What is card stocking propaganda and how does it apply to the business field? This lesson defines the term and explores the concept through multiple examples.
Card Stacking Defined
We have all seen a commercial or two. Some appeal to our softer side while others try to make us laugh. While we have become used to commercials being part of our everyday TV viewing, rarely do we sit back and think about the goals of commercials.
Commercials are often trying to sell you something. In doing so, they need to make sure that their product appears to be better than the other leading brands. This entices consumers to purchase their products instead of a competitor's products. However, one must consider whether or not the information the commercial is portraying is actual fact or a biased attempt to make their product appear superior to the competition. In other words, one must decide if the commercial is using card stacking propaganda to sell a product.
So what is card stacking propaganda? How is it used, particularly where advertising is concerned? Well, for starters, card stacking is a term that originated with gambling, where card players would try to stack the deck in their favor. So, from a business standpoint, card stacking propaganda is a way to manipulate information so that one product looks better than another. This is often done by leaving out important facts or by comparing evidence in an unfair manner. For example, a company may do thorough research about a particular topic or product. However, after looking through all the research, the company then uses only the information that supports and promotes the product. At the same time, the benefits of the product being advertised are often exaggerated. Testimonials by consumers that support the product are a frequently used form of card stacking propaganda in advertising.
Let's look at some examples of card stacking propaganda.
- When drug companies run an advertisement on TV or in a magazine, they often use testimonials. While the success stories are inspiring for prospective consumers, they often fail to reflect real statistics. When a drug company uses an abundance of positive testimonials, it appears that there is a good representation of the population as a whole; in truth this might not be the case. The company might have provided the testimonials to convince consumers that the product works for everyone, thereby blurring the lines between facts and the image the company wishes to present.
- Another great example can be found in politics. Suppose there is an orphanage that is going to be dedicated to young children desperately needing a home. At the time of the dedication, there is a lot of press covering the story. It will be viewed by millions on television. Knowing that this type of publicity is free and certain to grab viewers' attention, a political candidate 'just happens to be in the neighborhood' and swings by. They claim that being at the event was purely a coincidence, when in fact it was deliberately planned. In attending the event, they use the press as a means of campaigning for their own agendas or reelection.
Card stacking propaganda is a way to manipulated information so that one product looks better than another and happens when information is manipulated in order to make something look better. This often happens by leaving out important information, using only beneficial facts, or by means of testimonials. Whatever the method, card stacking propaganda gives the consumer the information 'they want to hear,' even if that information is not based on fact or statistics.