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INTERNATIONAL BAPTIST COLLEGE

HIGH SCHOOL DEPARTMENT

PROPAGANDA TYPES: THE POWER OF MANIPULATION

An (analysis/research) paper submitted for the subject:

ENGLISH 10

(WORLD LITERATURE)

Submitted by:

Aphrodite Io J. Wong

Submitted to:

Mr. Paul M. Feliciano

English Teacher

09/16/2019

Date

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Have you ever watched an

advertisement and ever thought

“I want that” or “I wish I had that”?

No? Well me neither, but do you

know what would make you want

to say those things? The brand-

new, cool, and limited Kakegurui

shirt Elon Musk has been wearing! Buy it now online on the official Tesla site for P.9, 999.95 with

a chance to win a Tesla Model X and meet the one and only Keanu Reeves!

Was I successful in convincing you to buy the Kakegurui shirt? Well if your answer is yes,

then you have fallen victim to the deception of a very effective card stacking propaganda that is

widely used for advertisements all around social media and even outside of it. The mind can be

difficult to deceive, however, if done correctly might just be one of the greatest weapons a person

may have. Because to persuade someone is to make them approve of, or make them do an action

that you want them to. In the current regime of popularity in social media, persuasion is continually

being used by large influencers and small influencers alike, to gain more and more supporters

and followers. This has been proven effective by many K-pop idols, Youtubers, streamers, and

even Politicians.

A common example of this is when a Youtuber says “follow me for a chance to win a

giveaway!” and you do it, without any assurance that they will actually give something away, and

not just run away with the ad revenue money that they’ve earned from that video. This shows the

use of Hasty or False Generalization, where we expect all Youtubers to stay true to their word

when they do giveaways, all because we saw another Youtuber giving things away, as a

celebration for their 100,000 subscriber milestone, we expect everyone in Youtube to be as

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honest. I have to admit, I almost always fall for this type of propaganda, I’m not sure if it’s because

of my prejudice on YouTubers, or because of my never-ending hope that one day, I just might be

able to win a skin in a certain game. Yes, it is like deception, a big lie, but at the same time it is

so easy to fall for, and in the end, that persuader got what he/she wanted; for you to subscribe

and watch the whole video along with the advertisements.

Some of us try to manipulate people because we want them to

do the things we want them to, and once we have that power, we may be

able to abuse it as much as we want. Although it may seem cruel to

deceive others, propaganda wasn’t always this bad. Now, even though

propaganda is widely used for manipulation, there are also good uses for

propaganda. It can also be used to help encourage people to help each other or enforce positivity

to us. In fact, according to the American Historical Association a long time ago, propaganda was

used by the church and was called an “ancient honorable word”. But to be honest I think the

reason why propaganda was only called good before was either because those people were

scared of speaking up to the church, or were simply too unaware of what the church was doing

before. I believe the reason why the church had to make propaganda a thing was because if they

forced the people to give their attention to the church, people would not be pleased about that.

We all know that when people are not satisfied with something, they tend to rebel.

I came across an article by Claire Lew, and she had a friend that was a manager that was

having difficulties at work because of the way he came across as controlling. The article

mentioned something about the “need to be controlling” to “feel justified” and “get things done”

and immediately, my mind thought about the school guards and how many students did not like

them for their controlling attitude. I thought about people who order me to do things that I didn’t

want to do, and it reminded me that I always ended up not doing those things that they told me to

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do. If I were, to be honest, I think it comes from a place of selfishness, and desire for our interests

to be noticed as well. I feel like that is what happened to the church, and because they feared that

the people would rebel they didn’t create propaganda. To make it seem that our best interests are

first is what propaganda does, it simply tricks us by making something too good to be true, but in

the end, we end up doing what the persuader wants us to do. Now, because no persuader wants

to be hated they try to be less controlling. If we make the person who we are trying to persuade

mad or uninterested in us, they will end up not caring about what we want them to do. Propaganda

is a good and indirect way of bossing people around because being blunt does not always set up

a good precedent for persuaders. Most people appeal to those who are very good with their words,

I think it is mostly because we love those who seem to be interested in us, and people who use

propaganda do just that. Little do we know, we are already falling for the persuader’s manipulation

or propaganda.

There are six types of propaganda that I want to write

about, and one of which is Name Calling. Ah yes, name-

calling, the thing almost all of us are well accustomed to when

we were children. Name-calling ignores facts and attacks a

person personally, so it is more understandable for children to

do this because they still know little to nothing about each

other and their feelings, it is not advisable for adults to do this, because it does make them look

juvenile. Maybe it’s because we hate losing arguments or sometimes we just have this urge to

win people on our side because we think that if more people side with us, we will be considered

right even if what we are fighting for is wrong.

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A good example of an advertisement that shows name-

calling is when Julia Alexander, a journalist on The Verge called

Pewdiepie, who is a famous Youtuber, a fan of the ‘Anti-Semitic’

Youtuber, E;R for shouting him out in an anime review. This

implies that Pewdiepie too is an anti-Semitic person. I believe that

it was all planned out because but the title: “PewDiePie gives

shout out to hateful, anti-Semitic Youtube channel” was

controversial, and The Verge was successful in luring the people

in to click on their article. The article goes on about Pewdiepie being a fan of the hateful content

of E;R, because he gave the small channel a shout out. In reality, he also gave shout outs to

numerous other small channels to help them out without proper background checks. It would have

been nice if The Verge and other articles decided to get the facts right instead of insinuating that

Pewdiepie was an anti-Semitic person right off the bat. But instead, they decided to do the

opposite, ignore the facts and leave out tiny details that would later be a significant part of the

story. The good thing is they did an edit on it, and now the article shows Pewidepie’s explanation

for the whole thing. The propaganda that is name-calling almost always happens in social media

for articles, and I believe newspapers as well. The main objective of these companies is to lure

you in to click on their website or buy their newspaper. The more exaggerated the situation is for

a celebrity or Politician, the more beneficial because then they may use all kinds of name-calling,

good or bad name calling it’s their choice.

The second propaganda I want to talk about is the Hasty or

False Generalization that often works on those who are new to a fandom, or anything new.

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Because we are so new to a certain subject, we almost instantly believe in the things that are told

to us because we are yet to be accustomed to everything. For example, when you watch a few

music videos of Blackpink and think that they must be one of the best artists, another person

disagrees, and you immediately say that they are the best and no one can beat them because

they are international, and have beaten a lot of talented artists, and can easily do so if they

compete. You only base your claims on that one experience, and not actual truths that you have

researched - you do not have evidence. I think it has something to do with sugarcoating, there

are different motives for sugarcoating words, sometimes we just want to win an argument for

once, and I believe we sometimes tend to lie, and sometimes we are afraid of what people might

think of us so we make up lies that sugar coat our situation. In a way, this propaganda is kind of

scary because we make up the evidence and when people ask for it, we have nothing to show

because we only assumed it. People also tend to believe in this type of propaganda, because it

is a partial lie. For example, Haley knows that Melanie knows a lot about BTS, Melanie can easily

make a hasty generalization about BTS, without Haley knowing it is so, because Melanie is the

one who is the BTS know-it-all, and she Haley, won’t even question what Melanie says.

A good example of a brand using this type of propaganda is

SugarBearHair Vitamins, which is all over the internet. This sweet

medicine is supposed to help you grow your hair, because of the

vitamin D it contains. The only thing they did not put in however,

was the fact that the vitamins it contained were a lot less than the sugars, and it was were not as

effective for hair growth like they claimed it was. The influencers who tried it and said it was good,

only experienced the placebo effect and nothing more. The company that sells it claims that the

ingredients it contains is supposedly good for the hair and may help in hair growth, but has been

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proven wrong, according to a lab that was in BuzzFeedNew’s article, saying that the listed

ingredients were inaccurate and the vitamins needed for their claimed hair growth was less than

the sugar. Because the product contained a lot of vitamins, the SugarBearHairs’ company was

able to make a false generalization about their vitamins that will give you outstanding effects within

a month, and nobody questioned this for a while, that is until their vitamins were tested. This is

very powerful propaganda in my opinion because it is one of the easiest ones to believe in, it is

really hard to determine whether one is telling the truth or just using a hasty generalization.

When I watch a person I admire very much, I

instantly want to follow their example, because I think it’s

cool to be like them. This happens to me a lot because

seeing cool people like Billie Eilish and Rhianna wear

baggy clothing makes me want to wear those things, even if it does make me look like a wannabe

gangster. I feel like it’s my way of supporting those artists. There’s just something about those

famous people that make you want to follow in their footsteps, maybe there’s a chance that people

will think that you’re as cool as them? Or maybe it’s because you are struggling to find a different

personality because you are unsatisfied with your current one? I usually am experiencing the

latter one, since all my life I have based my character on different characters. If my favorite

character in an anime is cold and calloused, I have the tendency to do the same, and most of the

time it sticks, but this also happens to me for products every time my favorite character or

personality promotes it I really want to buy it, well at least I try not to. This propaganda type that

makes you want to buy or do something because of people you admire is called Testimonials. A

product or idea is presented by famous and usually well-liked people because you’d want to

support those people. K-pop idols do this a lot with clothing brands, where they will slyly advertise

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a product, and tell the media that people who liked those kinds of clothing are their type of

boys/girls.

A more accurate example is Catriona Gray’s

advertisement of the Myra vita white lotion. When

I watched this I immediately thought: “Yes, I have

a billion lotions at home that are probably going to

expire soon, no I don’t need more, but I will still

buy it because I love Catriona Gray.” I think that is the common mindset these people have, they

will buy items and use them to support the one they admire even if it isn’t something they need.

“Why are you trying so hard to fit in if you were born to stand out?”-Ian Wallace

There are times when this quote resonates in my head, whenever I try and be part of a

group I don’t belong in. For some, Bandwagon may serve as status that shows you are trendy,

up-to-date, and modern, but when you do those things, does it start to take away your value of

yourself, and your value becomes more and more based on how trendy you are? Bandwagon is

fun because being a part of a group or a trend is always fun it almost makes you feel as if you

were part of an exclusive group. But when you’re different, you start to have a larger view on

things and realize that even if you try to it in, you are still going to be different, and that’s completely

fine, but it is also something a lot of us are scared of, because we are scared of being left out.

Somehow, bandwagon holds a sort of power of fear, and that is what I think persuades us in the

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end. At the same time, it may also be a strategic way of determining what the commonly used

products are, and sometimes, we do this to know if these products are effective or not, because

the more people are using it, the more effective it is.

A fine example of a bandwagon advertisement is

when games are marketed as most popular, or when

games have that “12million users worldwide” text in

their advertisement, it makes you want to try it out

because you automatically know that’s it’s going to be good since a lot of people play it. Of course,

you don’t want to waste time on a bad game that would be a bummer, you did not only waste

time, but you also wasted money by doing so. Also, we hate being left out when people talk about

a new game we know nothing about, so we try our best to be up-to-date and be part of the

conversations.

The Palmolive Finger Comb Groove Dance is a

good example of this. Many women with smooth and

straight hair are dancing, and are promoting a brand

of shampoo that is Palmolive naturals. Many girls

near the end turn to you and touch their silky smooth hair while they tell you how effective the

shampoo is. It makes you think that since a lot of the people who seem to use it seem to have

good hair, maybe I should try it out as well, just because it seems fun and trendy. Many more

shampoo commercials make use of this propaganda, especially apps, games, hair, and face

products as well.

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For our second to the last propaganda type,

we have our Card Stacking. We usually see this

before we buy a subscription, for example, a one-

month subscription on Prezi. It is part of their

marketing technique to let you see the various

benefits you will get if you do purchase a subscription from them. It is always good to see the

perks of your potential purchase, then you can decide if it is worth your money. However, I believe

that most companies who are confident in their products do these. Card-stacking can be used for

good and bad, and every company has the power to use it, which is somewhat scary because

sometimes, we do not know what we’re getting into and may easily be tricked. Because card

stacking is a biased way of showing a product’s pros, you won’t know the cons until you try the

product out.

Card stacking, just like hasty generalization can be very deceptive as well and can be very

hard at times to determine what true from the false information, because all of the information is

biased, and has a partiality to the company. A good way to determine card stacking propaganda

if something seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

The most common example of card stacking is the Colgate advertisements, yes it does

survey people on the toothpaste, but it never said how many of those surveys are employees,

and, or how many took it. Sometimes it will say 90% of doctors recommended it but in reality, only

11 out of 12 doctors recommended it. Although sometimes hard to determine, it is very effective,

since there are many companies use this propaganda technique and lists good pros, and

sometimes the fake ones get mixed with the good ones.

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I briefly mentioned Transfer a couple of times, and my idea for it, because I think that

transfer usually appeals to us more, when popular people advertise it, and when a lot of people

are doing it. The transfer propaganda makes us think that if we do those things, we will also end

up like them. It happens to us more than we realize. For example, when a smart person says

he/she does not review, you start to do the same hoping that you would get the same results.

There’s always a desired outcome in these since we always seen to have difficulty in doing

something, we would do just about anything to fix that problem and transfer sounds like the easiest

way to attain it. I think the times when we need help are the times when we fall for these

testimonials. It’s not that people don’t or can’t do it the hard way that they are searching for a

faster way to solve their problems, but it’s just that people who are having a hard time also deserve

to rest and these commercials help them feel like they’re becoming better when they buy a

product, by enforcing the Placebo effect on its users. The Placebo effect is basically like magic

that makes you feel better, even if it isn’t meant to, you just have to be powerful enough to deceive

your users to think the way you want them to.

Transfers are also used for clothing, food, and items, they will advertise it as if you can be as

cool as that model wearing those shoes or riding that sweet new ride, and all you have to do is

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buy their product. It is very tempting, especially when a lot of people talk about it, and say that

they ‘think’ it is effective.

One good example of this is the Century Tuna advertisement, where they tell you to only eat

their tuna if you’re on a diet and your weight will improve in no time, and at the same time, you

will be able to gain muscles. The models look so good while running on the treadmill and all while

opening that can of tuna. We think that the results will be the same for us, and even if you say

you won’t fall for those things, the next thing you know, you’re searching the supermarket for a

can of tuna.

Manipulating people is never good, but I’m sure you have done it once, people who I know

have done it, and even I do it sometimes. A lot of us use these propaganda techniques, but instead

of using them for advertising, we use them for our interests. But propaganda can also be used in

good ways, it only depends on the person who’s planning on using it. Because words are powerful,

and propaganda is a way of words, it is something that we must be careful of. We will never know

the effects of our words to other people, so we should try and use them wisely. There are different

reasons why people want to manipulate others. Some do it for the feel of authority, some do it for

money, and some do it to make themselves feel like a savage-uncontrolled. But whatever our

reason for manipulation maybe, if all the propaganda is filled with lies, it will never really appeal

to a person for long. Sure, people will talk about you, but it won’t be long until they forget about

you as well. You should always keep in mind what Maya Angelou said; “They may forget what

you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” There’s this sort of power hidden in

propaganda that anyone can access really. But nobody does, because with great power always

comes with great responsibility. We must also remember not to be too hasty when watching

advertisements, and keep in mind to spend our money and resources wisely, those resources

just might be our last ones. If something is too good to be true, there’s probably a catch behind it.

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As a person that has fallen or every single propaganda on this list, I have to say, those companies

that have outwitted me played their cards well, considering I am a skeptic when it comes to these

things.

Many companies thirst for conventional advertisements and propagandas to showcase their

products, so we should always remember to do our research before anything else. People are

power-hungry, and propaganda just gives us the power we want. Be aware of those that may

manipulate you in the future, it may just be your downfall.

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