Propaganda has been used successfully and unsuccessfully all across the globe. It was used in the olden days, and it is used nowadays. But what is propaganda? In the simplest of terms, propaganda refers to information, often of a misleading nature, that is used to promote a cause, which is often political in nature. For example, propaganda has been used quite effectively during the wartime periods.
Introduction to Propaganda
In the Second World War, the Germans emphasized their power by running a propaganda campaign and often compared their armies with those of the British and other Allied nations. In almost all of the examples of propaganda and advertisements that you will find, you will see a stark similarity. Of course, there was no proof about this, but they had to use this to keep the morale up. The Russians, on the other hand, were dehumanized in German propaganda, often being depicted as animals or beasts who killed without fear and were not scared of death.
Propaganda has been used quite effectively to shape international opinion. The most effective way to run a propaganda campaign is to influence the news. By changing international opinion and showing things in a different light on the news, the reaction of the audience can be changed as well. For instance, by the end of the war, the Germans were running a heavy fake propaganda campaign to keep morale high and ensure that the war economy continued to function. Many Germans were still unaware that the Red Army was at their border, simply because they were so attuned to the news coming out of the German camp.
Card Stacking Technique
One of the most effective propaganda techniques used in this day and age is card stacking. The card stacking propaganda technique is incredibly popular in the advertising industry, and is also used by international media outlets, along with foreign governments. Kim Jong Un, the dictator of North Korea, has often employed this technique to paint the outer world as full of torture and terror, and making it seem that the government of North Korea was the only entity on the right path.
We have all seen commercials every now and then. Some commercials appeal to your softer side, while others are designed to make you laugh. The aim behind all commercials is relatively the same: provide awareness and let you know about a new product or service. More importantly, the aim is to get noticed. If you remember even for a few minutes after about the contents of the commercial, the marketers have achieved their purpose.
If you think about it, a vast majority of the commercials all try to do one thing: sell you something. It can be a product or it can be a service. To sell you something, the companies need to show that their product is better than other brands in the same industry. Some go for direct comparisons, while other marketers use more interesting and enticing ways to convince a customer.
But, before you decide to follow up on a commercial, you should verify whether the information that is being presented is actually true or not. There have been a ton of misleading commercials in the past, and some companies have even been sued because of their misleading advertisements. If the advertisement is making a biased attempt to sell a product, you should never trust that.
The term, as you can imagine, came about from the gambling world. Card players would often try to stack up their deck so that it worked out in their favor. In essence, that’s what it is all about. It is simply a method of manipulating the available information so as to make it look better than others.
Companies often use this technique by leaving out important facts, and often portraying the evidence in a different context, which obviously makes it unfair. For example, a company might do extensive research about a particular product, and list down all of its pros and cons.
But, to sway the public opinion, the company only shows the benefits of the product, and doesn’t focus on the negatives as well. On top of that, they might exaggerate the benefits of the product as well.
There was an ad that was released by a very popular pizza chain, and it claimed that customers were now getting 50% more meat and 50% more cheese, free. But, if you think about it, it’s virtually impossible to verify the statistics. If you saw the pizza itself, you couldn’t compare it with the normal ones that used to be available before. This is a very common example of card stacking, where an advertiser uses misleading claims.
The Evidence Principle
As you can see, the card stacking technique makes very effective use of the evidence principle, which means that people take evidence to be more effective and persuasive. Many companies often use testimonials to confuse an objective person. If you see too many positive testimonials and reviews of something, you will obviously feel inclined to buy it. You won’t think about the fact that there are no negative reviews at all (though now, that trend is changing).
For instance, take an example of a job interview. You are sitting before the interviewers, and they ask you a bit about yourself. What do you do? You tell them all of your good qualities, and you try to leave out as many negative ones as you can. That’s card stacking. You are simply stacking the cards in your favor, just like an advertiser does.
Another example is a package of chips. A company recently rebranded their line of chips, and this time stated that their chips were healthier than the regular chips available in the market, because they contain 30% less fat. But, they don’t mention the actual amount of fat.
So, what if the amount of fat in regular chips is so high that even a 30% deficit is still harmful? Obviously, you aren’t going to check the nutritional value of the standard packages available in the market, and that’s what the advertisers are banking on. By providing you a random stat, they will convince you to create an image in your head that their product is better than others.
Companies generally use card stacking to rebrand products and then make it seem that the newly released product is much better. However, that’s seldom the case. If you are able to look closely and read the meaning behind the words, you will be able to identify card stacking as just a means of providing misleading information to convince a person to buy their product.
It has also been used by politicians, who often compare the incumbent’s performance with their own, and try to sway public opinion. These are just a few things that you should know about this type of propaganda.