The 20 Most Successful Propaganda Efforts of All Time

Oh man, you won’t believe some of the crazy propaganda efforts that people totally bought into and still believe today! It’s, like, mind-blowing how successful these campaigns were.

One Redditor asked, “Which propaganda effort was so successful, people still believe it today?”

This thread received insights from many users, and we have compiled the top comments for you.

1. Diamonds

Beauty Fashion Glamour Girl Portrait over Black
Image Credit: Subbotina via

We all think they’re these rare, precious gems. But guess what? The whole diamond scarcity thing? Total hogwash! It was all cooked up by De Beers, a big diamond company, to make us think diamonds are super rare and, therefore, crazy expensive.

A discerning Reddit user commented, “Diamonds are rare and expensive”

Someone else added, “DeBeers had an effective monopoly on diamonds back in the day and created a market for them while heavily controlling and restricting supply.”

2. KFC On Christmas

Kiev, Ukraine - September 21, 2019: KFC chicken on a red background.
Image Credit: Pavlovska Yevheniia/Shutterstock.

KFC, the fast-food joint, turned Christmas into a finger-licking holiday in Japan. How, you ask? With a catchy ad campaign featuring Santa and a bucket of fried chicken.

One said, “Apparently, in the 80’s, KFC ran a Christmas-themed ad in Japan, and to this day, the Japanese eat KFC on Christmas.”

Another person agreed to it and said, “I can confirm. I was in Tokyo in 2014 Xmas holiday, and the amount of Japanese Santas in the bullet train and the lines of KFC is insane. The whole train smelt of crispy KFC chicken. It was both hilarious and odd at the same time.”

3. Coca-Cola

ATLANTA, GA, USA - DECEMBER 04: A glass full of Coca Cola painted in a old wall in Atlanta, Georgia on dec 04, 2013. Atlanta is the home of Coca Cola.
Image Credit: Luciano Mortula – LGM/Shutterstock.

A Reddit user wrote, “Santa Claus is wearing red clothes because of Coca-Cola ad campaign. They wanted to increase sales during winter, so now everyone associates Santa Claus with red clothes and drinks cola for Christmas.”

Another debunked, “That one’s an urban legend, the popular image of Santa Claus was well-known before the Coca-Cola campaign.”

Now, when we think of Santa, we see him in that classic red suit, all thanks to a soda company’s marketing brilliance.

4. Baby Birds

Ruby-throated hummingbird hovering on a butterfly bush flower.
Image Credit: Marietta Loehrlein/Shutterstock.

One Redditor stated, “That touching a baby bird will make its mother reject it. LIES. PUT THE BABY BACK IN THE NEST IF YOU CAN.”

Someone else added, “Yeah, it turns out most birds have a very weak sense of smell. This is why owls are the number one predator of skunks. They don’t care if they get sprayed; they can’t really smell it. They definitely won’t smell you on the baby and reject it.”

Seriously, who came up with that? It’s like an old wives’ tale gone wild. There’s zero scientific proof, but somehow, this idea got stuck in our brains.

5. Carrots

Close up portrait gardener with bunch of carrots in hand in garden.
Image Credit: mimagephotography/Shutterstock.

A discerning Reddit user commented, “Carrots make your vision better.”

Another person agreed to it and said, “The origin of this is even more interesting. During WW2, the British developed the first practical radar system and used it with great success to detect Luftwaffe bombers.

In an attempt to hide the technology from the Germans, the British government started a propaganda campaign pedaling the idea that eating carrots helped their RAF fighter pilots see better when in fact, the still-secret radar was responsible for the improved interception capability. The myth stuck.”

Sneaky, right? But now, we’re all munching on carrots, thinking we’ll develop night vision or something.

6. Sugar Companies

Portrait of young woman drinking with a black colored straw from a glass filled with sugar cubes Junk food, unhealthy diet, too much sugar on drinks, nutrition concept closeup.
Image Credit: A-photographyy/Shutterstock.

You won’t believe this, but back in the day, sugar companies paid off the media to point the finger at fat as the culprit behind our expanding waistlines.

A Reddit user wrote, “Sugar companies paid the media to say that fat made you fat. I mean, all food in extreme amounts will put you on the heavy side, but sugar is the true villain here.”

Someone else replied, “This is a good one. Then they made “diet” meals with no fat but heaps of sugar.”

7. Recycling Plastics

The man used too many plastic bags that they filled up the entire kitchen.
Image Credit: Elizaveta Galitckaia/Shutterstock.

Big corporations managed to play the ultimate blame game, making us, the innocent consumers, feel responsible for all the plastic waste. They’re the ones producing tons of plastic, but hey, it’s somehow our job to deal with it.

One said, “Recycling. Plastics in particular. Corporations managed to defer the responsibility of the waste their product produces onto the consumer and to governments to improve their bottom line.”

Another person agreed with it and said, “Sweden circumvented human nature by forcing companies to be responsible. See, that’s the way to do it.”

8. Knuckle Cracking

Anxious girl fidgeting with hands cracking knuckles.
Image Credit: Bricolage/Shutterstock.

A Reddit user wrote, “Knuckle cracking gives you arthritis.”

Someone else added, “My parents used to tell me that every day, yet I did it every day. So far, no arthritis”

You can crack those knuckles to your heart’s content, and you won’t wake up with arthritis the next day.

9. Toothpaste

Ready for clening teeth, toothbrush and toothpaste close up.
Image Credit: didesign021/Shutterstock.

We’ve all seen those commercials where they squeeze out this huge, long ribbon of toothpaste on the brush, right? Well, guess what? You don’t need that much toothpaste! The toothpaste companies just want you to use more so you buy their products faster.

One Redditor stated, “That big curvy line of toothpaste with a Dairy Queen curl we’ve seen in every toothpaste ad. You don’t need more than a pea-sized smear of paste on your brush.”

Someone else replied, “What’s funny is that this was in the instructions on the back of toothpaste tubes. Now it’s just making you waste toothpaste, so you’ll have to buy it more often.”

10. Flat-Earthers

woman wearing glasses, raising glasses with two fingers in surprise.
Image Credit: South House Studio/Shutterstock.

Can you believe that in this age of mind-boggling technology and space exploration, there are still people out there insisting the Earth is as flat as a pancake?

A discerning Reddit user commented, “Columbus was the only person who believed the world was round. Literally, everyone who could read knew that the earth was round. Nobody thought Columbus would ‘fall off the edge’; they thought his crew would starve to death before reaching the East Indies…and he totally would have.”

Another person agreed to it and said, “This one always annoys me. People have known the earth is round for at least 3000 years.”

11. Using Our Brain

young pretty blonde woman scheming and conspiring, thinking devious tricks and cheats, cunning and betraying.
Image Credit: Kues/Shutterstock.

A Reddit user wrote, “Humans use only 10% of their brains.”

Someone else added, “The propaganda is that humans are wasting 90% of their brains. The conventional message does not read, “Humans use 10% of their brains at a time.” It would indeed be “crazy” to use 100% of your brain 100% of the time.”

If that were true, we’d be walking around like zombies from a bad sci-fi movie. Our brains are busy 24/7, controlling everything from breathing to binge-watching Netflix.

12. Bulls

Bullfighting is a traditional game of Thailand.
Image Credit: Warida Chamchong/Shutterstock.

You’ve probably seen it in cartoons or movies – matadors waving their red capes in front of angry bulls. Well, guess what? Bulls aren’t colorblind, but it’s the movement of the cape that ticks them off, not the color.

One said, “Bulls hate the color red (Bulls are colorblind; they react to movement, not color).”

Someone else replied, “And the sheet is red so that the audience would not notice it getting bloody (because they poke the bull to make it angry and aggressive)…”

13. Napoleon Bonaparte

Statue of Napoleon Bonaparte as First emperor of France, Ajaccio, island of Corsica.
Image Credit: Evannovostro/Shutterstock.

Ah, Napoleon Bonaparte, the pint-sized conqueror, right? Wrong! Napoleon was actually of average height for his time, about 5 feet 7 inches, which was pretty standard back then.

One Redditor stated, “That Napoleon Bonaparte was short. He was 5 feet and 7 inches tall, which might be a little bit on the shorter side by modern standards, but it was around the average height for people back then. The idea that he was short actually came from a British propaganda campaign to mock him.”

Another person agreed to it and said, “The other thing was that he was often surrounded by Imperial Guards, whose minimum height was 5’10”, but were usually much taller. So yeah, he did look short in that context.”

14. Dogs

French bulldog posing outside in green background. Purebreed bulldog standing.
Image Credit: Eve Photography/Shutterstock.

A Reddit user wrote, “People still believe dogs don’t see in color, when in fact they do. They see less of it than humans do, but they most definitely see in color.”

Another added, “It’s a problem with the word colorblind. People think it means that someone can’t see color .. like at all, when in fact, this is rarely the case. Colorblind usually means someone can’t see certain colors or can’t see certain colors as well as other colors – but they still see other colors just fine.”

Dogs, wonderful creatures that they are, can indeed see colors, just not as vividly as humans.

15. MSG

Angry woman gesturing and looking at camera near fresh vegetables in kitchen
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A discerning Reddit user commented, “MSG will kill you and is horrible to ingest, “I’m allergic to MSG””

Someone else added, “Really, it is delicious, and your body produces it naturally while breaking down regular salt. Some people do have sodium issues, and it may not be good for them. But that’s a tiny micro-percentage of people.”

Turns out, there’s no scientific evidence supporting the idea that MSG is harmful.

16. Breakfast

woman eating granola for breakfast
Image Credit: rossandhelen via

One said, ““Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” is an ingenious marketing slogan.”

Another person agreed to it and said, “The catchphrase is widely credited to Dr. John Harvey Kellogg and fellow 7th Day Adventist James Caleb Jackson and their efforts to promote breakfast cereal.

Dietitian Lenna Cooper used this phrase in a 1917 article for Good Health magazine. And, lo and behold, the very Michigan sanitarium directed by Kellogg and serving his cereal creation published that magazine. Kellogg created his breakfast cereal in a religiously-motivated effort to save us from our carnal impulses.”

Some people thrive on breakfast, others not so much. It’s all about what works best for you, and let’s face it, breakfast for dinner is a delight we should all indulge in once in a while!

17. Trickledown Economics

Young depressed businessman sitting on the stairs.
Image Credit: Noey smiley/Shutterstock.

You’ve probably heard politicians tout this theory, suggesting that if the rich get richer, eventually, everyone benefits. Well, reality check: this concept has been widely criticized. The rich getting richer doesn’t always mean jobs, and wealth magically rain down on the rest of us. The gap between the rich and the rest of us might just keep widening.

A Reddit user wrote, “Answer: Trickle down economics. Pundits, politicians, and all of their brainwashed followers continue to advocate for tax cuts on corporations and the ultra-rich because they will give more back. Honey child,…. If they got to be ultra-rich, or massively successful corporations, they didn’t do it being generous and benevolent. They did it by being greedy and cutthroat.”

Someone else replied, “No, you don’t understand. I have a 0.01% chance of being rich, and I want to keep it. No, I’m not working-class; I’m a temporarily-embarrassed millionaire. commies.”

18. Eggs

Three fried eggs with herbs.
Image Credit: FineShine via

One said, “Eggs are the main cause of high cholesterol, while at the same time ignoring the stack of sugary pancakes, processed/preserved fried meats, buttery grits, biscuits, and other garbage that’s usually consumed with them.”

Someone else added, “I think it’s more of a logic-based conclusion. I remembered looking this up when eating several eggs a day, but it has been a while, so I might have misremembered. But what I concluded was that a. they started finding out that cholesterol is bad for you.

And b. eggs contain high cholesterol. Therefore, eggs must be bad for you. Only later, did they discover there are different kinds of cholesterol. And around 10 years ago, there was a meta-study with 2 million Americans. Those who ate more than 2 eggs a week, had less chance of cholesterol-related diseases, but only very marginally.”

But here’s the thing: dietary cholesterol doesn’t have as big an impact on our blood cholesterol levels as we once thought

19. Spinach

raw fresh spinach with drops in a colander on a rustic wooden table.
Image Credit: nblx/Shutterstock.

A Reddit user wrote, “Spinach makes u strong….Popeyes a hustler for big spinach.”

Another person agreed to it and said, “IIRC, that was due to an error in reporting how much iron was contained in Spinach. Like, by an absurd amount. If it was true, then it would have more iron than red meat.”

Thanks to the cartoon sailor, we all grew up thinking spinach would instantly turn us into muscle-bound powerhouses.

20. Lights In The Car

Handsome young man looking back at camera, sitting in car, parking auto, view from rear seat.
Image Credit: Prostock-studio/Shutterstock.

A discerning Reddit user commented, “That turning the light on in the back seat of the car is illegal.”

Someone else added, “I recently gave a lift to a friend’s daughter, and when I tapped the dome light while driving because she had dropped something, she incredulously asked “THAT’S NOT ILLEGAL?””

Seriously, who came up with this one? It’s like one of those childhood rules that no one questions.

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Handsome man or swimmer, bearded sexy hipster with wet beard, moustache and hair relaxes in pool indoors on blue water background.
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A Young villager, who lives in a small village near Gharo Sindh, Pakistan, 2nd March 2015.
Image Credit: Pakistan Stock Footage/Shutterstock.

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A customer is shocked at supermarket because of inflation, increasing prices, living expenses, living cost.
Image Credit: Fatih Kucuktezcan/Shutterstock.

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Portrait of pensive elderly man at fence.
Image Credit: Caftor/Shutterstock.

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Image Credit: Matt Smith Photographer/Shutterstock.

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