What scares us is that we can possibly be influenced to do things which are completely beyond our control. This by subliminal advertising techniques which we can’t detect consciously. Subliminal advertising as a result, has been a captivating study when it comes to consumer purchasing behavior.
The concept of it possibly existing has been studied for over half a century, ever since it’s been made aware, that the idea of hidden messages can influence and control our behavior as consumers, to purchase a certain product.
This could be an image or words that’s briefly flashed across a TV screen. Subliminal advertising methods have been know to conceal hidden messages in ads, which has the power to subconsciously make those who are exposed to it, react by buying certain products, or behave in a certain way.
Are these fears even valid, are they just mythical paranoia than reality. The answer is somewhere in between. While some of the claims regarding subliminal advertising may be wildly exaggerated, the concept is very real.
What first needs to be determined is what the definition of subliminal advertising is, its origin, and the beliefs which are surrounding it. One thing for certain is that it is being used. What’s more important is how often it’s used, and how it influences us.
What Is Subliminal Advertising
The definition of subliminal advertising is the presentation of suggestible words or images, known as stimuli, that we are not able to detect consciously with the naked eye. This stimuli is undetectable since they can be hidden inside another image.
They can also be presented, planted on a screen so quickly, briefly, that we’re not able to detect and are thus unaware that we’re seeing them. The question being how quick does this word or image need to be flashed, for it to be undetectable.
The most agreed duration is around .003 of a second, which is 3/1000’s of a second. Almost everyone exposed, won’t consciously be aware that they’ve been exposed to this stimuli which is presented for that duration of time.
Regardless if this stimuli is subliminal because it’s hidden, or that it’s presented so quickly, the distinguishing fact remains is that we don’t know that we’re being exposed to it, which raises ethical concerns.
Once this exposed subliminal stimulus has some type of influence on us, it’s referred to as unconscious influence, which means that it’s an influence which we’re not even consciously aware of.
Subliminal advertising has been used since the 1950’s. One of the very first known tests was advertisers quickly flashing on a movie screen the words, “Drink More **blank-blank** Soda,” ever so briefly, which they claim increased the sales of the soda by 25% percent.
What was discovered was that the advertisers were able to somewhat control consumer behavior by appealing directly to their unconscious desires. There was a book that was published on these concepts back then, making the public aware of these advertising tactics of possible manipulation.
People then began fearing that the advertisers would and could use these subliminal advertising messages at will, and then force them to purchase products they didn’t want.
The advertisers claimed that it was just skeptical paranoia, this since, after all, how could anyone be suspicious of something that they weren’t even aware of, something that they’ve never seen.
As a result, this fear of subliminal advertising was unfounded, that the book was extremely exaggerated, that the concept was fabricated and nothing more than a theory.
Despite all this, the myth that is subliminal advertising carries powerful influences, and it does exist today. A recent survey showed that over 75% percent of the respondents were aware of the concept of subliminal advertising, and that over half felt that they were susceptible to it.
Subliminal Stimuli Advertising
What’s known is that we can be influenced by outside stimuli. That we can be influenced and then behave in ways that we don’t want to, or are aware of.
For instance, you enter a liquor store and studies confirm that you’ll purchase more Italian wine if there’s Italian music playing, more German wine if German music was playing in the store.
Once asked why they chose that particular wine, very few mentioned the music, as they were completely unaware that the music could of influenced their choice.
How Do You Know If You’re Not Aware
What most believe when it comes to the concept of subliminal advertising is that they’re being held hostage, that it forces them to do things against their own will, which is a complete myth.
What research has proven is that subliminal advertising and all its influences, which are designed to force us to do something by using outside awareness, can indeed do so, but not very well.
There’s a huge gap, a big difference which exists when it comes to someone actually being thirsty to purchase a beverage, and forcing someone who doesn’t happen to be thirsty, to unwilling get up and go buy a soda at a movie theater.
But that being said, subliminal stimuli advertising could influence our behavior without us knowing when used right. For instance, playing up tempo music in restaurants forces us to eat faster, which increases their turnover rate, generating more revenue.
Most are not aware that this music is influencing how they eat, and most likely the restaurant staff are also unaware, perhaps influencing them to work quicker or more efficiently.
Are You Being Stalked?
What’s generally thought is that you shouldn’t be concerned when it comes to stimuli advertising, which in theory is that there are hidden suggestive messages, which forces you to go into a trance, and buy things that you don’t want.
Not to worry, this since that it’s thought that most likely, you were inclined to buy them anyway. It’s though that they can’t exert that much influence to force you to buy something that you didn’t actually want.