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Tuesday, January 09, 2007



From the shallow response to my last post I conclude marketing needs to be made more interesting.

Therefore we’ll tackle one of the most mysterious, aggressive and illegal form of advertising.

Subliminal advertising.
Subliminal indicate that the subject is not completely aware, unless forewarned, of what he is seeing.
Images, clever word plays, and direct orders are thrown at the reader, moviegoer or walker who happens to inspect billboards while passing them.

Subliminal ads target the subconscious.
Even if someone would pay close attention chances are that the subject would not notice the subliminal messages, be it an image, a logo or a word.

During a movie session the phrase "drink Coca Cola" appeared several times for just about 0,04 seconds each time.

None of the people in the hall mesntioned anything about it as they did not realy 'see' the words.
An immediate increase of over 50%!!! of coke sold in the theater’s cafeteria resulted from this.

The marketing results of subliminal messages in the media is strongly debated.
Studies so far have not been able to prove conclusively that it leads to a positive change in attitude for the intended product.
The major question is whether it has a lasting or only immediate and one time effect.
The fact that it’s widely used suggest that many companies believe in it’s power.

Personally I think it’s a very powerful and manipulative marketing tool.
From what I’ve read and seen I believe that the unconscious picking up those signals use them as they are intended to influence.

A study conducted a few years ago again showed that in theory subliminal messages can lead to a real desire for the advertised product by the target.
50 people were given something salty to eat and were shown a movie subsequently.
They were told they participated in a scientific study but they did not know any details beyond that.
Anticipating the thirsty feeling of the subjects, an image of the logo of Ice Tea was flashed during the showing.
After the movie everyone was given a choice between an Ice Tea and other beverages.
Overwhelmingly the subjects chose Ice Tea.

This manner of advertising is not illegal in the US although subject to heavy and detailed regulation.
In many European countries it’s illegal completely or when it surpasses a certain quantity.

In other media such as magazines and billboards the subliminal aspect is usually an image within an image, play on words etc.

Examples :
If you look closely you’ll notice a big C.
Carrefour is one of the biggest and strongest brand names in Europe.
Could this invisible C in their logo have anything to do with that?

I found many more examples.
I can't post them here however as they were mostly of a provocative nature, so if you're interested email me and I'll send them.


In Switzerland it is highly forbidden. They showed one season of "the apprentice" where many products were promoted, now they are having huge court trials and of course no second season of The Apprentice....

It´s amazing what an impact it can have on our subconsciousness.

Thanks for sharing your Marketing-wisdom, I feel like in a refresher course :D
very interesting
I remember those commercials with subliminal messages for coke freaky how it gets people.
Hey Praggie!
Hard to find an email for you - anyhow, I invite you to write the topic you posted for Stripped Down Soul, if you're interested. It's a good one.
You can send it to me by email, or I'll give you posting rights -as you choose. Contact me here:
rabbisuskin at graffiti dot net if you're interested. I'll get someone to do a counter point, too.
that's very interesting.

there is a line where marketing and design cross over! as a designer i'm very aware of visuals around most of the time and tend to notice or be more aware of 'subliminal' things than someone who is not trained in that area. with things like logos and advertising, there is a lot of subtle stuff that can go on, even in the simplest design so that there are multiple meanings. i'd love to see what examples you have.

coke never gets me though. i don't drink the stuff even if their advertising is exceptional!!
On t.v. the ads that get me are the ones with great music or a product with a great slogan.
It doesn't mean I run out and purchase the product for example mcdonalds " I'm loving it" also L'oreal "coz ur worth it" amongst many.
There are many ads that I can watch many times over and the music is great but I do not remember what the product they are trying to sell.
Somrgasboard-Love your nickname:)
Glad you found this interesting.
It’s a shame for the apprentice cause it’s a decent show.
I can’t say I’m surprised Switzerland forbids it, it fits their image.

Lvnsm- Thanks

Social-It’s crazy, luckily it’s regulated now and not as aggressive.

The Retikah-Hi, here’s my email:pragmatician@gmail.com
I’d be honored to guest post, please remind me what the subject was.

Sarah-The fact you don’t drink coke is a proof to what you said:)
I’m not that involved with graphics and don’t always detect the subtleness of logos.
Sometimes however I get the explanation and am completely amazed at how much thought goes into each and every detail.
I’ll email you more examples.
Beware that they involve ‘inappropriate’ text and image.

Anonymous-Good point, some ads are so rich in color and in music but the product is totally neglected.
That’s terrible advertising but good entertainment.
The L’Oreal one you mention is one of the most effective and memorable slogan I’ve ever come across.
So you want marketing? Here's marketing, explained in an off-color way. Feel free to delete this comment in its entirety if it insults your sensibility.

Over the years, people have often asked me to explain the various concepts of Marketing Communications. The following analogies might help clarify the "tools of the trade."
You see a handsome guy at a party. You go up to him and say, "I'm fantastic in bed." -- That's Direct Marketing.
You're at a party with a bunch of friends and see a handsome guy. One of your friends goes up to him and pointing at you says, "She's fantastic in bed." -- That's Advertising.
You see a handsome guy at a party. You go up to him and get his telephone number. The next day you call and say, "Hi, I'm fantastic in bed." -- That's Telemarketing. You're at a party and see a handsome guy. You get up and straighten your dress. You walk up to him and pour him a drink. You say, "May I," and reach up to straighten his tie brushing your breast lightly against his arm, and then say, "By the way, I'm fantastic in bed." -- That's Public Relations.
You're at a party and see a handsome guy. He walks up to you and says, "I hear you're fantastic in bed." -- That's Brand Recognition.
You're at a party and see a handsome guy. You talk him into going home with your friend. -- That's a Sales Rep.
Your friend can't satisfy him so he calls you. -- That's Tech Support. You're on your way to a party when you realize that there could be handsome men in all these houses you're passing. So you climb onto the roof of one situated toward the center and shout at the top of your lungs, "I'm fantastic in bed!" -- That's Spam
It’s all good-thanks for this very original summary of marketing!
I have to say I never saw that one before.
It is amazing how our subconcious works and can be manipulated.

What I want to know is what constitutes illegal and why?

All forms of advertising are aimed at our subconcious some more than others so who's to draw the line and who says it is correct to draw it there?
So what about mel gibson putting a shot of himself in the trailer of his latest movie, Apoc.? Was he secretly trying to get us to buy more of him. I hope not!
What is so wrong about subliminal messaging?
I love this its so educational for me I didn’t have the time yet to read thru the whole new post so im printing it so I can read it carefully I still need calefaction on one thing where can I email you my questions?
Wow! thats very interesting. When I took a marketing class, it did not seem this effective.
Exsem-It’s illegal in many countries, as it’s considered an aggressive technique
You make a good point about all advertising attacking our subconscious yet in most advertising the consumer is still given a choice while some say subliminal messages do not.
It’s nice to see you again around here.

Amishav-Perhaps it’s just a portent of future events, let’s hope so.

Nemo-Nothing according to some, terribly wrong according to others
You learn Gemarah, you know how this works (lehavdil)

Shy-Hi, so glad you enjoy this
Feel free to email me at pragmatician@gmail.com whenever you want to.

Sarachka-Some classes were so boring, and some so interesting.
It all depends on the teacher.
It is amazing what the subconcious mind will take in. Little "jingles"/music and toons become very catchy and young children pick up on them very quickly. Catchy phrases will sink into the subconcious also. Very interesting.
My kids try subliminal marketing when they tell me what I should buy them, while I am sleeping.
It's all good..was a great comment - very original! lol
Wonder what subliminal marketing would have been in that case though!;)
kasamba- i tried it on my sister and it worked (surprise, surprise!)LOL to your comment!
Well, for whatever it is worth, most advertising is in fact subliminal, and when done correctly, can have the biggest payoff, from what I have read.

It is like a layer of an onion, being peeled one step at a time.
Great topic. While I am not familar with Carrefour I'm impressed with their use of 'negative space' from a graphic design point of view.
Its really scary if you thnk about the messages that cold be hidden just about anywhere...
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