on the internet, you can find all sorts of conflicting marketing messages all over the place. It’s impossible to sort everything out. In general, I try to only listen to my friends who are fanatics about certain topics…but then again what if they are corrupted as well? Its a tough one.

November 5, 2008

This is such drivel. Do marketers make false claims? Yes. This is not a novel concept. Do marketers who make false claims get punished? Yes, if people acting on these claims can injure themselves. Mostly the real culprit here is the lazy and misinformed consumer. You expect things to be handed to you, but a good consumer will do his/her homework. Quit acting like a victim.

Posted by Chuck
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