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Mitch

Hi Dave,

Great analysis of a very informative video.

How then do you suggest that a young company with a much more limited budget then the leading companies in their field use persuasion and these techniques ethically AND effectively?

To reach your target audience for 2 weeks in the way he reached those people would costs millions - literally.

Thanx and congratulations on your success.


Mitch

John

Hey Dave!

Great review! You always have good stuff that I can use right away!
I wonder if this was staged or not. I ask because I didn't get to see the steps in between and it looked too easy.
As well, it makes me think about my list and who on it could be converted to being(or already are) evangelists!

Dave Lakhani

Mitch -

Great question.

The answer is that you systematically condition your audience over time. You also understand ahead of time what moves them emotionally, where do they want to be that they are not today, what are their beliefs, where do they get their validation. Once you know these things you can begin to present your most relevant messages to them.

When you are selling, just remember to focus on eliciting beliefs and moving them to a highly charged emotional state.

The key point is to be consistent and repetitious in your communication and your linking strategies.

Think about green, the music and the linking that Derren used. When triggers are fired in succession there is a predictable outcome.

Signe

Dave,

Excellent analysis. The techniques are powerful and so useful in so many situations, not just marketing and selling.

However, I wish Derren Brown had not created a program that was so over-the-top manipulative because it feeds into an underlying fear among many (business people, professionals, and consumers alike)that marketing is really coercive, a form of persuasion that takes the decision making ability out of the hands of consumers and puts it squarely in the hands of the marketer. Independent professionals with whom I work, for example, tend to worry significantly about this and how they can be both ethical professionals and successful marketers.

BTW, thank you for including my earlier comment about the psychological effects of the Milgram experiments on participants.

Milgram didn't know what to expect when he did the original experiments ... but Derren Brown did. I think Brown was being reckless when he re-did the experiment.

When we're dealing with such powerful techniques, we have to be especially careful how we implement them. There are lots of great techniques that can help us achieve our goals. But there are also others, like Milgram's, that may be better left alone.

- Signe

John Overton

Hi Dave,

As I wrote to you earlier - the whole of this calls into question the use of manipulation by anyone who wishes to live more and more the "spiritual Life" (whatever that may mean, in the light of "whatever we believe in, IS!")

I was brought up in (non fundamentalist) Christian circles, and have taken time to investigate and understand the inner Jesus' message, which was, as I have received it, more about self-empowerment/the god within, than the "unworthiness principle" so much used to browbeat congregations into submission by fear.

I experience life as multidimensional, shamanic, the inner bringing forth the outer.
I believe it is possible to get people to do nearly anything; but my heart beats for showing them inner empowerment that will give strength in the very uncertain world of the nearest future.

I cannot see the point of bringing in large sums of money by duping people; if I "do well" by helping people become empowered, I sleep well at night. There is enough anguish in the world - it is time to heal it, before the deluge. By healing the anguish within and without, perhaps the deluge will turn into a torrent of Joy for many.

John O
www.christaltemple.com

Eugene Shield

Hi Dave,
I am reminded of my Vietnam experience ... I am reminded of the Milgram experiment which I learned about soon after Vietnam ...there are no doubt experiments that have gone well beyond Milgram since... unfortunately the only way for individuals to handle these "situations" is to know about them such as this video ... we all do not have the opportunity to study this type of persuasion ... my hope is that people do not have to actually experience them to develop their own antidote ... but then ...

...last night I attended a very long-standing ethical company's launch of a new product... which unbeknown to the audience also doubled as a softening-up for the impending announcement of the sale of the company (I, as a member of the audience was not supposed to know, but did ... long story, while others attending did not and will not for another week or so)... so all of the bells and whistles on setting up the targets (the members of the audience) for me, clearly demonstrated the manipulation as in this video ... which I only saw today after the meeting last night.But they (the men in the position of authority) had it down to a "T" ... maybe they saw the video ?

Persuasion for might, right, and manipulation is alive and well ... unfortunately.

I came away from last nights meeting angry, my wife of nearly 40 years couldn't understand why... I come away from the video very sad. I agree with Signe in that the people in the video will not nonchalantly get over their experience as easily as a quick couple of psycho/hypnosis sessions and personally saying it was a positive experience for them isn't really going to cut it (it's years down the track that will be the problem .. is Derren going to be around then to pick up the pieces?)... I hope for their sake it IS the end of it now, but life is always stronger than fiction, and I hope those of you in the persuasion control seat do it while thinking about YOUR little girl at home maybe seeing you or your work on TV etc ... bouquets to that Dad at least. Maybe I'm just getting too old or too out of touch but ethical people/companies when faced with danger or uncertainities seem to more and more these days opt for manipulation ... actually... I hope I am too old and out of touch(for the sake of my grandchildren).

Eugene ..... and yes, I do have an underlying fear of the coercive... been there, had that.

Greg Burton

Both the show and your commentary are interesting, Dave. What is of greatest interest to me is out side of marketing per se, or even cults, but in the realm of extreme politics.

Among other things, Derren demonstrated how to create a screen of "plausible deniability". Clearly, to those who watch it, he's conspired to create a series of armored car robberies. But he never says "rob an armored car" - he can be literally honest when asked why he convinced people to rob the car - "I never told them to do it."

We can see the results of this in our anti-terrorist priorities. While the bulk of terrorist attacks in the US have been of domestic origin, there are no "groups" on the watch list. Every act was committed by a "lone gunman".

Kinda makes you think, eh?
Greg


Eugene Shield

Hi Dave,
I am reminded of my Vietnam experience ... I am reminded of the Milgram experiment which I learned about soon after Vietnam ...there are no doubt experiments that have gone well beyond Milgram since... unfortunately the only way for individuals to handle these "situations" is to know about them such as this video ... we all do not have the opportunity to study this type of persuasion ... my hope is that people do not have to actually experience them to develop their own antidote ... but then ...

...last night I attended a very long-standing ethical company's launch of a new product... which unbeknown to the audience also doubled as a softening-up for the impending announcement of the sale of the company (I, as a member of the audience was not supposed to know, but did ... long story, while others attending did not and will not for another week or so)... so all of the bells and whistles on setting up the targets (the members of the audience) for me, clearly demonstrated the manipulation as in this video ... which I only saw today after the meeting last night.But they (the men in the position of authority) had it down to a "T" ... maybe they saw the video ?

Persuasion for might, right, and manipulation is alive and well ... unfortunately.

I came away from last nights meeting angry, my wife of nearly 40 years couldn't understand why... I come away from the video very sad. I agree with Signe in that the people in the video will not nonchalantly get over their experience as easily as a quick couple of psycho/hypnosis sessions and personally saying it was a positive experience for them isn't really going to cut it (it's years down the track that will be the problem .. is Derren going to be around then to pick up the pieces?)... I hope for their sake it IS the end of it now, but life is always stronger than fiction, and I hope those of you in the persuasion control seat do it while thinking about YOUR little girl at home maybe seeing you or your work on TV etc ... bouquets to that Dad at least. Maybe I'm just getting too old or too out of touch but ethical people/companies when faced with danger or uncertainities seem to more and more these days opt for manipulation ... actually... I hope I am too old and out of touch(for the sake of my grandchildren).

Eugene ..... and yes, I do have an underlying fear of the coercive... been there, had that.

biren shah

i don't see any difference between derren and dave.
and neither do i feel that good intention in using dangerous things make the 'use' right.
dave, you see (from Dr. Signe's comments) the potentialy destructive, or atleast disruptive, effect of derren's manipulations. who can say that our clients, manipulated (even if it is for their good - AS WE SEE IT) by us, won't feel similar emotional disruption?

and if you say that you are exposing the power of /persuasion'... so that people can be warned... i see it as dropping a n-bomb to let people know of its destructive powers.
war, is not the answer to end war.

however, if you are clear of USING people and their vulnerability (for their good, your good, or planets good), and are not fooloing yourself... i feel it is okay.
each of us have our own ways - ways we think and feel are the best.
all we need to be sure is, we consciously, and in full knowledge, take that path.

what i mean is, manipulkating people may not be 'bad'... atleast not as bad as fooling yourself and others that you are being a saint or a messiah.
then... the game becomes interesting and fun.

love
biren

Dave Lakhani

What a lot of great comments. Here is what some of you may find surprising.

I don't really find what Derren did manipulative in the negative sense at all for several reasons.

First, all of the participants were willing volunteers who wanted to learn these techniques and Derren did fulfill that requirement.

Second, they were well aware of what he had done on television in the past and that he was filming them, their guard should have been up.

Third, they were carefully screened and scanned in advance and during the event, they were selected much the same way that comedy hypnotists selected their participants, it is based on susceptibility and willingness.

As to me an Derren being alike, I guess that could be true in some respects though he is a magician, something that I find very interesting but have never committed the time to learning. In terms of our ability to create a series of events that create programming or take advantage of existing programming in humans for the purpose of influencing or persuading, then we are much more alike to be sure.

At the end of the day, the thing that you have to remember as that at some level, any attempt to change someone else's behavior is manipulative in the truest sense of the word. However, again it comes down to intent. And, Darren's intent was not to get people to do something illegal, everything was carefully planned and staged. It was to get people to take an action that they were predisposed to doing and to further condition them to the point that they'd take it when a very specific series of events happened.

I doubt many would say that this is manipulative if for example he'd done exactly the same thing and gotten them to create a business or raise a million dollars from charity doing wild stunts. Perception also strongly plays into the idea of manipulation.

For those of you interested in seeing how a lot of the things that he does works you'll find a great deal of information here:
https://www.channel4.com/entertainment/tv/microsites/M/mindcontrol/trick/phone.html
With thanks to Thomas Humpton for sending over this link.

I hope you'll continue discussing and posting, this is very interesting stuff!

Eugene Shield

Hi Dave,
Good to read your last post .... however I have to disagree regarding your "several reasons" that Darren was not manipulative. Regardless of what Darren's history was, the final four did not know what was in store for them (maybe some inkling I guess) but that did not make it the less traumatic for them when they were caught at the end ... one was at least hyperventilating ... in other words they had been taken to the emotional state of being scared shitless ... sorry but there is no other way to describe it ... and Derren in his quest for a sellable show (irrespective if money changed hands or not)took these selected people to the brink for his benefit ... not their's. No doubt there can be many positive arguments for "scientific" experiments/shows/selling in this way including the Milgram experiments ... but don't you think this the same thinking that developed and fueled the cold war? ... now the North Koreans seem intent on this thinking.

You see the " baddies" first get your trust ... then they manipulate and intentionally betray that trust and on and on to ever increasing escalation. Can the dictatorship of N. Korea happen for example in the US ?

Correct me if I'm wrong but as I recall the Milgram experiment was based on an argument that a type of Hitlerism could rise up in the US ... the "against" argument being that the US simply did not have the right breeding ground for it. The "for" argument being that given the "right authority" and manipulation that it could. And of course those "for" it were proved right. However the 50% result astounded both sides ... so does a rotten apple spoil the barrel? ... how about 50% of the apples being rotten, or even only 10 % ? ... too simple an analogy? ...does a butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon ultimately cause a storm somewhere else in the world?

How would you use this info ethically and effectively? ... my humble suggestion for what it is worth ... don't do it to betray people's trust .... do it for their benefit, not your's ... design it always thinking that your loved ones just may be caught on the receiving end... design it so that you and no one will be scared at the end of the day.

Judy "NextDay-Copy" Kettenhofen

I've watched "The Heist" several times now, each time picking up a bit more.

The fellow who decided he was a "good person" was also the star shoplifter as well as the one who wondered if there shouldn't be more switches in the Milgram experiment (say what?)

Harlan Goerger

Dave, appreciate your review. It has been very interesting studing the persuasion tools you provide as well as Hogan, Caldani and others.

As I look at the Hiest and others comments, I try to understand the foundation that gets the ball rolling. How accurate is this take:

The intial group came from a newspaper ad with Derren's name attached. He is well known in the UK with almost a mysterious if not magic like appeal. He exibits extreme confidence in what he can do and people read and sense this.

My question becomes, could the Heist have even gotten started without Derrens level of credability, mystery and confidence level? Without these 3 elements in place could anyone have made this happen?

I find that without these 3 elements in some form that the balance of persuasion tools become parlor tricks and provide short term results.

Would it be good advice to assure these 3 foundation blocks be a part of any persuasion attempt?

Best regards and thanks for your direction.

Shel Horowitz, Ethical Marketing Expert

Dave, I'm glad to see you label this video "dangerous"--it is! It's also, as you note, a very powerful example of persuasion in the absence of ethics.

When you first sent the video link, I posted this to my blog after watching it:
https://principledprofit.com/good-business-blog/2006/09/25/disturbing-uses-of-persuasion/

In that post, I speculate that this dark, unethical persuasion is exactly why the present US government does much of what it does.

It is time for marketers with a social conscience to point out exactly what's happening "behind the curtain." Gerge Lakoff is about the only one who's been able to get that message to any kind of a mass audience.

_________________________________________________
Shel Horowitz - copywriter, marketing consultant, author, speaker
Affordable, ethical, effective marketing materials and strategies
"Ethical, cooperative businesses t h r i v e and p r o s p e r"

Sign the Business Ethics Pledge - Help Change the World
https://www.business-ethics-pledge.org

https://www.principledprofit.com / https://www.frugalmarketing.com
Award-winning author: Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First
Blog on Corporate/Government/Marketing Ethics:
https://www.principledprofit.com/good-business-blog/
_________________________________________________

Pierre Provost

The video by Derren Brown is a replica of Stanley Milgram and Phil Zimbardo's experiment in real life without a control group.

Television, movies and the media in general show only a glimpse of reality as perceived by each one of us. A camera does not convey the true story, you make up your own.

Remember that the editing software is a great persuasive and manipulative tool in the hands of an artist. Very convincing!

I had never heard of Derren Brown before watching the movie, The Heist.

Does the media condition the mass to behave like they do or is it an educational tool to empower your life ? Do you have the choice ?

As I talk about it in my eBook, Tune In To The Genius Within, you can do miracles with the media.

For example in one experiement carried out by Drs. Sandra and Milton Ball-Rokeach, they did a split test on values and fund-raising sollicitations. The results are all explained in their book, The Great American Values Test. In fact, their results are more valid than in the Derren Brown experiment I believe.

All the screening and conditioning Derren Brown does are not very scientific. There is a lack of random selection, number of participants, statistical analysis, peer reviews, etc.

He plays right into the hands of television pawn brokers who sell their wares and thrive on consumer ratings.

Consumer beware of the people who dress in black, lie to you and worst... smile when they achieve their outcome (or should I say income !

Just Imagine Your Success,

~ Pierre Provost
https://www.TheSuccessProgram.com

P.S. Watch what love is truly all about at...

https://www.motivational-story.com/love.html

Jason Davidson

Hi Dave,

I'm a big fan of Derran Brown and love all his work. I'm glad to read that I had worked out many of the techniques he used and also had my suspicions that he wasn't showing us everything, probably to protect against anyone with less than genuine motives reverse engineering this feat.

I like the way you have given example of how it is possible to draw parallels to every day sales and marketing strategies and techniques.

Readers of your blog might also have an interest in my blog call Total Influence And Persuasion. It’s in it's early stages just now but I'll be adding to it regularly.

Thanks

Jason D

Clint

Thanks for the analysis Dave. I tried clicking on the video link but couldn't find it - is it still working?

If you want to see more of Derren there are some great clips on www.youtube.com

I will provide some links below:

https://youtube.com/results?search_query=derren+brown+conversion
(check out conversion 1 & 2)

https://youtube.com/results?search_query=derren+brown+zombie
(this is very entertaining)

https://youtube.com/results?search_query=derren+brown+scam
(the power of suggestability)

https://youtube.com/results?search_query=derren+brown+gift

carolyn

sorry but i do believe in mind control not at all no way it will take a lot to make a believer in me .... i do hope your honest to eaither return or pay and explain because if not then thats illegal now if your all so great as you claim then it should be easy for you to know why i do not beleive in mind control..... give me an answer if you dare if correct i may think of changing my mind.............

Sailor

Something that interests me is to what extent this kind of program can work as an innoculation against similar persuasion. Can we by teaching people how they might react in certain circumstances, help them avoid situations in which mind control might be used against their self-interest. extreme religious indoctrination being one example

Dark Sociologist

This is an amazing video. Crazy Jedi mind tricks!

I wonder if once you learn how to consciously persuade yourself through conditioning, you can overcome the suggestion of others.

Lately, I've been trying to enter a Wake Induced Lucid Dream and also have been practicing consciously entering highly emotional states.

My thoughts are if you can learn to consciously direct your subconscious, then you can pretty much do anything you want.

Another thing that I've been thinking about lately is morality associated with marketing. It is extremely powerful in motivating consumers to act, but is that a good thing or a bad thing? I think marketing is agnostic and it only amplifies the morality of the user.

Clenbuterol

The problem is really important if it caused so bright discussion

Jim Allen

Sorry to burst your bubble guys but I know someone on the production team. The final participants who did the heist were actors. Always remember Brown is a magician not an NLP expert or psychologist.

Jim

Dave Lakhani

Jim -

Agreed, he is a magician and this is television and it is likely those people knew what they were doing. There is also a very strong argument that hypnosis only occurs because people are acting and want to please. Who do you know on his production staff? I've met him a few times now and he is an interesting guy. He has studied NLP extensively, as well as hypnosis etc.

Regards,
Dave

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