Is Subliminal Advertising Effective? The average American views an average of 1500 ads every single day! Did you know that some of these ads have hidden pictures, words, or even sound inside of them? These hidden things are called subliminal messages.

When used correctly, these hidden messages have been proven to persuade us to do certain things. What are Subliminal Messages? Subliminal messages are things that are stored inside of our subconscious. They are known as are hidden messages because we have no knowledge of the things inside our subconscious. The subconscious is one part of our brain. We are not aware of the things inside our subconscious part.

However, our subconscious remembers every single detail of every single thing we see! It works just like a computer because it views information (ads), and stores it into our memory (brain.) Some examples are: o a small image (s) hidden inside a larger picture o a audio message hidden inside a cassette tape o hidden messages inside songs that you hear when you play it backwards o hidden words or pictures that quickly appear inside a television show, movie, or commercial In order for these items to be subliminal or "hidden" messages, they must not be noticeable to the human eye or ear. Our subconscious effects us on a daily basis. In fact, it is responsible for the following: o little slips of the tongue o unexplainable actions or thoughts o ideas, songs and memories that suddenly "pop" into our heads In the Beginning: Subliminal messages have become a very powerful way to get your message out to the public. It all started in 1957 when James M. Vicary created an "invisible commercial" for a movie theatre. This "invisible commercial" contained several brief messages that were hidden inside of one main message.

For example, during the main commercial the words "Drink Coca-Cola" and "Hungary? Eat Popcorn" would flash on the screen. These interruptions would occur every five seconds, and they would last for 1/3000th of a second. These brief food and beverage interruptions were not noticeable to the viewers. However, the people that watched these commercials had an unexplainable urge to eat popcorn and drink coca-cola. Overall, popcorn sales increased 57.5% and drink sales increased 18.1%.

People were outraged when they heard about this experiment. They couldn't believe that the media was able to get inside of their minds and influence their purchasing decisions! Soon, television and radio stations started using this technique. Then people started to question Vicary's results because some people say he did not properly document his experiment. Lloyd H. Silverman then tested the effects of subliminal messages on people with depression problems. He had one group of these people look at a picture while he quickly and repeatedly flashed the words "Destroy Mother" on top of the picture.

The second group looked at the same picture with the words "People Thinking" on top of the picture. Neither of the groups actually noticed the words that flashed over their pictures. Afterwards the first group became more depressed while the second groups depression remained the same. Silverman found that the subliminal messages he showed these people only lasted for a short period of time. He also found that the hidden messages did not affect people that had no interest. For example when Vicary flashed "Drink Coca-Cola" on the movie screen, someone that hated coca-cola would not even think about it.

Subliminal Messages and the Media Advertisers still use subliminal messages today. The most common types of subliminal messages that are displayed today represent sex and power. Studies have shown several huge companies currently use subliminal messages in their ads, movies, cartoons, music, and television shows. Television is currently the main source of subliminal messages.

These messages are done the same way as the first Vicary movie theatre experiment. A hidden message is showed for a tiny fraction of a second continually throughout the entire ad. I know this sounds strange, but celebrities are also one form of subliminal ads. Famous people don't just sell products, they sell fame, success and wealth along with the product. For example, some people think that they will be great basketball players if they wear the same shoes as Michael Jordan.

Another example of this occurred in 1977 when the request for library cards increased by 500% because Fon zie of "Happy Days" got a library card. Another form of subliminal advertising is the idea that "everyone is doing it, why aren't you?" This concept is popular among young people and tends to be a very popular type of subliminal messages. An example of this is a poster I saw that says "Your friends won't think less of you if you don't use. But they certainly will think more of you if you do". Positive Effects of Subliminal Messages Subliminal messages aren't always bad. They can be used to improve things.

For example, The Environmental Media Association (EMA) has encouraged sitcom writers to help teach us (the viewers) about environmental protection. The EMA gave the writers ideas that they could use for their shows. Each year, an award and $10,000.00 goes to the show with the best environmental lesson. In 1991, Webster's Dictionary added the term "designated driver" to its latest version after over 160 television shows helped popularize the word. This term was first introduced in 1980. With the help of these television shows, the Harvard Alcohol Project was able teach people who would have been almost impossible to reach any other way.

Subliminal messages are also inside tapes to help people quit smoking and lose weight. These tapes have proven to be very effective. Unfortunately, people don't always stop smoking after listening to these tapes, but they do smoke less than they used to. Conclusion Subliminal messages are a very, very powerful marketing tool. They can be used to persuade us to feel or do may different things. However, the effects of subliminal messages are short term.

The only exception to this short term effect occurs when the subliminal messages are teaching us to do or not to do something. Here is a list of websites with examples of subliminal ads. (c) Copyright 2002 Sources:" Subliminal Messages Alive and Well" k omar. cs. st thomas. edu. qm 425/fisher 3. htm Butler, S. Ron, "subliminal advertising: return of the hidden persuaders" dis info. com / pages /dossier / id 321/pg 1/"The Effects of Subliminal Advertising". ca/~/subliminal. html Thomas, Chris "Subliminal Perception" cut. win. edu / John Drea / subliminal perception. htm Leroux, K ivi "Subliminal Messages" e magazine. com / july -august 1999/0799 cure subliminal. html For more articles like this, please click here. Subscribe to Outdoor Advertising Trends to get articles like this delivered to your mailbox every month.