Recently I was discussing with a friend how ridiculous some of the current forms of advertising and marketing have become and he related a story to me about a paper shredder company that completely turned around their financial situation from being on the brink of bankruptcy to making massive annual profits after adopting a fear-based marketing platform. They utilised tactics such as imagery of people stealing confidential information from homes and businesses, statistics of identity theft and stories of people whose lives were ‘ruined’ after they failed to shred their documents that contained sensitive financial information, never recovering from this ‘attack by spies’ lurking in the shadows, ending up homeless and destitute.
The need for security of sensitive documents in this day and age of rampant identity theft notwithstanding, the ever-growing use of fear-based advertising and marketing feels to me to be an unhealthy approach at best, and one that perpetuates the emotions and reactions in people that only serve to separate us as a humanity.
Taking a closer look at the manipulative and imposing tactics used by fear-based marketing, there seems to be three main components that are predominantly used to gain more profit at the expense of people’s well-being.
Consider one such online article ‘How to Sell Using Fear’ (1) which outlines three concepts including perceived vulnerability, which presents a problem and incites fear (How likely is this to hurt me?), perceived severity (How badly is this problem going to hurt me?) and efficacy, which is critical in enabling fear to sell and can be described as the consumer’s perceived ability to handle the proposed threat, assuming that if they don’t use the product being offered, pain and suffering will ensue.
And now consider that… All three contribute to the generating of FEAR. In fact, many businesses build their marketing around these concepts.
“Lee Dunn, of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business, found that people who feel afraid or alone experience an unusually high attachment to the brands closest to them.” (2)
There are literally thousands of examples of this type of marketing out there, from the commercial showing a home infested with nasty cockroaches and termites, the images of starving and emaciated African children that some people even convert into emotions of shame and guilt for the abundance they have in their own lives, to the myriad of fad diets and exercise regimes touted to ‘save’ people from getting fat and thereby being rejected as not attractive. The insurance industry is also rife with these types of ‘doomsday’ scenarios that are used to incite anxiety and a drive for security at all costs.
There is a predominance of this fear-invoking technique in politics as well, as in George Bush’s use of claims of ‘weapons of mass destruction’ in Iraq and the fear of terrorists overtaking the U.S. to gain public support for military invasions of both Iraq and Afghanistan, which have resulted in millions of deaths and untold human atrocities over the last 17 years in both of those countries, bringing more social unrest and chaos there than existed before those wars and ultimately the recruiting of even more terrorists. Or the current U.S. president Donald Trump’s demands to build a multi-billion-dollar wall along the southern U.S. border to keep out illegal immigrants from Mexico and South America because he believes they are taking jobs from Americans and are on average criminals and dangerous, when every single actual statistic shows these claims to be categorically false.
The fact that people tend to seek out connections with others when facing a scary situation, and that there are companies capitalising on this, brought a sense of sadness that we as a humanity have resorted to taking advantage of an innate nature of seeking connection with others, converting it into a manipulative means to gain profit through greed and a complete lack of compassion.
A couple of years ago I had a direct experience with this type of fear inducing advertising being utilised by a ‘sophisticated’ cyber hacking, identity theft group. While on a popular real estate website (commonly perceived to be safe from these schemes), a pop-up box appeared saying that my computer’s firewall had been compromised and that there were only minutes left before all my computer’s confidential files (which would include all financial documents and banking records) would be available to the myriad of foreign hackers attacking my computer. They provided a ‘Microsoft’ tech-support number to call in order to clean my computer of any viruses, spyware/adware and re-establish my already damaged computer’s firewall. Unfortunately, I allowed my mind to run wild with fear, lost connection to my body and thus failed to feel the unlawful intention behind the words of the ‘technician’, falling for this scam hook, line and sinker. I allowed this group of hackers remote access to my computer, paid them $700 to ‘protect me’ and therefore exposed all our sensitive data, resulting in a major ordeal involving the cancellation and renewing of all our credit cards and bank accounts –– filing an identity theft case only after realising later that I had been tricked.
My wife, however, felt and discerned for herself that it was a hacking attempt from the beginning, but because I had already allowed myself to be overcome with the perceived vulnerability and severity of the threat, I was not willing to listen to her advice at the time, and my belief that they were indeed there to help and had the means to do so (the efficacy component) drove me to go ahead with their proposal.
In retrospect, if I would have merely taken a moment to close my eyes and breathe gently (as in The Gentle Breath Meditation™), I would have been able to feel the same falseness in the whole thing that my loving partner was attempting to portray to me.
Whatever the motivation, to utilise a fear-inducing form of advertising for personal or financial gain – be it greed, a sense of control over others when not felt in one’s own life, or the various pressures imposed by upper management within every stratum of business to get results and increase profits ‘at any cost’ – we need to take a closer look at this phenomenon for the harm that it imposes on society. By inducing a whole range of damaging emotions that lead to people making decisions out of a fear of missing out on something (as in a one-day sale that is about to end), or being harmed in some way, these fear-based tactics only serve to separate us, bring a disharmony to the human body by all the stress that they trigger, and cause us to see the world as a threatening and scary place, which makes us contract rather than seeing the beauty in the world and within people that is there to be connected to when we drop the fear and pick up the love that is there inside us all.
I have experienced that By using the Gentle Breath Meditation™ or other powerful body awareness techniques such as Esoteric Yoga, these methods can form a cornerstone of clairsentience (the ability to read energy) whereby we can break through the trickery that is used via imagery to influence people’s decisions in the advertising and marketing industry.
We have placed such a predominant emphasis on our vision telling us what is the truth of a given thing presented to us that we are easily swayed one way or the other, especially by the use of fear, which can trigger an almost instantaneous response towards protection and security that many times results in people making decisions they later regret when they allow themselves to feel the truth of the matter. So, returning to the wisdom of our body as the divinely sensitive instrument that it is (imagine for a moment how a blind person can feel if someone is telling the truth or not) will certainly go a long way in calling out and not falling for the illusion of truth that pictures can impose upon us when we rely on our eyes alone.
When we begin to trust the signals that are coming from our most invaluable ally (our body) and let go of any complicated mental techniques to deduce the truth of a matter, we can not only avoid being hoodwinked by unscrupulous practices, but also open up a whole new way of approaching our lives, using the intelligence of our inner heart to lead us in a more settled and knowing manner rather than being controlled like a puppet by our minds when they are manipulated by fear.
- The Daily Egg. (2019). How To Sell Using Fear. [online] Available at: https://www.crazyegg.com/blog/how-to-sell-using-fear/ [Accessed 14 May 2019].
- (2019). Does fear-based marketing actually work? [online] Available at: https://www.leadboxer.com/blog/fear-based-marketing/ [Accessed 14 May 2019].
By Michael Goodhart, Aircraft Technician, B.A. Psychology, Lover of people, Nature and the philosophy of Universal Life, North Carolina, USA
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This is a brilliant article exposing a really disgusting aspect of human life. The fact that this kind of strategy is not only accepted but promoted is so awful. Where have we strayed to that it is okay and encouraged to take advantage of one another?
What an amazing article, Michael. Thank you for exposing the rot behind fear-mongering tactics of not only the scams, but also the advertising industry, charity (fear of others suffering or for you of being perceived as unkind or a ‘bad’ person for not caring), government’s campaigns (fear of missing out of special tax or business schemes or certain privileges if you vote for one candidate and not the other), and even health campaigns to name a few.
Since I work in the healthcare industry, it breaks my heart to admit that we have felt the need to incite or invoke fears in people in order to change their behaviours towards more healthy choices by warning them about the dangers of their current usual go-tos including excessive alcohol consumptions, cigarette smoking or superfluous sugar consumption. In that we feel justified in shocking these people into what we consider ‘reality’ and hope that they will see the light and thus change their way of living. The problems are that this tactic doesn’t always work because people respond incredibly differently. Some reject the refute the messages as nonsensical or trivial or not applicable to them and thus ignore these messages and continue their usual way. Some are so scared out of their mind they actually block out the messages and dive deeper into these behaviours and choices because that’s their way of coping with the world. Some are so afraid and hypochondriac that they take up not only these messages but also any other messages about their health – many contain even worse fear-mongering tactics and incredulous information, urging the customers to buy expensive products that they don’t need or simply don’t work – thus stop discerning what’s true and factual and what’s not. Some may see what the messages are trying to convey and review their lifestyle choices but still on the background of fear of dying or hurting their families if they die, etc. and etc. The last type of reactions are what the strategy is hoping for but it doesn’t realize that by doing so, it’s still adding some sort of psychological stress to the body and also the actions my be recognized as ‘better choices’, the root cause of the bad choices are never addressed and thus people can just replace these choices with something else that are still not truly loving and still wreak havoc to others and the world one way or another while their problems/issues remain largely untouched. People shall perceive themselves as more educated or more health-conscious or worse, ‘better’, for parading around in this healthy lifestyle while ‘only occasionally consuming alcohol’, watching porn, arguing and fighting with their partners, etc. which are all the ills of the our society and the world. It is not truly healthy to not listen to your body. Athletes still die from cardiovascular problems. Doctors still take drugs. Personal trainers still consume dairy products that are produced from animal cruelty. The more we dig deep, the more we see how everything in life is interlinked and connected.
This aforementioned connection and intertwining of lives should be the source of our responsibilities in making decisions and choices, not out of fears but out of love. Knowing that by aligning our body and purpose and life to a particular source of wisdom and truth, these will flow through the arteries and veins of our connections with the world and deliver the same fluid of light which will transform all lives for the better. The opposite is also true if we opt for rotting corruption, we will then continue contributing to the ugly fate which is the current state of the world. But all steps start always with us first returning to our souls and ourselves.
I find what you are saying Long very interesting
‘Some are so scared out of their mind they actually block out the messages and dive deeper into these behaviours and choices because that’s their way of coping with the world. ‘
I can sense this way of dealing with the world, I can feel that there is an energy that wants to run the world on chaos because then it has control because we do not want to believe just how much we are controlled and manipulated, so to block our innate knowing we delve deeper into our well known patterns and behaviours.
The news is currently full of the latest Coronavirus, I personally feel that the media are fear mongering to sell their news feeds and newspapers. Or is there an energy feeding them that wants to keep us in fear so that we do not look too closely at the reality we live in to see that there are huge cracks in the so called ‘paradise’ we sold out to.
We are constantly receiving information of all kind. The way to read it without it affecting us is connecting with our body, deeply so. Then we can discern its quality and stop any potential manipulation. Yes, the Gentle Breath meditation is definitely a great tool in this process of recovering our clarity
Thanks Michael for this blog and exposing the manipulation and undermining of the integrity and awareness people naturally have and live. I can see more clearly the formula of fear used and the ‘grooming’ that takes place short and long term to narrow peoples confidence within themselves. Connecting with our gentle breath and allowing space is a beautiful antidote always available to support us in all situations.
Absoulutely Michael, whole body intelligence through our ‘cardio-centric, esoteric, Inner-most-heart, essence or Soul’ (all one and the same) opens the door to our innate wisdom we had as a child.
I had an experience recently with an electrician I had called to the house. He fixed the problem and told me that the light had been wired incorrectly hence why it was not working, but it was said in such a way that if this particular light was wired incorrectly then perhaps the whole house was incorrectly wired and so there was a potential for an electrical fire. I could feel by what he was saying that he was trying to engage me with a fear that the house was at risk and that it needed to be have a risk assessment on the wiring. I felt this because I had stopped to breath gently by using the Universal Medicine gentle breath technique and just felt what had been said. It didn’t feel right; I could feel how the electrician was trying to engage me in fear of the consequences of the house burning down. I decided to not take up his offer of checking the whole house thanked him for his time and paid him his dues. By stopping to breath gently our bodies can sense the surrounding energy and we will know a truth from a lie.
Beautiful example Mary of the power of stillness bringing more clarity and awareness to what is attempting to disturb it from the outside world. I am reminded of another great teaching of Serge Benhayon that essentially states that if something brings settlement to your body, it is of truth, whereas if something is bringing raciness or disturbance, it is not.
My attention was immediately caught by the phrase “security at all costs” whch made me realise that seeking the utmost security to keep us “safe” is an impossible task and indeed is a mental invasion and makes safety even less certain as we contract from life and are more unable to function in it, which cuts out the whole benefit of taking risks which expands and grows us into more able human beings. Those are the costs of these fear induced emotonal reactions that allow us to be led into being manipulated to pay dearly for our lack of discernment.
Often, as you say Michael, the TIME factor is the final pressure that brings up the panic and makes you hit that button, wheras giving yourself a moment in SPACE by returning to observing your breath (which froze in the panic) allows us the SPACE to remove the “hoodwink” and clear “the wool from our eyes”.
We’re scared of so much. We’re scared of being on our own, we’re scared of being in a crowd, we’re scared of getting sick, we’re scared of talking in front of people, we’re scared that things can get worse, we’re scared of things being too good, we’re scared of getting fat, we’re scared of people from other countries; we feel so much fear about so many things, fear racks through our bodies as a matter of course.
Michael what a great blog, thank you, its educated me about how fear based advertising works (wow, they have a formula too, how corrupt); and, it’s opened up my own awareness on where I may be purchasing things out of fear, for example, buying clothing because I don’t want to be rejected.
It is also not really advertising when you make people think they need your services when in fact they may not. This is plainly fooling people just to get their money. The way we use words hides what we are truly doing in many instances.
We as a human race could hold relationships sacred, with what occupies the space between two people being based on equality, integrity, care and love. Even a sales/customer situation is a relationship, and what is there between those two sides need not be manipulation, dishonesty, or barely concealed agendas. Surely in a marriage or family relationship for example, we can feel these things and see they are not true and do not belong, business relationships should not be any different.
“Surely in a marriage or family relationship for example, we can feel these things and see they are not true and do not belong” uhm Melinda I would say that we can feel these things (manipulation, dishonesty and barely concealed agendas) but on such a deep and buried level that most of us are oblivious of them. For all of my adult life I have lived with these things as part of ALL and every relationship that I have ever had and yet was not consciously aware of them until several years ago.
Lieke, I hate this type of selling getting people to buy something they may not actually need or want and unfortunately it is a tactic that the company a friend of mine works for has adopted recently because of the pressure from the parent company to make a profit no matter what. This has caused a stress within the sales team because it goes against all their instincts on building a solid customer relationship.
Lieke Campbell this is why feeling the energy first plays the all important role, if we stop to feel energy first then the words are exposed.
There is no substitute connection to our body and soul. Without this we’ll always seek outwardly and yet be perennially anxious about being left high and dry. It’s a con we trick ourselves with first before anyone else gets involved.
Driving to work today I saw a massive advertisement of a film soon to be shown and across it had the words ‘You need to see this film’. My reflection was that there was desperation in telling us, the public, that we ‘need’ to go and see it. No effort had been made to use clever marketing or words. It seems much more is becoming transparent which is great as it means humanity gets to feel and see what is truly going on .. no more smoke and mirrors everything is being revealed.
Emotions play absolute havoc with our ability to read the truth of a situation, in fact once an emotion has come into our body it makes it impossible to read what’s going on clearly. And so getting someone to feel anything, be that happiness, guilt, hope, sadness, fear etc is a great way to engineer them into doing something (buying something, donating money, joining a club, doing an activity etc). The antidote is to stay connected to our bodies and keep the course that we’re steering ‘steady as she goes’.
This is so true Alexis, and explains why I was not able to feel that I was being tricked by the scammer, because I immediately went into fear of losing something. To back track it further, if I would have built a foundation of reconnecting to my body (and this to the Divine instrument that is the ultimate antenna for Truth) I would have been able to discern what was truly at play, as my partner certainly had done so astutely!
Fear-based advertising, i.e. anything for a buck, to put it bluntly, is the exact opposite of Energetic Integrity and Energetic Responsibility. Will there come a point when, as a society, we will refuse to be treated like that and take our money elsewhere? After all, there is no supply without demand.
Let’s do it Gabriele. Let’s start talking with our feet. And in so doing expose the unacceptable that has been accepted.
This fear based practises can only be there because we are looking for safety and security while in fact this does not exist. You cannot buy safety, you cannot buy security. You can only have a settlement in yourself that does hold you whatever is happening, the settlement you can find when you connect to your body and inner heart Michael Goodhart is talking about.
This morning I was curious about the energy behind something and yet I could not come to the answer. Reading this has brought back simplicity. Connect to the body and the awareness is there. Thank you.
I read recently that a USA president some years back ordered attacks on a Middle East country as a diversion for his impending impeachment. And interestingly it looks as though the same tactics are being employed again with a different USA president facing impeachment.
It’s interesting to see how some people want to remain in power whatever the cost to the people and they peddle fear and insecurity to get their desire. They seem to be using scare mongering tactics as a way of staying in power. Never mind the fall out from playing a game of such high stakes to the rest of the world. How have we allowed this to happen?
We’ve allowed it to happen by aligning to an energy that’s not true, once you align to this energy then it opens up the doors for the most horrendous things to happen but we have to take responsibility for opening the doors in the first place, because it is us that have, all of us.
Funny you should say this as I never even knew a previous president had done this but a few days ago it was really clear to me why the current president ordered an attack and that was as you say to cause a diversion away from him. It makes sense, those sort of people currently in ‘power’ through whatever means will do anything to hold onto it yet as we know everything is energy and everything we do has a ripple effect that not only goes out to everyone else but of course .. comes back to us.
Fear-based con’s work because of all our harboured hidden insecurities. The vast number of people that are almost crippled by fear, after they have had their homes burgled is common. When we read the energy of real and perceived attacks It can disarm the attack and allow us to feel what it is trying to do, pushing our buttons. Is there anyone that has not been caught out by a clever con? “Fool me once, shame on thee; fool me twice, shame on me”.
The craving for security, especially within the home, can make us vulnerable to attack.
We all crave feeling ‘safe’ because most of us don’t, we don’t feel safe. We feel vulnerable and unprotected, we feel ‘out on a limb’ but those feelings aren’t true, they’re brought into being by the human aspect of us. However when we tap back into our eternal true nature then all of our fear goes because at the end of the day what can possibly hurt the eternal aspect of God, which is what in truth we all are?
While I do not love what you are talking about, I love that you are talking about it AND how you are talking about it. I haven’t fallen for this particular scam, but ‘they’ have had a go at getting me with this one. Like your wife, I could feel that it just wasn’t Fair Dinkum as we say in Australia. Although it did cause me to take my computer down to the technician and have a clean, which wasn’t a bad thing but did cost me money. It is articles like this that call out the evil of fear-based advertising and alert to people to it perhaps saving people their money but more importantly saving them the stress of such an event. Thank you!
Completely awesome, Michael, telling it like it is! All these kinds of manipulation need to be exposed, and we must all get cracking to take the blinkers off our own ears and eyes, start re-learning how to tune into our own bodies and sense of truth instead of being instant emotion puppets. And instead of allowing the supply of the manipulation by actually demanding it with our irresponsibility and taste for drama.
This is one of the reasons I so appreciate Serge Benhayon because through the teaching of Universal Medicine he is exposing the rot we all live with and asking us to take a moment to take off the blinkers and as you say Dianne tune into the wealth of knowledge that our bodies hold to discern the truth of any situation rather than being manipulated by an energy that keeps us trapped in fear.