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"We follow the scientists around and look over their shoulders. They're watching their feet: provable mistakes are bad for them. We're looking as far ahead as we can, and we don't get penalized for mistakes."
- Larry Niven

Compulsive Subsonics  
  An advertising agency works with every part of the audience's brain.  

In this classic 1950's story, the ad agency works hard to use every bit of technology available to manipulate the public.

"They outlawed compulsive subsonics in our aural advertising - but we've bounced back with a list of semantic cue words that tie in with every basic trauma and neurosis in American life today.
From The Space Merchants, by Frederik Pohl (w/CM Kornbluth).
Published by St. Martin's Press in 1952
Additional resources -

When you read this story, you'll be amazed at how well it predicts the future of mass market advertising. At the time the book was written, ad agencies had only been around for about 100 years; the first American advertising agency was opened in 1941. The first big "ad blitz" was organized by none other than P.T. Barnum, who created so much hoopla with newspaper ads, handbills and broadsides advertising the appearance of Jenny Lind, the "Swedish Nightingale" to America, that she was met at the docks by 30,000 New Yorkers.

The first great American brands were created at this time; the first advertisement for Smith Brother's Cough Candy (drops) appeared in a Poughkeepsie, New York paper in 1851. (Historical note: the two brothers in the illustration are named "Trade" and "Mark.") Today, we are saturated with brand names; but in the mid-1800's, everything people bought was generic. You went to the grocery store and bought flour, salt, sugar and soap; the grocer removed it from a larger, anonymous package and wrapped it for you. You never knew the manufacturer.

The history of advertising is a great reminder of how much has changed in the last 100 years.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Space Merchants
  More Ideas and Technology by Frederik Pohl (w/CM Kornbluth)
  Tech news articles related to The Space Merchants
  Tech news articles related to works by Frederik Pohl (w/CM Kornbluth)

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