How many advertising messages are you exposed to a day? Take a moment to think about. Billboards, TV ads, radio ads, web ads, branding on any packaged goods, clothing, objects all over your home (that iPhone sitting next to you), iconography, texts ads…it goes on and on.

The estimates vary from 247 commercial messages a day to over 3,000.

You are constantly being bombarded with messages to buy things, look a certain way, eat a particular food, listen to the right music. All through your day, other people are trying to decide for you how you should think.

Take Back Your Brain

The most precious resource any of us has is time. Take Back Your Brain! wants to help you spend more of it doing things that are important to you by exploring a potentially radical idea: What if, rather than simply consuming advertising, you use the industry’s own tactics to seize back a piece of the saturated media space around you for yourself?

1. Learn the techniques professionals use to persuade us and borrow any that seem useful.

Advertisers have spent billions of dollars developing and testing ways to influence us. There’s no need to repeat that research since much of it is published and free for the taking. There are clues in many other human hacking systems as well – psychology, religion, propaganda, politics, social engineering and sales, to name a few.

2. Use our personal technology tools to make effective ads aimed at influencing ourselves.

Our brains respond powerfully to pictures because our relationship to visual imagery is much more ancient even than language. Advertisers know this, and make sure your environment is saturated with images that remind you to use their products. How well do you think a hand-written item scrawled on a to-do list is able to compete with an emotion-driven focus-group-tested visual extravaganza like a Super Bowl ad?

3. Use personal technology again to automate delivery of those messages.

Look around you. Unless you’re in a wilderness area you probably see dozens of advertising messages right now on a variety of surfaces. But unless you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, none of them are for goals you have chosen for yourself.
TBYB! wants us to get our own messages into the game. I show you how to use a wide range of media to deliver advertising messages to yourself, from sticky notes and 3×5 cards to your computer and cell phone. The goal is to get messages that advocate for our own goals into the media stream that surrounds us.

Unfortunately, the website is no longer being updated with new content, but there is a back log of 3 years of articles on self-advertising. Plus there is still an active community applying the techniques and helping others.

While there are tons of great articles about advertising to yourself over at TBYB! In particular I’d suggest looking at: Make an ad for yourself and play with delivery systems.

Personally, I often use my whiteboard. I have a large, wall-sized whiteboard in my office which I use to advertise to myself. Certainly I use it for planning out my day, diagramming, etc. But I also try to devote a a chunk of it to “ad” space. I also go out of my way to make the “ad” (study UCC, write blog entry, work on hip flexibility for lifting and running, focus on solutions not problems, etc.) catchy and flashy. Not just writing it up there but drawing a little diagram, writing in large block letters with some shading,  stick figures acting things out, etc.

Everyday there are probably hundreds of people trying to get your attention and make you focus on what they want you to think. Fight back. Make at least one ad you see everyday be one of your own choosing.

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