The Fastest Route to “Us” Is a Well-Defined “Them”

Mitch Miller

“The reason kids like rock ‘n roll is their parents don't.” – Mitch Miller, Born Jul. 4, 1911.

In people's minds, there are always some people they find detestable – People so alien and “other” that anything and everything about those perceived enemies is to be resisted.

Mitch's example are teenagers who only like noisy trash music because it perplexes the authority figures they oppose on principle, and many record business folks have made fat stacks of (mom and dad's) cash selling rebellious attitudes and imagery in this manner.

In politics, you see myriad examples as well. Paint an idea as the possession or creation of the “enemy” and it becomes a pariah to be avoided at all costs. And vice versa, people will adopt a candidate simply because their mutual enemies seem to hate them. The actual policy positions don't matter, as long as the “right” people are pissed off.

And that is the lesson here.

Your prospects/audience have some groups and individuals that they find to be anathema.

And you can use this to get your marks to adopt your choice of ideas, and even buy your choice of products, simply by indicating that these disliked groups and individuals will HATE it or be harmed by it.

It all comes down to our tribal biology – we need strong connections with our immediate peer group. We look for ways to define an “us” and the simplest is often to have a solid idea of who comprises “them, who are not us”.

So find or designate who “they” are and you can drive the behavior and beliefs of those who long to be one of “us”.

Get it? Of course you do. You're not like these other assholes. They probably hate that we know this secret… HA HA TOO BAD, ASSHOLES! You're not cool like us!


Or are you… One of them?!

5 thoughts on “The Fastest Route to “Us” Is a Well-Defined “Them””

  1. This reminds me of a "joke/story".
    These two guys were begging on the street.
    The first guy had a sign that said: "I fought for this country. Please help a war veteran". The other guys' sign said: "I fought against this country. Please help a war veteran".
    People walking by noticed both signs and just couldn't believe that someone who fought against their country would have the audacity to beg for money and do it sitting right next to their vet. So they reached into their wallets and with much pleasure gave the money to their guy.
    At the end of the day, two guys who actually never fought on either side and were friends split the money and laughed at all the gullible people.

    1. I’ve heard a similar joke where there are two beggars outside the Vatican, one Jewish, one Christian. The Christian makes much more, it goes without saying.

      The pope comes around and feeling pity for the poorer Jewish beggar, offers him a ruby ring and advises him that perhaps the seat of the Roman Catholic Church is not the place to beg considering the presiding faith. That he not only won’t get many coins, but may well drive donations to his “competition” out of spite. After all, many Catholics at this time still blamed Jewish people for the crucifixion of Christ.

      The Jewish beggar calls to the “Christian” one saying “Hey Morty, look who comes to give marketing advice to the Morganstern brothers!”

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