We’re Not Selling To You, We’re Selling With You

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


“In the ’50s, choosing was easier,” says Mark Barden, a partner at San Francisco ad agency Black Rocket. “There were a few large brands per category and a few TV channels broadcasting simple, ‘washes whiter’ type claims.” Most beer advertising, for example, targeted a rational beer drinker, one who chose his beer based on how it tasted. Slogans such as Miller High Life’s “The Champagne of Beers” reflected this approach.

These days, the drinking game is more complicated. In response to the microbrew trend, Miller created the American Specialty & Craft Beer Co., but more recently, it has gone in the opposite direction: In 1997, it launched a campaign for Miller Genuine Draft that boldly asserts, “It’s Time for a Good Old Macrobrew.”

The ads even mock the claims of traditional “taste” ads: “It’s time for better beer breath,” reads one. Such nudge-nudge, wink-wink rapport can only happen when advertisers stop trying to woo consumers with rational claims. In the new science of marketing, says Barden, the goal is “not simple cause and effect.” Instead, he says, advertisers establish an emotional connection, encouraging consumers “to actively consume the message and create their own interpretation.” And as long as the interpretation ends with “and I think I’ll buy this,” companies can’t complain. Sales of Miller Genuine Draft have gone up more than 2 percent since the macrobrew campaign. As Miller might say: Here’s to you.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate