Sunday, October 12, 2014

No. 73 – November 21, 2013 - Crackers and Change in Ashtabula

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

My Dad did the grocery shopping in my family because Mom did not drive and also because Dad wanted to know what interesting new things were appearing on the shelves there. Dad was a 5%er.

By nature, people are socially conservative. This does not mean we are naturally Republicans but that most people change the choices available to them in their lives with caution. Therefore, change is slow, absent other factors.

Marketing experts know this. Since the 1920s introduced public relations, companies routinely used PR to introduce new 'products.'

It was good enough for our fathers and mothers so it is good enough for us,” slowed down sales. Campaigns to speed up change were introduced by Edward Bernays, the nephew of Sigmund Freud. It is because of him you think bacon and eggs is an American tradition. In fact, until his campaign for Beech-Nut Packing Company – producers of products from pork to bubble gum, most Americans preferred a light breakfast.

Bernays paid for articles by physicians who agreed to say a heavy breakfast was healthier for Americans. Sales rose quickly for Beech-Nut.

The percentages of people who will change any one thing they are used to doing or using is stable in terms of percentages of the population if such manipulation is not used.

This includes what we eat for breakfast and what kind of transportation we pick. Most people must see others altering what they eat and drive to be persuaded. Paying physicians or other 'experts,' even when these opinions are bogus, hastens these changes.

Any population is made up of around 5% of people who will try nearly anything once. 15% who will change if the option is growing in popularity, 60% who will opt in when everyone is doing it. The last 20% will stay in Pompeii no matter how thick the ash is, thank you very much.
Being willing to change can be life altering.

My father was a 5%er about new brands of crackers. He brought all of them home at least once. A second purchase depended on how fast we emptied the box.

Remember, bacon, smoking, fluoride in the water, a fear of communism, and wars fought to improve the bottom line of American corporations, were all changed by Bernays through public relations campaigns. The term 'banana republic' originates from United Fruit’s successful attempt to send American troops to Guatemala.

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