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What is subliminal advertising and how to take advantage of it?

Published by Jonatan Botello on June 8, 2017

publicidad subliminal

You’ve probably heard something about subliminal advertising, but you don’t know exactly what this is, or how to take advantage of it.

It’s normal because it’s not a topic most of us are talking about every day. Therefore, in this post, I’ll try to explain this as much as I can, so that you can understand how to work with this type of advertising.

Marketing is an exciting world where every day without exception, you will learn different things.

When you think you know everything, there’s always something new that will surprise you. And that forces you to be alert all the time and consider different trainings as the best ally to follow current trends and be always up to date.

One of the most unknown topics for most people who start working with marketing is subliminal advertising.

However, subliminal advertising has always been with us, since marketing started to play a key role in all business strategies.

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Subliminal advertising has always been used

For now, let’s put aside the Internet and travel to the more recent past, to show that subliminal advertising was already used in marketing strategies before marketers ever dreamed of creating online marketing campaigns .

Proof of this is that this type of advertising was created Officially in 1957 by James Vicary.

Since then, the advertising revolution has begun. Of course, this is not the first time you’ve seen ads on television or other media and, without knowing why, you felt compelled to buy a product.

You don’t understand the reason, but you feel an incessant need to acquire the product or service you have seen and you need to satisfy this need to feel better.

The most amazing of all is that the ad campaign is not even the best one you have seen, so you can’t  understand why you are constantly thinking about the product.

Perhaps however, you have heard on several occasions about subliminal advertising, but without a conclusive definition.

As a result, you knew that this style of advertising is used. You know that it works, since you already were one of the  “victims” of this type of propaganda.

The real problem is the fact that although you know there are many companies using this kind of strategy, You still don’t know what exactly subliminal advertising means.

To get fully into the subject, perhaps it would be better to explain its definition so that you can begin to understand the concepts, what do you think?

What is subliminal advertising?

Subliminal advertising means to create a message through na image, a video, sound or text that will go completely unnoticed by the conscious mind, being processed unconsciously and will try to tell the user to buy something, for instance.

In other words, the mission of this type of advertising is to try to work with the user’s unconscious mind  so he will feel the need to acquire the product or service being promoted.

Many prestigious brands have created several advertising campaigns of this type and they were successful, as can be proven revising the large sums of money obtained.

However, this type of advertising generates a lot of controversy between the marketing experts.

While some strongly support subliminal advertising, others consider that it is not a safe strategy and that it lacks conclusive data to prove otherwise.

Why subliminal advertising raises so much controversy?

According to some studies conducted by Harvard University in the year 1999, it has been shown that subliminal advertising affects the behavior of users, but in a limited way.

To test these claims, they did an experiment based in a video game where people who wanted to participate in the study had to play this game and the results were as follows:

  1. For all participants during the game and in a fraction of seconds, subliminal messages were displayed.
  2. For some people, they showed positive words: victorious, courageous, happiness. And for others, quite the opposite: negative words, loser, failure.

At the end of their studies, researchers at Harvard University, found that the percentage of people who performed better during the game after the experimente were those who received a positive message.

However, the margins were not so wide, so the study though considered a success, didn’t bring conclusive and incontrovertible data.

So many marketers believe that this is not a strategy that can bring the expected results, or that it is not proven to be effective.

However, most large and small companies continue to use this type of strategy, creating messages with subliminal advertising.

And of course, if they do, it’s because they get some good results. Otherwise, it would not make sense to use this kind of strategy.

Types of subliminal advertising

For you to  understand a little better about this subject, we need to explain the existing types of advertising, or at least the best known so far, so that you can study possible strategies for your email campaigns:

► Subliminal advertising in texts

In this sense, the best definition might be “subliminal message” because the texts are this: Messages

The curious thing is that through texts it doesn’t seem possible to create subliminal messages because everything is clearly visible, that is, you can read and consciously analyze the content of the text.

But the truth is that yes, it is possible.

You just need to work with a marketing professional, (for instance a good copywriter) to achieve this objective.

But this is not very easy, especially if you don’t  know who your ideal buyer is, it will be very hard to know how his subconscious works. And this, for practical purposes, is a very difficult task.

► Subliminal advertising in images

Subliminal advertising, when used in images and banners, generates a very positive impact. You just have to see the myriad of banners scattered around the streets to see how they are working.

These images you see while you’re driving, waiting for the subway or the bus, on a website, create an effect on your mind.

You need to keep in mind that an image can bring information, and the brain stores this data, analyzing the information later, even if you are not doing it consciously.

►Subliminal advertising on videos

When you create subliminal advertising using videos, you can work with a Series of elements that the user will not consciously process.

There are several aspects that can be worked on in an advertisement in video, plus the use of sounds, colors and suggestive environments.

However, although the strategy has to be more elaborate, it is easier  to apply because it allows the possibility of using brainstorming with different departments of a company and therefore the strategy can be more productive.

Logos can contain subliminal messages and, of course, a logo will reflect the values and ideals of a brand.

The logo is the philosophical manifestation of a company and its intentions.

The most interesting is that, usually, the user will pay more attention to the main visual aspect of the logo, for instance, the colors or symbol used, but will associate this brand with its values.

As a result, companies use this type of strategy to send subliminal messages.

Is it possible to create subliminal advertising campaigns  on the Internet?

You remember that I asked before if we could travel a little to the past to understand the concepts of online advertising? Well, now I would like to ask you to come back with me to the present or to the immediate future.

Why? Because during the last years, the television and other traditional communication channels started to lose importance in the creation of advertising campaigns. However, the internet has become the best alternative for small, medium and large companies interested in advertising their products.

Content generation campaigns, AdWords, Facebook ads, etc.

So the idea of subliminal advertising on the Internet can be a very valid option, but can we really apply this kind of strategy in online campaigns?

The answer is yes. It can be applied and is actually being used at this very moment.

While you are reading this content, many companies (and entrepreneurs) are thinking of creating subliminal advertising campaigns to improve their online reputation and make money.

If you are starting out as an online entrepreneur, you may not be able to detect this type of advertising, but for professionals who already have long been in the online business world, we know perfectly well that this type of strategy is used daily.

The point is that from now on, to some extent, you will also be able to detect this type of advertising.

Examples of subliminal advertising

I think there is nothing better than examples so that any person can understand a concept, including online advertising.

And this is what I intend to do now, so you can understand better how this works.

This time, I will give you some examples of subliminal advertising created with the intention of adding value.

That said, let’s start:

►SFX Magazine

SFX Magazine is a magazine specializing in cinema and science fiction. Often, its designers cover the letter F so that it can resemble the “E”.

If you look at the image, it seems that the protagonists of the movie Twilight are Ceme nus and the letter F is covered, as if it were the word “sex” instead of SFX.

And I wonder, who doesn’t like sex? Everyone. And what does this cover let you understand? That the protagonists had a sexual encounter.

I’m sure several people, when they saw this  image, decided to visit the page and read the news, to find out what had happened.

publicidad subliminal

► The Simpsons

Advertising is not always necessary to create subliminal messages.

One of the clearest examples is the famous cartoon series The Simpsons, which constantly send hidden messages for its spectators.

If you like this series, in addition to congratulating you because you are watching a series that has already made history in our society, you know well that what I say is true.

I’ll leave a very small video clip of this series for you to see with your own eyes:

► Terra

Sex has a strong impact on our society. And in advertising, it is no exception.

Proof of this is that Terra has already used this strategy on more than one occasion to promote tits brand.

This time, you can see a series of images that can make you think about the male “attribute”.

Given this situation, don’t you think they are sending subliminal messages?

publicidad subliminal

► Amazon

Do you think Amazon doesn’t send subliminal messages to users for the simple fact that they are one of the most important online stores of the world? If that’s what you think, you are wrong.

The proof can be found in the Amazon logo itself. Okay, it’s a very discreet message and perhaps, at first glance, you can’t realize it.

But if you look closely, the logo is an arrow that begins in the letter “A” and ends in the letter “Z”.

Amazon didn’t disclose the real meaning of the logo, but according to many experts, this prestigious brand is saying that customers can find all kinds of products from A to Z.

In short, all the products you are looking for may be found on Amazon.

publicidad subliminal

► Coca-Cola

When you read the phrase “you can’t beat the feeling”, you certainly  think about Coca-Cola, even if you see this phrase somewhere other than in A Coca-Cola label.

However, they wanted to go further and associated the Lord of the Rings with the brand.

In what way? Look closely at this image:

publicidad subliminal

What did you see? In fact, in the ring you can see Coca-Cola. But does this mean that the power is in your hands?

Conclusion

As explained in this article, subliminal advertising is very widespread in all media, whether on the internet or in traditional advertising.

It is a system that tries to persuade users without them realizing it, at least that’s the intention.

There is a lot of money invested in this type of advertising since it started, but of course many companies have taken advantage of this strategy, earning significant sums of money.

You may be interested in working with subliminal advertising, after everything you have learned today, but I recommend you to think very carefully about the strategy you will follow, to make sure you will not send the wrong message for your audience.

Jonatan Botello

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