Frontline (1983– )
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The Persuaders 



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Episode credited cast:
Douglas Atkins ... Himself
Scott Donaton ... Himself - Editor of Advertising Age
Linda Eatherton ... Herself - Ketchum Public Relations
Stuart Ewen ... Himself - Hunter College
Richard Ford ... Himself
Rich Frank ... Himself - Former President of Walt Disney Studios
Bob Garfield ... Himself - Columnist for Advertising Age
John Hayes ... Himself - Chief Marketing Officer of American Express
Richard Howe ... Himself - Chief Marketing Officer of Acxion
Mitch Kanner ... Himself - Integrated Entertainment Partners
... Herself - Author
Nicholas Lemann ... Himself
Frank Luntz ... Himself - Luntz Research Companies
Tim Mapes ... Himself - Marketing Director of Song Airlines
Terry McAuliffe ... Himself - Chairman of Democratic National Committee


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Official Sites:

PBS [United States]



Release Date:

9 November 2004 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

The illusion of consumer control
3 October 2017 | by See all my reviews

Very good episode that focuses on the omnipresence of advertising and (specifically) the need to keep people engaged with the sellers' message. We're bombarded with ads, and at a certain point, we stop buying the promises of "whiter" or "cleaner", and now the objective is to nail potential buyers on an emotional level. The affective component. That we, as consumers, feel the need to belong and create meaning . . . which is the same reason for seeking a cult. I don't remember who in the episode said that, but that's an attention- grabber, by god.

But more than that, this introduces Clotaire Rapaille, a marketing consultant and easily the documentary's greatest character. A man who's in search of the "the 'reptilian hot buttons' that compel us to action." That the industry can be boiled down to lower human function. It's not insulting, because he's so likably French.

For a nuts-and-bolts view of nuts-and-bolts advertising, this is good stuff. But throw in an eccentric manipulator, and it takes on something else entirely.


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