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Book of the Week: Buy.ology by Martin Lindstrom


I once read about the early writing days of René Lodge Brabazon Raymond, who adopted the noms de plume James Hadley Chase and Raymond Marshall. As the story goes, his first book, No orchids for Miss Blandish, was a sales failure. So, he went to see the King of Porn, Hugh Hefner, who advised him to drop a photo of a semi-clad woman on the cover of the reprint and watch the sales figures. He did, and the rest, including subsequent covers of his 90 or so books, is history. The Brit undoubtedly the King of Thrillers in Europe. 

Now, the essence of this anecdote is to illustrate the argument that sex sells. Indeed people buy for sex, because of sex. If in doubt, ask Hefner or Chase. And so, I ran into this book, “buy-ology” by Martin Lindstrom, a Marketing guru, which seeks to expose the the “truth and lies about why we buy.” 

As a tireless student of Marketing Communications, I have never stopped wondering why people buy or what motivates people to buy what they buy. Of course, people have needs to meet but then, why would they buy Coca Cola instead of Pespi or why would they buy Airtel instead of MTN? My curiosity got even even curiouser when I went into the fashion business. I still wonder why people are buying my clothes instead of other clothiers in town. And so, with the array of choices at our disposal, why do we choose one rather than the other. 

There are all sorts of reasons, truth and lies, as Lindstrom describes them-and that's what buy.ology is on about. Does sex really sell, as we saw with James Hadley Chase’s books? Does, subliminal advertising still surround us despite the ban on tobacco advertising? Can “cool” brands like IPods trigger our mating instincts? Can other senses-smell, touch and sound-be so powerful as to physically arouse us when we see a product? Do companies copy from the world of religion to capture a share of our wallets? These are some of the questions Lindstrom  explores in this book-loaded with exciting stories from Malboro, Nokia, Calvin Klien, Ford and American Idol. 

Hopefully, I will be done with the 240-page book in a couple of days and get wiser as we prepare for Christmas sales.
Book of the Week: Buy.ology by Martin Lindstrom Book of the Week: Buy.ology by Martin Lindstrom Reviewed by Emeka Oparah on Tuesday, September 06, 2016 Rating: 5

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