Commercials blast nonstop, and ads constantly reinforce, whatever a business, government, or other group wishes to beam into our brains. Several studies on Social Proof prove this hands down. One study in particular shows that the more fast food ads parents view, the more fast food their families consume and therefore the unhealthier they become. Did the ads somehow change the parents understanding that fast food was generally bad for you? No, the ads simply made the parents perceive that fast food consumption was normal in their communities (Grier et al. 2007).
So what does it mean? It means, show me an ad with someone sort of like myself, doing something you want me to do or using something you want me to buy, and show me often enough, and I may just follow. It works for fast food and hundreds, or thousands, of other products.
Does this really mean that most people are stupid? I hope not, but I’ve said for years that 90% of the population is either clueless, stupid, or both. What it really means is that most people are followers, preferring at some subconscious level to avoid making decisions and just do what everyone else is doing. You may know that fast food is not good for you, but everyone else is eating it so why not me? You may know that your child would be better off not listening to sexually charged rap music, or watching 90% of cable TV programming, but all their friends do it, so it’s OK, right?
Social proof works on smart people, not-so-smart people, and stupid people too. It’s just that smart people realize the other 90% of the population follows without questioning. Does that stop the smart ones from falling into the social proof trap? No, not always – it’s wired in pretty deep in our brains!
So in effect, politics and a lot of businesses rely on stupid people to just follow whatever they beam into our heads. Repeat it often enough and it becomes real or at least close enough to make enough people buy it, believe it, or vote for it.
But, since YOU are reading MY blog, YOU are NOT one of the 90%, YOU are one of the SMART 10%! So you are thinking: I need more testimonials, I need video of people consuming my products, I need letters from happy customers, and I need more social proof that my product will give them what they want, solve their problems, and make them beautiful, smart, attractive, successful, wealthy, and do it overnight while they sleep!
Until next time… BE SMART!