Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Understanding political propaganda and how some get influenced by it

(extracts from the book 'Decoding Communication' by N. Chandramouli)

Nature of Propaganda

Propaganda can be defined as 'a debased system of persuasion which boasts neither impartiality nor accuracy, substitutes emotional catch-phrases for reasons, puts results before principles, and success before truth'. Since the political rhetoric in India is rife with blatant use of negative propaganda, it will be relevant to understand these techniques to protect oneself from becoming a victim. 

The use of propaganda in conflict and war has always been prominent, when outcomes could mean a significant gain or loss of power, status, wealth and life. Many nations, cultures and political parties have used propaganda to exercise a intense measure of influence over people. This blog becomes more relevant because of the government's reaction to the current Punjab farmer protests, and earlier CAA-NRC, and there has been an unprecedented use of propaganda in both cases to exercise a similar dominance public opinion. 

Propaganda achieves its result by altering the message content, context and association. Though it is not intrinsically wrong or right, if it is used with wrong intent, it can cause enormous harm. Knowing how to decipher propaganda is crucial to our understanding of the political bombast being used today, as it makes its way into the mainstream. 

Propaganda techniques used in politics

Name Calling

Name Calling is more than just a form of expressing anger or dissent and is way of creating cognitive bias within a social environment. When derisive labels are used by political groups, it may be overtly stated as being done to preserve the ‘values’ or 'culture' of society, by expecting to ostracize the non-conformists. 

Name Calling, however, is a two-edged sword in politics since society treats the use of derogatory language for any adversary with disdain. It may stain the object of Name Calling, but the subject also gets a highly negative shade. If a large number of the polity opposes the Name Calling , the negative colour of the those using this technique gets exposed and fully visible. 

Pinpointing the Enemy

The foremost of learned behaviors is one which relates to enemies is that of community preservation - action against a 'common' enemy placed as the common responsibility of all the individuals in the community. Political propaganda users divide the sides into an enemy-friend situation and usually an 'invisible' enemy is presented. 

Pinpointing the Enemy in politics can be seen when action is taken against a supposedly 'hostile' nation making citizens believe it is justified to vote to secure common interests like protecting one's country. 


Assertion is a simple propaganda technique when an enthusiastic or energetic statement is presented as a fact, though it may not necessarily be true. It almost implies that the statement requires no support and should be accepted without question. When it comes from authorities of power or stature, it gets believed and accepted by more readily. It goes with the assumption that if someone in power says something, then it should be believed.

In politics, though Assertion works to its end in some cases, it also leaves the source more vulnerable, leaving them open to stringent scrutiny. The politician can often be a victim of his own Assertion as can be seen in the current election situation, when many a political personality who were accustomed to using Assertion with impunity, are now getting subject to inspection, checks and scrutiny. 


Humans tend to conform to the normative group behavior. In Propaganda, this is used in a technique called Bandwagon, and subtly appeals to the herd-survival instinct using the ‘or you’ll be left out’ argument. The closer the social group is to the person’s externally expressed views, the more effect the Bandwagon technique has.

Sometimes, selective deterrents are used for non-conformist behavior to further strengthen the Bandwagon effectWhen politicians ask citizens are asked to give up individual rights or benefits by showing a larger, social betterment, Bandwagon effect can be seen in action. Even socially and morally unjust laws and statutes try to sell this idea for greater consensus using this argument. 


Cardstacking, or selective omission, involves presenting information that is positive to an idea and omitting information contrary, but critical to it. This technique is used in all forms of political communication and when presented by a highly placed source, seems more believable.

The most effective of political outcomes of Cardstacking are when a part of the information presented is completely true and of unquestionable veracity. In such cases using political Cardstacking omits just a little something pertinent, the disclosing of which may change the interpretation of the ‘facts’ presented. The partial truths regularly seen in election rhetoric, is an attempt at this omission by choice, which can make a voter take a wrong decision due to partial 'facts' absorbed. 

Glittering Generalities

In politics, Glittering Generalities technique uses words that appeal to highly valued social concepts like security, collective pride, country, freedom, honor, glory, among others. Such words demand the citizen's approval without thinking, simply because a meaningful and unquestionable social concept is involved. 

Glittering Generalities tries to build on concepts of self-sacrifice, loyalty, resolute faith to show allegiance to the 'larger good' and are therefore get considered worthy by unsuspecting voters. When some political parties of the day use nationalistic issues like 'saving the country from division' are attempting this propaganda technique on voters. 

Lesser of Two Evils

Research on human choices shows that a smaller consideration set allows easier understanding and simpler processing. The "lesser of the two evils" technique uses ease of comparison as its base, and tries to convince the voters of an idea by presenting it as the least offensive option. Also called false-dilemma, this method presents only two either-or options, when in truth there are several other options available.

When some political parties try to project the message 'What is the alternative choice?', they are subtly using this propaganda technique to negate the existence of any opposition. 
Plain Folks

The Plain Folks technique is an attempt by the political propagandist to convince the public that their life is similar to that of the common people and thus attempts to seeks their empathy. This sense of 'common man' approach of the politician is often used to hoodwink voters to seek their support. 


This technique is one of stereotyping of a culture, gender, race, country, religious group, among others. The propaganda technique of Simplification reduces a situation to a choice on the basis of stereotypes. If you were asked to fill-in-the-blanks, you can see how stereotypes work and perhaps see what the debased persuasion technique of Simplification is capable of. Russians are___________, Indians are___________, Jews are ___________, Hindus are ________, Muslims are __________. 

Used most often in current political circles, this propaganda technique is also among the most dangerous and divisive. 


We always look to learn from those who inspire us. Society leaders, achievers, actors; all those who inspire us, we also seek to endorse. 

In politics, Testimonials are endorsements which attempt to connect a 'inspiring' person with a political ideology, person or party. It is a process that leverages endorsers using their credibility to persuade voters towards a particular point-of-view. Considering the endorsers inspirational in one area of work, voters could sway towards their political alignment as well. 


Transfer is the technique of being seen in the the appropriate context, to give positive or negative attributes to the subject. A political personality using the technique of Transfer to project himself as technologically savvy may often be seen in the presence of scientists, or to transfer a negative connotation to the opposition may show morphed pictures of political opponents to spread falsehood and hate in an attempt to create doubt in the voter's mind. 

This is not the first time, nor the last that propaganda will be used by the politician. More than ever, it is up to the citizen to not get swayed by their propaganda machinations, but instead to rely on their own true understanding of situations by delving deeper and knowing more rather than reacting first. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Can there be a model for building attractiveness?

The answer is - 'Definitely'. Attraction is more scientific than most would have you believe. 

Every time a Brand has a human interface, it arouses deep-rooted physical, psychological, sociological and cultural reactions in the person, exerted as a ‘force of attraction’ by the Brand. This intrinsic capacity of a Brand to arouse the audiences’ interest and create a magnetic pull towards itself is Brand Attractiveness, also called Brand Appeal. Appeal (appropriately derived from the French word adpellere, meaning ‘to drive’) may be described as the inherent force of attractiveness of the Brand that interests, pleases or stimulates, and it is this force that makes a Brand desirable (or not).

Brand Attractiveness is a powerful, intangible force, which goes much beyond its physical appeal. It is an invisible, overwhelming pull, which subliminally, but irresistibly draws audiences towards itself.

Communication plays a dual role in building Brand Attractiveness. First, it embellishes the inherent force of attraction of the Brand, and secondly, it helps transport this inherent appeal to audiences who have never directly experienced the Brand. Good communication is the telescope which brings Brands up-close and personal, enhancing attributes to make them more noticeable. It is also the microscope that helps bring out the internal intricacies that may need deep delving to be experienced. Nevertheless, for this appeal to work, the force of attraction has to be natural and intrinsic to the Brand.

The Brand Attractiveness Model has four pillars on which it is founded, namely Rational Appeal, Emotional Appeal, Communication Appeal and Aspirational Appeal. 

(Adapted from the book 'Decoding Communication')

Monday, February 11, 2013

God’s trick

Communication must have a profound impact on survival for it to be as abundant as sight in humans and animals. It is an innate function present at birth and many of the neonatal responses that are hardwired into the brain manifest as instinct. Humans, animals and even some plant species communicate with each other. 

The most basic communication in all animals remains instinctual and reactive, i.e. in response to food, danger and sexual stimuli. The more evolved the communication used, the more efficiently information gets transmitted, resulting in a better outcome. For example, in the case of food, evolved communication can give an idea of the direction, taste and source; when representing danger, a sophisticated language can indicate the degree, type of danger, or methods to overcome it.  And when it comes to symbolizing sexual stimuli - well, let me just leave that part to your imagination.

Human communication is unique; it is not just biologically inherited but is also learnt. Other animal species communicate mainly through behavior, ritualized calls and gestures, whereas humans possess highly evolved linguistic systems that can express an infinite variety of diverse thoughts and intricate ideas. The human language system, with advanced semantics and syntax, has the ability to communicate myriad concepts with precise detail. Little wonder that this evolutionary leap distinguishes us from every other organism on earth.

The four-sided argument about the development of language in humans remains indeterminate. It may have developed as a normal byproduct of a well developed brain (called Spandrel), or on account of natural genetic selection (as an Adaptation), or because of the idea information system pressures (known as Memes), or due to the neurons in humans that facilitates imitation (Mirror Neurons).  A few other interesting ideas also give stimulus to new theories; like a suggestion that language developed as a 'social technology' to eliminate visual idea-theft.

Whichever way the above arguments go, the fact that language developed due to a blend or a combination of several factors including those stated above, cannot be argued. It advanced as different species realized that production of sound was useful and gave them a distinct competitive advantage, leading to the development of sophisticated variations of sound to communicate better. Language is only an exaggerated variation of natural communication capacities.

At the same time, language, the basis of communication, is also at the center of conflict and confusion by mere virtue of multiplicity. The 7000 or more human languages seem to have their origin in God’s ploy against humanity. The Book of Genesis speaks of how God tricks a united, single-language human race (who had resolved to build the heaven-touching ‘Tower of Babel’), by confounding them with the ‘confusion of the tongues’ - languages.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Is trust a must?

Imagine a room packed full of people, each jostling for space, food and survival. There's a door to the room, but it only works one way - people can come in, but cannot leave. And, the room keeps filling up, cramming more after more. The people in the room face paranoia, fear, aggression and as time progresses and as the crowd grows, only one objective remains - to survive. Now, imagine the crowded room to be your mind and the teeming people to be brands that enter incessantly. This, perhaps, is the closest picture of the chaotic state of the stakeholder's mind in a brand stuffed world.  

Businesses are 'transactable ideas' that need their stakeholders' trust to even exist, let alone endure. A trusted idea automatically becomes an accepted idea and in its degree of acceptance lies its transmission quotient. And so, when a business establishes strong trust bonds with its stakeholders, through its offerings, communication or existence, it continually reinforces its brand - its life-force. Ideas which combat trust and promote morbidity, eventually getting snuffed by the stronger trust forces. As brands establish trust in those they engage with, they become a very part of the stakeholder's mind, almost reflecting it in their brand persona.

As hundreds of thousands of brands battle for the stakeholder's mindshare, one can only imagine the gruesome outcome. Warring brands often take dangerous and undesirable shortcuts, and victories, if any, are mostly pyrrhic - maiming the victor's brand as much as it does the losers. More than anything, the unfortunate result of negative brand action most often is that the reward being fought for - the stakeholders mind - also gets severely injured in the battle. Brands must therefore remain very aware of two things; firstly, that they are capable of wounding the stakeholder's minds by what they say and do, and secondly, that the minds of the stakeholders' are already in much agony due to previous brand actions. Brands which tread carefully and build trust help alleviate the pain and find a permanent place with stakeholders, and those that do not, may get noticed, but will be associated by the stakeholder with anguish and grief.

Machiavelli's wrote in his book 'The Prince', what seems most appropriate for Brand Trust as well- "Princes who acquire their principalities with ease, keep it with difficulty, and those who acquire it with difficulty, keep it with ease." Drawing a Brand Trust analogy from his book - if a brand acquires trust with much effort, it will keep it with ease, and if it acquires Brand Trust without much effort, the brand will keep it with difficulty.  This, however, is not to say that one must focus solely on gaining trust, for such unilateral focus is counter-productive. Instead, it requires the brand to go about its action and communication as normal, so that each such is infused with trust enhancing ingredients. 

With every brand trying to mean everything to everyone, if there's any differentiator between closely competing brands, it is trust. As trust becomes more ephemeral, so does the need to hold on to it with greater care and caution. And, if a brand acquires the trust of its stakeholders, those that impact it in the now and in the future, such a brand is destined for eternal greatness. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The more we have, the less we are able to absorb'

Author and consultant, N Chandramouli, gives an insight on how proper communication is essential for a business to thrive.
(extract of a Q&A in DNA)

N-Rajendra-10-12-12 - 0010-1.jpg
N Chandramouli

A chemical engineer turned com-municator, N Chandramouli's business experience began with chemicals and then he jumped on to stock-broking, banking and exports. His engagement with communication since the last 15 years has obsessively con­sumed him since then. With his unique combination of engineering back­ground, communication business expe­rience and his other entrepreneurial exposures, Chandramouli conducts lectures in several communication col­leges and is also the author of recently published book 'Decoding Communica­tion '. He talks to Rajesh Rao on how he has brought an inimitable perspective to communication.
How can communication help one to make the best use of opportunities?
The world's commerce and mankind's development is crucially dependent on communication; the type of com­munication that helps promote ideas. Though the potential of these trillion dollar ideas to grow and build the fu­ture is high, their ability to contami­nate and destroy opportunities is equally quite astonishing.
Innovative and useful products fail, organisations are unable to align vi­sion, investors are quickly disheart­ened and seek exit - and all this and more is not because of what organisa­tions did was wrong. Most of the times, it is because organisations could not effectively communicate correctly their service, vision and product ben­efits, or because they totally misunder­stood their audiences.Doing these very same things cor­rectly will utilise the true potential of every opportunity.
How can one use words, images and ideas to impact thoughts and action in a better way?
When we look around us, we see a progressive atrophy that inflicts most brands, forcing them to seek expensive artificial means of sustenance that un­fortunately provide only cosmetic benefits. If brands are to flourish and strengthen, they need to build inner strength. Existence of brand levity, this natural strength that works against degeneration is a true sign of great brands. Brand levity has four aspects which give a brand the ability to op­pose gravitation forces that pull it down. These are memetic integrity, purpose, involvement sphere and ownership.
Do students today understand the subject of communication in its entirety and how can it make a difference to their lives as well as work?
Quite early, I recognised the impor­tance of theory - a process intended to set a firm grounding for a systematic approach to any subject. Its deficiency in communication causes a significant transactional gap between teaching and doing, leading to a massive waste of communication effort and business opportunities. Decoding Communica­tion is the cumulative result of my various research endeavours to under­stand and bridge this gap.
What are the various factors that make communication work?
Let me describe communication that works as one that is able to create an inherent magnetic pull in its audience. This pull called 'brand appeal' can be classified into four categories to make them easy to analyse. Two of them, rational and emotional appeal, exten­sions of Aristotle's Logos and Pathos, are usually a part of many contempo­rary communication exercises. In here, we look at them with a fresh perspec­tive. The other two aspirational and communication appeal are new intro­ductions, derived over several years of research, observation, discussion and empirical applications.
Why is communication a less understood process?
The life of a modern business is not easy as each of its actions carries the potential to propel or impede an or­ganisation substantially. The sheer complexity of businesses, information overload, unlimited potential and pos­sibilities of overnight business obso­lescence add to the every day risks of the business. The more we have, the less we are able to absorb and now we only absorb from the surface, on the surface. Communication, however, is only understood when it is a deeper process.

Monday, November 26, 2012

CSR: A marketing tool?

(This debate recently appeared in the Business Standard supplement, Strategist)

Coca-Cola’s Support My School initiative in India has been touted as one of the biggest CSR initiatives by corporate India and is beamed on NDTV with a lot of fanfare. Coca-Cola is not the only company that has effectively bundled, branded and communicated its CSR efforts; too many companies have started communicating their CSR efforts too early in too conspicuous a way. While their intentions are lofty, the whole razzmatazz surrounding such efforts raises a question: is a good idea for companies to communicate and get credit for their commitments?


CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults
When companies put their profits back into the very same people who help them make money, the marketing cycle is complete

Coca-Cola has got its act right. The guys behind the scenes, global chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent, downwards, are a force to contend with in the world of corporate social responsibility (CSR) marketing. Today CSR marketing is a new sub-science of the world of marketing at large. In fact, it is the best thing to do when you are a big brand with a footprint of consumption across the world. Brands such as Coca- Cola, Marlboro, Dettol etc that touch billions across the world use CSR in their marketing approach.

Look at the the history of CSR. It began when companies first looked at their corporate bottom lines and discovered profit. Having discovered profit, and investing that profit or splurging it into everything that was possible, such as personnel training, corporate junkets, corporate jets, profit had to find its way into society. CSR is the last thing that a corporate enterprise does. For instance, visualise a large vat. Imagine the money going into CSR activities as money that goes out of a small little pipe vent right at the top of the vat, much beyond and after the Plimsoll line of profits has been breached. Visualise this vat with a small vent opening right near the top brim. If you see it this way, you will also realise that if these profits did not find their way out (into society), the vat would itself be in danger. Therefore, CSR expenditures typically have been “safety valve expenditures”.
At the outset, corporates look after their immediate physical environment as a CSR activity. If a company had a factory in Jamshedpur, it would look after the people in the eco-system around it. Then the mindset changed and companies started thinking beyond their geography by picking up causes. They picked up causes adjunct to the industry they belonged to. 
For example, a company in the tobacco segment looked at health, a marketer to kids looked after the under-privileged kids. Subliminally, if not overtly, the connect always existed.
Then came the era of obscene CSR marketing. I have been witness to CSR efforts during the Tsunami that hit Indian shores some years back. I saw large trucks carrying water and supplies. Many of them chose to emblazon themselves with the brand names and logos. One corporation even had savvy ‘marketing-think’ where it had the top of the trucks emblazoned with their brand logo. This was for the media helicopters to catch when they hovered around the area under distress. How far can one go?

The latest is the Coca-Cola India ‘Support My school’ campaign with NDTV. I like this campaign as it picks a cause that is universal and big. It is about kids and their rights and the need to education. It picks rural and small town schools. It takes valuable resources to the points of need. It is not shy and does not use subterfuge as well. It talks to its audience without resorting to the in-your-face tools of advertising. It helps build future customers. In that way, it gives and takes. It gives resources today to support a nation of school-going children. It takes subliminally. It takes when it impinges its brand name all across, and plants a soft thought of an otherwise hard brand in the minds of impressionable kids.
I believe no corporate organisation must invest its money into CSR without purpose. Corporate organisations are run by stakeholders—by shareholders and employees— among others. The organisations must aim at profit in their ventures, both commercial or CSR oriented. However, in making this profit happen, it is not wrong if good money can chase good causes such as this one. Coca-Cola has cracked this code with the campaign and other initiatives in South Africa where the company is aiming to be water positive. CSR makes marketing sense as companies make money from people. When they focus their profits back into the very same people who help them make money, the marketing cycle is complete.


CEO, Comniscient Group
CSR must be an extension of the organisation's state-of-being and not just an activity that has to be ticked off in the check-box

While many organisations undertake their social responsibility as charity, many undertake it to fulfil their marketing needs or to give a positive disposition to their brands. However, all of them understand the personal-social benefits that accrue from acts of altruism. When a corporation acts beyond the narrow areas of self-benefit and works for a larger, socially-beneficial cause, you can describe it as CSR. This helps the corporate/brand in two important ways — first, the innate value-system that gets espoused by the social action helps build ‘organisational culture’, and second, CSR showcases any organisation’s positive intention, an essential ingredient in building organic trust for it.

Every organisation wants to impact the world that influences it. In order to determine that it has to decide on the following factors: internalities (that which it thinks it is responsible for) and externalities (which are outside its sphere of responsibility).This boundary of responsibility-acceptance is arrived at by balancing the intent with the ability of the organisation and becomes a direct measure of the organisation’s integration (on human, cultural, emotional and physical fronts) with its external world. As organisations expand to include more external aspects creating a progressively larger responsibility circle, they become more and more relevant to their ecosystem.

For instance, a responsible mining company may rehabilitate the people displaced as a direct result of its operations. If it considers more of its impact as its responsibilities, it may even replant trees to undo the damage caused by it to the environment. If it further increases its internality sphere, it may go further and invest actively in creating an ecological hub on the previously mined area. It is quite natural for an organisation that exists for profit to seek direct or indirect benefit from all its actions including CSR. Seeking benefits, be it marketing, community, image or other subtle benefits from the CSR is acceptable, beneficial and even recommended.

But if the benefits sought through the CSR are blatant or unreasonable, the action becomes counterproductive and is bound to have a negative impact on the brand. When you think of the ‘real’ campaigns, Coca-Cola’s ‘Support My School’, Aircel’s ‘ Save Our Tigers’ or Tata Tea’s ‘ Jaago re’, most audiences will have a visceral calibration of where the campaign falls on their acceptability line.

Yet, when starting CSR initiatives, the organisation has to understand that there is a significant time lag between the action and result expected from the CSR initiative. Therefore when organisations engage in altruism they must do so without looking for quick results that they are so accustomed to. Further, to create a sustainable programme of CSR, one needs to balance two opposing forces. First, the farther removed the corporate social responsibility is from the core of the business, the more trust it will generate. At the same time, the more direct the connection between the CSR and the business, the more sustainable it will be. Companies which get this balance right, accrue benefits that are highly resistant to erosion over time. CSR is a good strategy but only in the long-term. Though it is used to develop markets or for image, it is far more useful when it is used to infuse the organisation with culture, vision and values — the core drivers of any business.

The importance of CSR cannot be understated for it shows the organisation’s integration with its society. It is, however, important to temper expectations from CSR. Most importantly, CSR must be an extension of the organisation’s state-of-being and not just an activity that needs to get ticked off in the check-box.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Beware of the E, F and G of Advertising

Beware of the E, F and G of advertising
(this article by the author was also recently published in Asian Age, Ad+ section)

Emotions are loudspeakers of experiences, thoughts, culture, perceptions, environment and disposition and they work to amplify all these through a ‘remembered’ association. Emotions are important because they generate feelings - deep-rooted physiological and psychological sensations that help relate, adapt or cope with any situation. They may be conscious or sub-conscious, and emotions are essential in managing our personal outlook, inducing social behaviour. Emotions are important in unequivocally classifying action and are important accompaniments to it. They are also important in creating memory since and act as triggers for connected thoughts.

The use of emotion in communication is not new. Aristotle the Greek philosopher articulated it in his book 'Rhetoric' as pathos, which when used in conjunction with logos (logic) and ethos (ethics) could make a persuasive argument. Emotional responses result from deep 'internal' forces and have strong subliminal influence on audiences. Pathos is related to sympathy and empathy, and the use of emotions helps make audiences more receptive to the communication. The response to primary emotions, (and their derivatives) like love, joy, surprise, anger, sadness and fear, is often seen as beyond-our-control.  It implies that our reaction to them is involuntary, subliminal and therefore, uncontrollable. It is this reaction that the communicator seeks in evoking emotions.

Advertising also uses emotion to create a stronger associative memory of the brand - you are more likely to remember something that made you smile, laugh or cry. Telecom companies have mastered the use of making emotional connections. Small features are advertised using real emotions and Vodafone made its 'Chota credit' big through exam-ink sharing advertisements. Airtel did the same with the small boy who complains to his father using a toy phone. Use of emotions in story-telling also makes it interesting, real and relatable - and without it, the story would be bland and may not have action or memory triggers.

However, since any feeling generated due to emotions impacts us deeply, it is important to be aware (and beware) when we are subjected to advertising that generates negative emotions of envy, fear and greed in us. Unlike positive emotions like joy, positivity or hope, which get enhanced by sharing, the E, F and G of negative emotions are almost always intensely private, almost secretive. Rarely does anyone share these emotions openly. These usually get formed due to the complex social and personal exchanges in the formative years of one's life, these take a shape in competitive and combative situations. Resultantly they almost always giving rise to a feeling of anxiety and need for immediate remedial action. In communication, use of envy directly impinges on the social worth of the individual, fear brings an irrational urgency to the situation, and through greed, the self-esteem is under assault.

Unfortunately, due to their inherent anxious nature the use of these three emotions in advertising does yield swift results, even if just as ephemeral. Caution is necessary in the use of such emotions due to the deep residual impact they can have. For example, if fear were used as a primary emotion to generate audience responses, the response will generate the after-effects of fear and this could give rise to acute reactions like stress, aggression, anger, and defence as a natural mechanism. These negative reactions could set off undesirable and unmanageable responses in the audience.

Though several advertisers feel justified in using these emotions, it must be kept in mind that in the wake of such communication consumers are left more mistrusting and nervy, attempting to satiate their desires by stuffing up more and more. Everyone is sure to remember examples of their own, but Onida was among the earlier user of envy with a direct statement in its by-line. In more recent times, envy has been used very successfully showing sexual attraction (or lack of it) to sell deos and even undergarments. Envy in advertising, doesn't spare anyone, not even kids. Fast food chains or cars, envy has been abused blatantly and abundantly.

Now to fear. Advertising Cooking oil showing want you to protect the heart of your loved ones by using the 'right' oil - it has PUFA it claims. Disinfectant soaps that want to protect your child's health show ickky germs on the child's hands or diaper advertisements that show you rashes in your baby's bum if you do not use a particular brand of 'absorbent' diapers. These advertisements attempt to make fear work for the brand, but subtly also make the wife, mother or husband more anxious - elbowing, forcing and egging them with their communication.

Greed, the G of the triad is a modern day malady. It is an underlying phenomena that goads economics, companies and individuals alike. We all want more. So, ads pander to this innate need by goading us to get something bigger, more luxurious and more abundant. After all, who doesn't want a house that has a Jacuzzi, swimming pool and a personal lift that opens into your living room? This is advertising of excess - making the false claim that more is best for you.

If it works, why not use it? Faster the results, the better it is, right? Well, no actually. When E, F and G are used in communication, they invariably leave the customer in a state of high-anxiety, fulfilling a purchase in the hope that the anxiety triggered will be sated. Unfortunately the anxiety never gets fulfilled, building further unease and discomfort in the numbed consumer. This in turn makes the advertiser's job increasingly more difficult.

And, that's reason enough to not use the EFGs in advertising at all - since the job of advertising is not just to sell, but to sell justly, wisely and well.