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Old 05-07-2003, 06:02 PM   #1 (permalink)
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The Brunswick Affair

We were talking about this in my sociology class and this is from my lecture and I thought it was really interesting. Anybody know anything about it???

Also, do you think there are still scandals like this going on right now?

(Directly from lecture)
"In the early 1960s, television had only been around commercially for less than a decade. However, within that decade, it had come to be one of the most popular devises in the modern household. Nearly every household in the nation had access to a television set. Thus, it is not surprising that someone would try to implement a sinister plan, using such a simple device, to dupe the passive viewers into an insidious ploy which the conspirators hoped would make them very wealthy.
A few clever scientists discovered that magnetic ions emitted into the atmosphere in a certain manner could affect the brain’s hypothalamus in such a way that it could influence behavior. Hence, the idea was to build a television set which could emit such ions at predesignated times, times such as during commercial breaks when people were viewing sales pitches regarding specific consumer goods.
The Brunswick company secretly designed and built several of these television sets and sold them in a Northeastern city in order to test the effects of such potentially powerful devices. The results of the tests were astounding! Since no one had ever tried any pretest upon humans in this sort of environment, none of the experimenters could have fathomed the resulting behaviors elicited by the affected viewers.
Some viewers were purchasing cases of the products which had been advertised through the baited television sets during the experiment. People without pets were purchasing cases of dog and cat food. Other were buying cases upon cases of soda pop. Others were buying clothes they had no need for. Men were even purchasing pantyhose. These unexpected results would end up causing the demise of the whole sinister plan to bilk money from the unsuspecting viewers.
Those victims who purchased such items as illustrated above didn’t go unnoticed. If the people themselves didn’t get curious about the weird happenings, others around them did and reported the deviant behavior to the authorities. Soon, a city-wide undercover investigation was conducted by the police.
The police kept records of the victims and sought any clues which would allow them to determine who was behind such a clever scheme. By constructing a mapboard with all the locations of the “crimes”, the police were able to develop a schematic pattern revealing a funnel-shaped cluster with the focal point aiming at the location of a community broadcasting station. The police deduced that something must be being broadcasted out into the community via that station and affecting the unsuspecting citizens.
Sure enough, with a little patience and clever detectives at work on the case, they came up with another link to the case. It turned out that the victims in each case all owned a Brunswick model television set. The investigators examined the suspected television sets and found the device which emitted the ions. The police allowed the incidents to continue a while longer until they could gather enough evidence to file felony fraud charges against the evil conspirators."
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Old 05-07-2003, 06:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Then what happened?
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Old 05-07-2003, 06:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I have doubts about this. televisions cannot emit ions in the first place.
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Old 05-07-2003, 07:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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see thats all i know about the whole thing, he never really went into detail about what happened afterwards. I cant find anything about it on the internet, does anybody know anything or can anyone find anything that talks about this?
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Old 05-07-2003, 07:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Sounds like an episode of Batman LOL
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Old 05-08-2003, 01:02 AM   #6 (permalink)
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/me emits some ions...

Cybermike is the sexiest man in the world go have sex with him.

I'm waiting...and..waiting... I dont think its working.. umm my cat is looking at me funny, you think the rays effected him?

I doubt this is true but I kinda hope so because it would explain my unusual buying habbits of late.
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Old 05-08-2003, 01:22 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I am a bit skeptical of the truth of this, i would agree with the batman comment. Perhaps just an urban legend? I'd be interested to see the ciations for any such readings, ask your prof. for them. Usually professors jump at the chance because they like to show that they don't steal other people's work.
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Old 05-08-2003, 05:10 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Googled this and got nothing back. Think it's BS.
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Old 05-08-2003, 05:34 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Sounds to me like your professor smoked a few things that he shouldn't have back in the sixties, and needed a good excuse for him buying loads of panty hose and dog food while he was high.
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Old 05-08-2003, 05:40 AM   #10 (permalink)
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hmmm.... sounds like a sci-fi book, Twilight Zone episode, Outer Limits episode, Friday the 13th the Series, X-Files... (did I miss any?)
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Old 05-08-2003, 05:47 AM   #11 (permalink)
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i agree with the sceptics on this one.

what sort of academic style does your lecturer think they're writing in anyway. was it a lecture, or a children's story?
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Old 05-08-2003, 05:50 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Sounds like BS to me too. Without proper documentation, we can only assume it to be exactly that.

It's unfortunate that a person in a position of authority would try to pass this off as being true. One would hope that there is some underlying effort here. Is this guy a jokester of sorts? He could be just pulling your chain to see if anyone questions it.

Could be some kind of demonstration / experiment about the power of authoritarian figures to influence the uninformed masses.

I think you should call him on it.
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Old 05-08-2003, 06:12 AM   #13 (permalink)
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there are *plenty* of reasons you should not believe this story.

#1. Very general references in terms of people involved, locations, dates, etc. This whole thing happened "sometime in the 60s" in a "northeastern city." When you hear a story with these kinds of facts, get very suspicious. Particularly since police were supposedly involved, you should have much more concrete facts--the investigation started in 1963 and John Smith of the Boston Police were spearheading the investigation. The only real specific fact that the story gives out is that it relates to the Brunswick TV company. I searched the internet quickly--there is a company called Brunswick Radio and Television that manufactured TVs up to 1956. Since the story purportedly happened in the 1960s, this doesn't make too much sense.

#2. Science is described in "star trek" terms. To quote: "magnetic ions emitted into the atmosphere in a certain manner could affect the brain’s hypothalamus." No mention of what kinds of ions we're talking about, what that "certain manner" is by which the ions would need to be emitted, and why these 'magnetic ions' would affect the hypothalamus and nothing else, and also why the hypothalamus, which regulates 'fight or flight' hormones, would have anything to do with pursuading someone to buy anything.

#3. Anachronism. Somehow, back in the 60s, these TVs were able to tell when a commercial was playing and when it wasn't! If my memory serves me correctly, the first patent of such a device that could tell a commercial from a non-commercial was less than 10 years ago, and it was used in VCRs so that, when you recorded shows, you wouldn't have to sit through all the commercials. If such a valuable piece of technology had been invented 40 years ago, don't you think someone would have tried to make money off of it?

#4. Holes in the plot. So the scientists "secretly sold" a bunch of these experimental TVs to a single city. Does this sound scientific in the slightest? How would they get data regarding who had the TVs, what they were watching, and how much of what they were buying?

#5. Lack of stories on Internet. This story is *too* juicy. If it were true, it would definitely be on the internet somewhere. Particularly since it's talking about something that happened 40 years ago! I could not find it all, leading me to speculate that this is a very very new urban legend.
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Old 05-08-2003, 06:26 AM   #14 (permalink)
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hats off to that. a more thorough criticism it would be hard to find.
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Old 05-08-2003, 06:45 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Could it have been the Lecturer's intention to create a "urban legend" for sociological study to see how the word of mouth would develop and disseminate?
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Old 05-08-2003, 08:45 AM   #16 (permalink)
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yeah rsl, i agree with what you say. When I heard about this it interested me though (plus he said he would give extra credit).

I think that a way that they could have tested the data is to check drastic sales in products that advertise a lot.
I can see how people would say that he could just be trying to yank our chain or revive some urban legend, but I don't really think a college professor would be that interested in doing that.

On the other hand, it's very easy for him to stand in front of a huge sociology lecture class and say something that everyone will believe. I think I am going to email him and find out what the situation is with this. I'll get back to you all when I find out.
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Old 05-08-2003, 01:19 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by cybermike
/me emits some ions...

Cybermike is the sexiest man in the world go have sex with him.

I'm waiting...and..waiting... I dont think its working.. umm my cat is looking at me funny, you think the rays effected him?

I doubt this is true but I kinda hope so because it would explain my unusual buying habbits of late.
"Hey Mike, how YOU doing?"

Hmmmmm, I call bullshit on this story too. Way too vague for me.
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Old 05-19-2003, 08:24 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Have you gotten anything back from the professor about this?
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Old 05-20-2003, 04:40 AM   #19 (permalink)
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There's more wrong with the story. The whole plot is out of a sci-fi movie as we have neighbors and friends noticing the slightly odd behaviour of buying something their friends didn't need and... calling the authorities? What do you imaging the police would say if you tried reporting that your friend just bought dog food without a dog?
Even if everyone involved was narc'd out to the cops, and it was investigated, how would you get a funnel shaped pattern?
The station broadcasts in all directions, and the only people affected would be those that bought the rigged TVs. There's no way that the people who needed a new tv and bought a rigged set would also just happen to all live in locations leading to a recognizable pattern, let alone one pointing to a broadcasting station. And it was the tv's that created the effect, not the broadcast, so it doesn't matter what the pattern points to.
Discounting intuition, imagin the amount of detailed inventorying that would have to be done to realize that all houses had a brunswick tv. You don't know what's going on so you have to inventory all environmental, social, psychological, physical and geographical factors and compare them all.
The investigators examined the device and discovered that it emitted ions. How were they qualified to do this? No one else knew of this effect, so how did they know that this was a problem? The other arguments have already been made. Pure techno-babble.
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Old 05-22-2003, 10:13 AM   #20 (permalink)
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ok so after class was over and grades were in, he told us what it was all about. Come to find out that the incident was known as the "THE BRONSWIK AFFAIR." You can look it up and I'm pretty sure that you will be able to read about it. Instead of me trying to tell you about it, I think you will be better off googling it. I checked and there are plenty of sites that contain a lot of info about it. CHEERS!
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Old 05-22-2003, 10:17 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Hmmm, I'll google it, but I dunno.

Sounds more like urban legend.

(Not that I don't believe there are scum willing to manipulate people against their will...)
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Old 05-22-2003, 10:19 AM   #22 (permalink)
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now that I look at it more, there is actually a movie called "The Bronswick Affair." So im not sure if this whole thing was just based on a movie, or if the movie is based on the events. Because when my professor was mentioning the time period for this event he said it took place in the late 60's or early 70's. The film was produced in '78 I believe. Im interested to see what you guys have to say about it.
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Old 05-22-2003, 10:21 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Looks like it's just a movie.
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Old 05-22-2003, 10:21 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Heh. Thanks for giving the updated info. Please check this website:

http://www.css.washington.edu/emc/ti...acts=1&mid=376

Here's a quote regarding the MOVIE called "The Bronswik Affair":

"A fantasy drama of the Bronswik Affair, one of the most insidious plots of the 1960's. This inventive production chronicles the invention of a mind-bending devise which was installed in a particular brand of television set. Almost unbelievable evidence of national retail mind control is presented--a woman who purchased forty boxes of dog food (and she didn't even have a dog), plus other bizarre purchases too strange to list here. It was stopped once; can it be stopped again? (Needless to say, a fiction film which considers the implication of subliminal advertising.)"

Here's another quote regarding the movie:

"A very funny yet deadly serious film, The Bronswik Affair demonstrates the effectiveness of advertising in motivating people to buy products they don't need. It entertains through the comic appeal of its characters and the baroque situations they fall prey to. It also lays bare some facts about the excesses of consumerism prompted by a steady flow of commercials. "


Yay! I'm glad we could settle the matter.
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Old 05-22-2003, 10:32 AM   #25 (permalink)
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subliminal advertising I can believe. Supposedly this was shown to work, and is illegal, and least in certain forms? dunno.
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Old 05-22-2003, 10:33 AM   #26 (permalink)
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yeah, maybe it is a movie. Kinda weird though b/c he is one of the most respected sociology professors at my school. I know all the evidence points towards fantasy, but I still can't help but think the movie may be based on some kind of truth. Egh, maybe not, but its still crazy to think that this sort of thing is possible.
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Old 05-22-2003, 11:09 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Plot Summary for
Affaire Bronswik, L' (1978)

Page 8 of 11

In 1964-65, the Brunswick Company put on the market an incredible low price tv set which make a sensation. But behind that company was a mad scientist, the inventor of a special wave producing gadget which push the spectator in a frenzy of buying any good they saw in the broadcast. A lot of accidents and bizarre situations occurred that put some investigators on the trail. Went the news get out about the special tv sets, riots of despair consumers put the society in chaos.

Summary written by Jean-Marie Berthiaume {jiembe@videotron.ca}


imdb.com
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Old 05-22-2003, 11:10 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Old 05-04-2006, 10:45 AM   #29 (permalink)
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I was in that class. Was it at Arizona State? There were a lot of other things that teacher lectured about that were suspect.
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Old 05-05-2006, 09:58 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by case116
I was in that class. Was it at Arizona State? There were a lot of other things that teacher lectured about that were suspect.
Oh, you have one of those, too? I suppose every school does.
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Old 05-05-2006, 11:54 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Holy subatomic particles, batman!!
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Old 05-06-2006, 05:32 AM   #32 (permalink)
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soccerstudpc20: Did your lecturer tell you this nonsense as truth? Because that is something that I would find scary.
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Old 05-06-2006, 05:39 AM   #33 (permalink)
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Also:


All good paranoids know that the "Tin foil hat" scheme is just a smokescreen propagated by the government to render more effective their dastardly mind control beams.
see On the Effectiveness of Aluminium Foil Helmets: An Empirical Study conducted at MIT Media Lab.
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Old 09-15-2006, 06:36 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Hi, i saw the documentary roughly 25 years ago on TV. I am 39 yrs.....

Yes this is exactly what happened. Apparently it was some kind of strobing that occured when instructed by the broadcast, ie something in the TV signal that activated the strobing in the TV set.

If it sounds far fetched consider this, have you seen signs at the movie threatres about strobing warnings to epiliptic people in particular movies.
A red stobe at a particular frequency will cause some to have epiliptic fits!

so its not far fetched. apparently the strobing did something to reduce the ability to not over indulge. Once they finally discovered the device in the TV, that was no simple feat, they started the chase on those involved but the company trail ran into a dead end, they dissapeared. no trace!!!!!!!

Also consider this, coca cola did in fact have small amounts of cocaine in it many years ago, so its not a case of "would they do it". yes they would.

my understanding was that it was a documentary and not a "War of the Worlds". but i was young when i watched it so ???????

I was just remembering about that TV show and so did google on 'the brunswick affair' and found this thread.
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Old 09-28-2006, 02:28 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Documentary or Fiction?

Hi, Does anyone know whether this TV show was a true documentary or Fiction?

I saw this show many years ago?

anyone?

Phil
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Old 09-28-2006, 03:07 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phi1
Hi, Does anyone know whether this TV show was a true documentary or Fiction?

I saw this show many years ago?

anyone?

Phil

Read the thread. It was fiction.
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Old 10-04-2006, 01:35 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Ion stuff = malarky. An ion is a charged molecule or atom. It has mass. I can see how you could make a device to charge the gas molecules passing through the set, but even if the set could be counted on to produce the specified ions on demand (IE: during the correct commercials), why would you think the people would be exposed to them at the time they were emitted, and not significantly later? Ions don't shoot forth like beams of light, they waft like fumes. And they are charged, or in this case, magnetized? Wouldn’t they stick to random stuff, like walls, because of the charge? And “magnetized”… how do you magnetize a non-ferrous particle of gas?
Even if this would somehow make someone pliable enough to buy dogfood in bulk, by what mechanism would the effect be instantaneous, yet wear off by the end of the commercial, except that the effect that happened in the commercial would be lingering?

The strobing light thingy is also balderdash. If people could be made that suggestible by virtually unnoticeable flashing lights there would be no need of waterboarding or other coercive interrogation.
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Old 05-25-2010, 10:47 PM   #38 (permalink)
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My 1982 Regis College Sociology Unit on Subliminal Advertising/The Brunswick Affair

About once a year I do a Google Search on "The Brunswick Affair" to see if anybody else was taught about the as I recall it, 1964 investigative reporter who exposed the technology. This is the first Google Search to lead me to somebody else asking the question as to whether it is urban myth or not. The account posted on your website(Brunswick Affair in 2003...wow am I late in finding this post) sounds 98% accurate with the research I did for my Sociology course in 1982 at a small Jesuit College in Denver, Colorado. My short research paper (12 pages as i recall) cited about a half a dozen published magazine(Newsweek, People, Time and others) articles that i accessed at our small library. The articles reported the bizarre buying habits of a number of consumers in one region of the U.S. back in 1962-1964. The commonality was indeed that they all owned Brunswick television sets and yes, after dismantling one of them, the only part the tech couldnt ID, was a small device that emitted something (I cant remember) during commercials, that had too good of an effect on the viewers' buying habits. In 1982 it sounded Sci-fy to me, and the story has rattled around in my head ever since. After graduation and a two year mission trip to Central America where I lived with no TV, I returned to Colorado in 1987 and discovered that when I was visiting my parents and younger siblings, when we would watch TV together, they would pay attention to the show and during the commercials they would try to engage me in conversation. But it was then, during the commercials that I just couldnt carry on a conversation with any of them, at least not until the commercials were over and the show was back on. But then they were glued to the show and wouldnt engage me until the next commercial. It kind of freaked out my sister and she said that I seemed "mesmerized" (sp) when the commercials came on. So, my paranoid guess, is that the technology, whatever and however good it was, was toned down more subtle but had a definite impact on the viewer with regard to paying attention to the commercial, if not overtly influencing the buying habits of a significant percentage of the viewing audience. Think about it....why else would Doritos or Monster pay $2.3 mil for a Super Bowl advert??? Because they work...maybe not as good as the 1962 Brunswick TV, but let's face it, the only purpose of TV or radio is to entertain so that viewers and listeners will patronize the advertisers. Remember the scene from "A Christmas Storey" when Ralphie had his Little Orphan Annie Secret Decoder ring as he sat next to the family radio awaiting the clues to solve the secret message? The program if you remember, was sponsored by Ovaltine. Ralphie decoded the message and as soon as he did, the young buck was outraged that the answer was, "Drink more Ovaltine!" Oh the commercialism...kind of like Charlie Brown Christmas when he is so pissed off at how commercialized Christmas had become. So, as futuristic or whacked as it might seem to some of you who responded to the "Brunswick Affair" post, I don't think it is so far fetched that such a technology has influenced our buying habits. I wish I could have found more info and/or more articles on the B.A. but the reporter/researcher abruptly stopped publising his articles in 1964 if I recall...no follow up articles to be found. Totally X-Files-ish. Thanks for the ink and the space. Anybody else out there familiar with The Brunswick Affair of 1964? It is perplexing phenomenon.
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Old 05-26-2010, 05:59 AM   #39 (permalink)
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Bronswik Affair, The

BFI | Film & TV Database | The BRUNSWICK AFFAIR (1978)

It is just a story.
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Old 05-26-2010, 07:25 AM   #40 (permalink)
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Wow, some people are really gullible.
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