What's The Truth About Subliminal Advertising ?

by Robert Benjamin - Date: 2010-09-04 - Word Count: 436 Share This!

Advertising is a marketer's method to bring whatever it is he wants to sell to the consciousness of the markets. That way, when his product or services gets to market, people will readily buy them. Any attempt to put the product into public awareness is advertising. An attempt to put the product into the subconscious is a subliminal advertising and is considered manipulative. A more formal definition comes from James Vicary, considered the author of the term "subliminal advertising."

"Subliminal advertising is a technique of exposing consumers to product pictures, brands names, or other marketing stimuli without the consumers having conscious awareness. Once exposed to a subliminal marketing stimulus, the consumer is believed t decode the information and act upon it without being able to acknowledge a communication stimulus."

The power behind subliminal advertising remains unproven. The concept is based on a certain threshold of time during which a message is flashed, above this threshold, the person receiving the message becomes conscious of it, below the threshold, it enters the subconscious. The threshold is often a fraction of a second or in the range of 1/300th of a second during which the message is flashed.

To a large extent, it is a form of suggestion that has some roots to a hypnotic suggestion to induce certain buying impulse or trend. As such it is considered illegal in many countries such as Britain, US, Australia and Spain, to mention some. The Federal Communications Commission or FCC in the US will revoke the broadcast license of any company if proven to be using subliminal messages. Even the National Association of Broadcasters has banned its use among its members.

Consumers will never be aware that they have been subjected to subliminal messages for three reasons:

1. Because a correctly crafted subliminal message is not supposed to be recognized on the conscious level;

2. Because the subliminal message was not done right and didn't work; or

3. It's considered illegal so consumers are confident they'd never get any.

There are techniques to distinguish a subliminally embedded advertising message but there is no formulaic way to be consistent in detecting one. Because of its elusive nature, subliminal advertising can pass undetected and it is not uncommon that many advertisements flooding traditional media like billboards, movie houses, television as well as online can use this technique far below the consciousness for the unsuspecting public or law enforcers to detect and thus, manipulate consumer buying trends and even lifestyles.

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Related Tags: subliminal advertising, james vicary, subconscious advertising, subconscious messages

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