Suggested by Sacha:

Edward Bernays

“One of the central concepts Bernays proposes is not to sell a product, but instead to sell the need for a product. When discussing selling pianos, for example, he writes that a successful propagandist should “endeavor to develop public acceptance of the idea of a music room in the home.”[1] In this way, a consumer’s decision to buy a piano will be a result of enlightened self-interest; because the propagandist has inspired the consumer to set up a piano room, the consumer will desire a piano as a means to fulfill the promise of that space.”

“The engineering of consent is the very essence of the democratic process, the freedom to persuade and suggest.”

The idea of “Engineering of Consent” was motivated by Freud’s idea that humans are irrational beings and are motivated primarily by inner desires hidden in their unconscious. If one understood what those unconscious desires were, then one could use this to one’s advantage to sell products and increase sales.

The techniques applied developing the “consumer lifestyle” were also later applied to developing theories in cultural commodification; which has proven successful in the later 20th century (with diffusion of cultures throughout North America) to sell ethnic foods and style in popular mainstream culture by removing them from geography and ethnic histories and sanitizing them for a general public.

Ernest Dichter applied what he dubbed “the strategy of desire” for building a “stable society,” by creating for the public a common identity through the products they consumed; again, much like with Cultural Commodification, where culture has no “identity,” “meaning,” or “history” inherited from previous generations, but rather, is created by the attitudes which are introduced by consumer behaviors and social patterns of the period. According to Dichter: “To understand a stable citizen, you have to know that modern man quite often tries to work off his frustrations by spending on self-sought gratification. Modern man is internally ready to fulfill his self-image, by purchasing products which compliment it.”

(All from Wikipedia)