Folie a deux: Induced psychosis as a marketing tool

March 16, 2011 - 5 minutes read

Since my 7 years old notebook decided not to cooperate with me anymore, using the meanest methods like turning off without saving the auto recovery file, I decided to terminate my loyalty to Fujitsu Siemens and try out Mr. Jobs’ Apple. I went to the online yellow pages store and found a great offer for used iPad. I dialed the number and the conversation went something like this:

–          Hello, I see that you’re selling used iPad, so I wanted to ask..

–          Oooooooooh, sorry, I’m so sorry, I already sold it. I’m so sorry

–          Well, ok, tha…

Just when I wanted to hang up, the guy started in turbo mode:

–          Listen, I sold it. I’m so sorry (again sorry), but listen, if you want, I can help you find another one. I ordered the new iPad and I can’t wait for it to arrive, so I know how you feel. Maybe I can help you.

He knows how I feel? WTF?! He continued:

–          Maybe I can find you a great deal, I will help you, don’t worry.

Worry? Help me? I don’t even know you man, what’s wrong with you?


He talked about iPad for ten minutes the same way that young parents talk about their newborn babies. It was like he gave his iPad to adoption, not that he sold it. Ten minutes after we finished our conversation, he sent me 7 SMSs with different iPad offers from random people and two days later, he called to see if I bought iPad. When I told him that I decided not to buy iPad, but some PC instead, he was so devastated that I’m almost certain – he cried a tear.

The obsession of Mac users and Apple fans goes too far. “Ten percent of the market share, ninety percent of the crazy”. Confirmed.

I thought about the lovemark brands such as Apple and I realized that it simply cannot be explained through structural breakdown analysis. Let’s try:

–          They have a product: a computer, not a space rocket. The computer is even slower and more complicated to use than average PC produced in the same period. If you live in Europe, you will have more trouble using Mac than trying to devide a number with zero.

–          They provide customer’s service, they don’t really massage your back and powder your nose for you

–          They are even overpriced, so let’s not even talk about that

–          Their distribution is … ok, I can go on with this forever.

But let me tell you, they have an X factor.

The X factor is the reason why this poor girl engraves Apple logo to her arm. The X factor is why this guy who sold iPad is as sad as his puppy died.

I mentioned in previous blogs how they initiate this X factor, but let me tell you how it spreads around. If you read Malcolm Gladwell’s “Tipping point”, you might have come up with some conclusions, but I am quite certain that there is even more than just mirroring to good examples. This is contrary.

The term that you need to remember is Induced psychosis. This kind of psychosis is something like an epidemic psychosis: when you spend a time with a person who is delusional, you can catch a “disease” and start to share the delusion with him or her. That is what French call “folie a deuex”, or Insanity for two. Like when you are at restaurant and you order pizza for two, well here, you get a piece of pizza insanity and you don’t even realize it.

I am not saying that Apple fans are psychotic, but the similarity is stunning.

You can find trays of induced psychosis every day. Just think about it. How many times have you accepted others’ insane ideas without questioning them. If your mom thinks that tap water will ruin your kidneys and start to buy bottled water, you just go with it. Like a zombie, you poor yourself bottled water and you don’t even think about checking up online that maybe tap water is better for you since it is not that heavy with minerals, salts etc. Then, if your personal trainer tells you to drink 3 liters of water every day, you find yourself drinking the water like a camel, without considering that the extra amount of liquid in your body can raise your blood pressure. We all live with other people’s insanities and they are contaminating us with delusional ideas every day. It’s enough that one persuasive person gets a distort idea and the epidemic starts. Our shields are off and our brains are on auto pilot, our emotions navigate our decisions and that is why I decided back to buy iPad! I’m an Apple Zombie and I have a place for a great tattoo. I’ll call my yellow pages friend:

“Oh man, have I got news for you!”