Ernest Dichter on Command and Persuasion

A Jewish refugee from Vienna, Ernest Dichter was one of the first people to study consumer behavior in the marketplace. He invented the focus group and purportedly told Mattel to give Barbie breasts. The Naval War College asked him to study the problem of command versus persuasion. He outlined the results in his 1960 book The Strategy of Desire

“Recently persuasion was practiced with drivers in New Jersey by painting yellow stripes on sections of the roads aimed at slowing drivers at toll-booth approaches. The yellow stripes, which can been seen easily at night and in foggy weather, are arranged to give the effect of closing in on a driver. They are intended to help alert motorists who are going too fast as they near a toll stop. The stripes, painted progressively closer at toll approaches, give the impression that a vehicle is accelerating if the driver fails to slow down. Command is always faster as a method of persuasion, it is more efficient; and what makes it really dangerous is that it often is much more comfortable. Many young democracies have faltered because people prefer to be told what to do rather than to make up their own minds. Persuasion, on the other hand, is slower, more burdensome, but at the same time also more permanent and healthier. Lowering of prices, special sales, etc. in the merchandising field correspond to command. Building of the personality of a company, the creation of brand loyalty, are closer to real persuasion and are much slower but at the same time also much more permanent.”

Ernest Dichter, The Strategy of Desire, Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1960.

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The Wisdom of Mick Mars

File:Mick Mars 2005.jpgMötley Crüe’s 2002 oral history The Dirt deserves its notoriety. Gentle readers are forced to reconsider the uses of Christmas trees, cat litter boxes, and hotel room telephones. Lead guitarist Mick Mars’ chapters were all highlights. 

“I was born B.A.D.–Bob Alan Deal.’

“Everyone likes to look for aliens, but I think we are the aliens. We’re the descendants of the troublemakers on other planets, just like Australia was a prison to England… This is where they dropped us off. We’re the insane fucking people from somewhere else, just a bunch of trash.”

“I question a lot of things and form my own opinions. They’re just as valid as a rocket scientist’s or anyone else’s. Who says you have to believe something because you read it in a book or saw pictures. Who is it that gets to say, ‘That’s the way it is’?”

“To quote Andy Warhol, ‘Everybody has fifteen minutes of fame.’ To quote myself, ‘I wish they didn’t.'”

“Have you ever had anyone call the police or security or security or your landlord on you for playing your music too loud? How can such a beautiful thing be pissed on so much? If you’re at home playing a good album, and some nosy-ass neighbor claims he can’t hear his TV, why does your music have to suffer so he can watch his TV? I say, ‘Too bad for the neighbor.'”

“People who have had near-death experiences always say they enter a tunnel, and at the end of the tunnel there is a light. I like to think that when you die, you go through the tunnel, and when you get to the other end, you are reborn. The tunnel is the birth canal, and the light at the end of the tunnel is the hospital maternity ward, where your new life awaits. you.”

“When you get older, you worry about death and your own mortality a lot more than when you’re younger. However, with cloning (which I’m sure has already been done with humans in secret), we’re just one step away from scientific resurrection for the chosen ones (that is, the rich).”

“Grown men who cry in the middle of a fucking crisis will die, because you can bet your ass that the enemy won’t be crying. They’ll be killing your weak ass while you cry!”

“Every person in the world has good qualities and shortcomings. And I guess we started making the mistake of focusing on the shortcomings of each person instead of looking at what their best asset was and what they contributed to the band.”

“And speaking of dinosaurs, what yuppie asshole decided that they should be depicted in all these bright, brilliant colors? Was it Martha Stewart? Clearly, we have reconstructed dinosaurs from bones, so there is no evidence that they were the colors of kids’ toys.”

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that overconfidence is the same thing as arrogance.”

Excerpted from Motley Crue: The Dirt, Harper Collins, 2001.

Photo: Alec MacKellaig

Mrs. Sidney Sheldon’s Amazon Review of Robert Wagner’s “Pieces of my Heart”

* Very disappointment in you RJ
By A. Sheldon on April 18, 2010
“RJ,
Knowing you since 1981, I was so saddened and surprised and deeply hurt about all of the fiction in your book. The part that hurt the most is what you said about my husband Sidney Sheldon. I have a copy of his original script … ‘Double Twist’ and an original copy of the ‘Hart to Hart’ script. Basically, the changes in the script are the names of the characters and adding the delightful dog, Freeway. In Sidney‘s ‘Double Twist’, the story takes place at the Golden whatever spa … just as it does in Hart to Hart … the character of Sylvia is still the same. The man going over the cliff is the same. The car chase scene between ‘Jonathan’ and ‘Jennifer’ … only in ‘Twist’ their names are ‘Alex’ and ‘Penelope’. The character of Max is called Taylor in ‘Double Twist’. The story is almost identical. For you to say it was trash and say it was about two men living together with a bed coming down in the living room is outrageous and extremely hurtful not only to me … but to Sidney‘s daughter Mary, and his two granddaughters, Elizabeth and Rebecca. Sidney had the idea of the Thin Man series in Double Twist .. I have the original script, as I said, and will gladly print it for all to see alongside the original script of Hart to Hart for everyone to see how identical they are. I thought we were friends. You have been nearly lifelong friends with my brother in law, Roderick Mann and friends with my sister Anastasia for over 30 years. You were extremely wonderful to my daughter, Kimberly, who was in 26 Hart to Harts, before she was killed by a drunk driver. Natalie and I were childhood friends and she used to parade me around at the studio and say she was my sister, since we looked so much alike. I have always had so much respect as an actor for your craft and as a friend, but for you to so unfairly demean Sidney, a man who was your friend, and who did not write what you claimed he did, and for you to put it in the spin you did in your book … which you also have so many other partial truths … which I shant go into here, out of kindness to you, since they do not deal directly with me or my family. As stated, I am angry, hurt and ashamed of you. Sidney is not on this Earth anymore to defend himself against your untruths, but as his wife … I am … Shame on you RJ … you should retitle your book ‘Pieces of the Truth’ instead of ‘Pieces of my Heart’. You have deeply offended and hurt a number of Sidney‘s friends, family and fans that do know the truth in this matter.
Most sincerely,
Mrs. Sidney Sheldon”

Kingsley Amis sees “Beverly Hills Cop II”

Image resultIn 1985, Kingsley Amis was having difficulty finding a publisher for his novel Stanley and the Women “following pressure from those who judged it an outright incitement to misogyny.” “I was outraged” Christopher Hitchens told Martin Amis’ biographer Richard Bradford. “It was an extraordinary case of censorship and I was responsible for placing it with Summit.”

Christopher Hitchens: “Anyway, Kingsley phoned, thanked me and assured me that he owed me a night out when I was next in London. Well, he kept his word and it was a most bizarre evening, in keeping, I later learned, with what had become his routine. Drinks at Primrose Hill followed by more at the Garrick–predominantly whiskies–then a film before dinner. He insisted that we went to see Beverly Hills Cop II, perhaps one of the worst films ever made. Martin and I sat transfixed by its wretchedness but weirdly Kinglsey was rocking back and forth with laughter. During the meal he continued, remarking on how this scene or the other had worked so well and again shedding mirthful tears at the recollection. I was confused. Was he genuinely impressed, amused? That seemed preposterous. Or was he involved in some kind of extended act of self-caricature? Was he trying to provoke us?”

Richard Bradford, Martin Amis The Biography, Constable, 2011.

Daniel Defoe’s Grave

In Bunhill Fields, London. The inscription on the memorial reads:

“Daniel Defoe, Born 1661 Died 1731 Author of Robinson Crusoe

This monument is the result of an appeal in the CHRISTIAN WORLD newspaper to the boys and girls of England for fund to place a suitable memorial upon the grave of Daniel Defoe. It represents the united contributions of seventeen hundred persons. Septb 1870.”

Photograph: Copyright Justin Griffiths-Wiliams

Joan Crawford in Africa

In 1957, the film star Joan Crawford toured the continent of Africa with her husband, Alfred Steele, the CEO of the Pepsi-Cola Company. She recalled their trip in her masterpiece My Way of Life. ‘Africa was,’ she wrote, ‘My baptism in Pepsi, and I have a great affection for that continent.’

“I remember, on that first trip, we arrived in Portuguese East Africa at seven in the morning. As we were approaching for a landing I said, ‘I can’t put on any makeup, Alfred. It’s just too hot. And nobody’s going to be there anyway. They don’t know me here.’

As we taxied in I saw in amazement that there were twenty thousand people in that little airport. ‘Who’s on board?’ I asked. ‘Who are they waiting for?’

He grinned. ‘You, darling!’

 

 …During the African tour we spent a night at Treetops, that famous hotel built high in the trees in the middle of a game preserve where Elizabeth II was staying when she learned that she had become Queen of England. Way out there in the wilderness, it’s one of the most luxurious places in the world. The food can compete with that of ’21’ in New York.’
Joan Crawford, My Way of Life, Simon and Schuster, 1971.

 

 

 

Marilyn Monroe’s Affair with RFK Revealed

Fred Lawrence Guile published his biography of Marilyn Monroe in 1969, one year after Robert Kennedy had been assassinated during his presidential run. Norma Jean: The Story of Marilyn Monroe revealed the film star’s affair with the politician, but not his identity.

“Marilyn did not remain completely in seclusion as she had during her similar break with Hollywood and the studio in 1955. Then she had not only withdrawn form the public eye, but socially as well. She had chosen to be alone to reassess her life and to recover her strength. This time she preferred privacy because she was involved with a married man. He was no in the industry; he was an Easterner with few ties on the coast. He had come West mainly to work out the details of a film production of a literary property in which he had had a hand and to escape the pressures of his work as a lawyer and public servant.

It anyone was to blame for the relationship that developed during his California stay, it was his host* who was connected with films and knew Marilyn enough to realize how vulnerable and exposed she was that summer… For the attorney, his holiday on the West Coast was a lark, a vacation from his wife and children. He and Marilyn were discreet, almost never venturing beyond the stuccoed wall surrounding the friend’s beachhouse…

…Their relationship had nowhere to go. Publicity about the affair might destroy all his chances for an important political career. How sensitive he was to Marilyn’s precarious emotional state is difficult ot assess. Within days of their meeting he and Marilyn became nearly constant companions, a relationship interrupted only by his flights to New York or Washington when called on some business that could not be resolved over the telephone.

*Likely Peter Lawford, a friend of Marilyn’s and the husband of RFK’s sister Pat.

Norma Jean: The Story of Marilyn Monroe, Fred Lawrence Guiles, 1969, W. H. Allen & Co. Ltd.