14 Underhanded Marketing Tactics That Are Too Common


As intelligent as you may be, our brains our actually pretty dumb and can fall for some simple tricks. Advertising and marketing requires a certain amount of shiftiness, because it's all geared to hack your brain into buying something you don't need. The prey on your insecurities, your deepest desires, your anxiety about your future, your loneliness, your need to feel powerful, your aging body, and so many other triggers in your mind. But disturbingly often, companies go past persuasion and into overt sketchiness, in their quest to relieve you of your money. And we all fall for it, no matter how smart we are.

With that in mind, we asked Cracked readers to hold their noses, take a huge breath, and take a deep dive into the more troubling techniques marketing professionals use when they're planning commercials and other promotions. Brace yourself for a truly disheartening glimpse into corporate greed.

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