Summary of Brandwashed

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Brandwashed book summary

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Don’t worry about the hard sell or even the soft sell. Worry about the subversive sell: how brands track, record and analyze your every move, both online and in stores. Today, companies track data from your devices, record which products you view and purchase online, note where and when you use loyalty cards, and mine social media sites to learn your preferences. They exploit that information to seduce you into buying, “brandwashing” you and your neighbors without your knowledge or consent. In this eye-opening text, branding expert Martin Lindstrom spills insider secrets with glee. At times, though, his wealth of supportive research makes his shocking-but-true revelations more confusing than clarifying. Even so, getAbstract recommends his insights to all consumers everywhere, to marketers who seek to reach them, and to students of both.

About the Author

Martin Lindstrom, founder and chair of Buyology Inc. and the author of the bestseller Buyology, contributes to Time magazine, the Harvard Business Review and the “Today” show.



In 1957, Vance Packard’s groundbreaking book The Hidden Persuaders revealed how marketers manipulate consumers into making purchases. Modern advertisers regard those long-ago efforts at psychological maneuvering as child’s play. With new technologies and advances in behavioral psychology, companies know more about the human mind and emotional triggers than ever before. The assault on your buying habits begins even before you leave the womb.

Prenatal Persuader

Many of the products you choose as an adult stem from preferences you formed in early childhood. Throughout your life, you reach for the brand of toothpaste, peanut butter or cleaning spray you knew growing up. Marketers understand this phenomenon and try to hook you when you’re in utero.

Fetuses hear sounds outside the mother’s body. They show an attraction to the mother’s voice, and the music mom is hearing soothes them. This bonding behavior seems normal and sweet, until you introduce the idea of product jingles. Newborn babies react positively to the theme songs of television shows. Musical tastes take shape prior to birth.

Humans develop preferences for ...

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