The card stacking propaganda is a technique which can be used in politics or marketing in order to appeal to the listeners by way of exaggerating positive fact and omitting negative information.


Card stacking is a form of propaganda, used in marketing, different advertisements, political speeches, and campaigns. Card stacking propaganda history originates from the process of stacking the deck of cards, which is usually done by magicians or during card games. Usually, these kinds of gambling activities are associated with cheating or fraud, and this meaning has been transferred to the card stacking propaganda definition. So the principle of the card stacking propaganda technique resides in using and even exaggerating some facts and evidence to bias an argument but omitting other, unbeneficial facts.

This term was invented in 1842, so this is not a new phenomenon, and card stacking propaganda examples can be found in different spheres, most commonly in business or politics, and can take different forms. For instance, card stacking propaganda examples in politics can be found in persuasive speeches, when politicians use some information for their benefits and create one-side testimonials, omitting something that can harm their reputation or jeopardize their career. Other than concealment of facts, there can be actions to prevent the opposition from being involved and heard, which is also considered card stacking. Only using the facts, supporting the argument is called Cherry-picking.

In advertisement card stacking technique has the same principle, relying on partially revealing the information about a certain product. The goal of marketing a product is always to sell, and to do so, the product’s positive sides are highlighted in a way that the customer will not think about the negatives it may have. Therefore, if the manufacturers know that some ingredients in a food item can be harmful or unlikable, they will attract attention to other ingredients, letting the customers see only the right side of the product. By doing so, advertisement creates a biased view of their product, not giving entirely correct information.

Card stacking propaganda advertisements rely on the evidence principle, which helps convince the customer to buy the product. The essence of this principle is enunciated in this sentence, “I cannot deny what I see with my own eyes.” This message reflects the idea that people are more inclined to trust something if they have visible, undeniable proof of it. For this reason, statistics can be given in advertisements, making information about the product more legit and believable. For instance, this advertisement said that new fries are healthier than the regular ones, but the fact that they still contain a lot of fat and calories, which is not healthy, is omitted.

Burger King Advertisements

Credible evidence can play a crucial role in alleviating concerns of potential customers, making them choose or do what the advertisement tells them to. Telling people all the significant facts of the product’s benefits spares them from doing extra research, prompting them to purchase it faster. The evidence principal is a strong technique, however, in the card stacking propaganda, it is skewed because evidence is only given for one side of the argument, ignoring other facts.

No matter what the sphere of application of card stacking is, it is still a type of propaganda, meaning it aims at manipulation people. The reasons for manipulation may vary, from making people vote for the ‘right’ candidate to buy more food items than necessary. This way, people being subjected to this widespread technique need to think more not about what is told to them, but what is hidden. The card stacking technique is the opposite of critical decision-making, which is why it is necessary to question information if the person wants to know the truth.