If any "news" perfectly typified how vile and unethical most marketing has become -- and why I am dedicated to exposing my marketing peers' sinister tactics through these "How We Get You" columns -- it would have to be this recent news:
"New 'Survivor' a Race Among Races"
Brian Vaszily (pronounced "vay zlee")
is a bestselling author, positive change advocate, speaker/organizer and
sometimes funny guy whose life mission is to help others explore, experience
and enjoy life more intensely while bypassing the traps that would hamper
that goal -- particularly unscrupulous marketing and rampant consumerism.
Brian is the founder of IntenseExperiences.com,
has authored several books including the acclaimed novella Beyond
Stone and Steel (see Very-Clever.com
for some reviews), and with over fourteen years of marketing management
experience is President of the TopMarketingPro consultancy.
In addition to his How
We Get You columns here at SixWise, Brian also leads the popular Sixwise.com
'Live Deeper' Blog by Brian Vaszily." He has appeared on many
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books, columns, articles and ideas. Brian Vaszily was born and raised
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In case you haven't already heard, the 13th season of the CBS TV reality show Survivor will segregate contestants into four teams … based on their race.
In one corner of the Cook Islands in the South Pacific will be the African-American team, in another the Hispanics, in a third corner the Asian-Americans, and in the fourth the whites.
And they will be battling it out to see which racial team is superior to the all the others.
But wait a second … Racial segregation? Racial superiority?
Haven't those same concepts resulted in people getting gassed, starved and burned by the mega millions in modern world history? Haven't Americans been shot and had their flesh fire-hosed off attempting to demonstrate how ignorant those concepts are? Though the teaching has been painful and the results ever-so-slow, aren't we as a society supposed to be moving up and away from these lethal dead-end ideas?
Well yes, yes, and yes. And for the producers of Survivor, that's exactly the point!
Because, see, ratings have been going down for Survivor. But by pitting the four races in a battle against one another -- knowing how sensitive the topic of race is in America -- they know it will stir up controversy. And in marketing, controversy is gold because it stirs up interest and attention, which in turn stirs up sales or its equivalent in TV land, ratings.
So despite the tension it will fortify or exacerbate between the races, despite any wounds it may reopen for people personally, the producers and the advertisers during the show and CBS will conclude it was an excellent tactic, a brilliant spin, because:
It will increase RATINGS … likely quite extensively
They have no ethics
Can You Survive … Honesty?
Whether it's the Nazis or Al Quaida or just marketers of scam products, a favorite propaganda technique has always been to spin evil acts as somehow heroic and for the greater good. That's because it fools a lot of the people a lot of the time.
I wasn't even going to do a column on Survivor -- War for Racial Superiority (my name for this season) because I hoped that this one was just too obvious, that the vast majority of the public would instantly recognize this for - and be nauseated by -- the scumbag promotional stunt that it is.
But then I discovered that, through multiple polls going on at several sites on the Internet, about half of all people responding don't see any ethical issue with this racial segregation season of Survivor. Granted, these are informal polls and the way the questions are worded could be provoking one response over another, but still it is obvious that the marketers' behind Survivor are fooling a lot of the people.
With all of the above in mind, here's what Survivor host Jeff Probst had to say on CBS' Early Show about why the show has chosen to divide teams by race:
"The idea for this actually came from the criticism that 'Survivor' was not ethnically diverse enough … I think it fits in perfectly with what 'Survivor' does -- it is a social experiment. And this is adding another layer to that experiment, which is taking the show to a completely different level."
Give me a break. So segregating four teams based on their race and having them duke it out is supposed to resolve public criticism about making the show more ethnically diverse?
Memo to the Survivor Producers: What I think those requesting more diversity meant was they'd like to see more Hispanics, African-Americans, etc. mixed in WITH the whites who have dominated previous seasons… not pitted against them and one another.
But then I think the producers and everyone associated with Survivor know that, don't they?
Though of course they would never admit it publicly, they know -- just like we know -- that most of the 20+ million likely viewers of this season of Survivor will find themselves pulling for the team that represents their own race. Maybe out loud, maybe to themselves depending on the circumstances, the majority of whites will be pulling for the whites, the Hispanics for Hispanics, the Asian-Americans for Asian-Americans, and the African-Americans for African-Americans.
And exactly how is that anything besides destructive?
But I can already hear some people opposing my view here by saying things along the lines of, "Hey, it's just silly competitions they will be doing, like memory games and fishing and running obstacle courses. It's nothing serious." But frankly the arguments for racial superiority that have caused numerous wars have always been based on equivalent silliness … Jews are "devious merchants," blacks are "mentally inferior but physically superior," etc. A game of tug-of-war is truly no more ridiculous than these unfounded aspects of comparison that have helped justify slavery and the execution of millions.
And so again, how is pitting the races against one another on a popular TV show anything besides destructive?
Cook Islands, a Net of 15 Polynesian Islands where the Racial Segregation Fun Will Take Place
Extinguishing the Flame
As for Probst's other comment that this is a "social experiment," well … not to sound repetitive but give me a break!!!
Unless you are sixteen or under, you know by now that reality shows are anything but reality -- they are a group of unpaid actor-contestants whose lives and actions are closely scripted and guided along to create the most jolting TV moments. THEN the editors move in to pick the select few moments -- out of the many, many moments left out -- that they will craft into a TV show. What you see on Survivor or any reality show is never what really happened, but what the producers/directors/editors' (i.e., the marketers') want to make you BELIEVE happened.
Social experiment my [BLEEP.]
To try to continue to con the public into believing there is social "value" to Survivor -- War for Racial Superiority when it is really just a reprehensible, highly effective trick to improve the show's ratings, the show will likely:
Hint at the (ridiculous) stereotypes of each race, such as whites' geekiness but strong leadership skills, Asian-American braininess, etc., but then here and there and in typical hokey TV fashion make sure each race succeeds via traits that are stereotypically NOT associated with them … "All right, my African-Amercian team actually beat the Asian-Americans at an analytical activity. " Oh how nice. But it is still pitting one race against the other.
After building ratings by pitting race against race for the beginning to middle of the season, try to get off the hook toward the season's middle or end by bringing all the remaining contestants from each gang … er, I mean "tribe" … together in some sort of love-fest. "Wow, how touching, the remaining black, white, Hispanic and the Asian have all united here in the end into one tribe…" or some similar sleight of hand.
But don't fall for it. The best thing you could do to send the message that you're not going to fall for such evil propaganda techniques is:
Don't watch Survivor -- War for Racial Superiority
Please email this column to all of your friends -- especially those who have watched Survivor in the past -- and urge them to READ it and seriously consider if they really want to be contributing to it
- Voice your opinion on this via a letter or phone call to:
CBS Television Network
51 West 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019
Main Number: (212) 975-4321
- WATCH one episode of this racial-segregation Survivor and make a note of all the commercial sponsors. Then avoid giving your business to those commercial sponsors -- you can even go a step further and let them know you won't for this reason.
If you aren't going to take any to all of the steps above and instead WILL watch this season of Survivor, then I urge you to get even more excited about NEXT season, where they may very well pit the Muslims against the Jews against the Christians against the Hindus because that would surely drive ratings sky-high!