Subliminal Advertising


Subliminal advertising: A collective term for public announcements designed to promote the sale of specific commodities or services while being integrated below the threshold of perception or awareness.


To sell products, merchants consciously use subliminal advertising as a basis for general consumerism. This seems like an unnecessary task, but when taken into consideration all the people, who have expressed their disbelief in its effectiveness, it is obvious to see how vital and necessary such a task commands. Through this, corporations must take on new strategies and methods of persuasion and justification. The importance is that advertisers rely on a trust relationship with consumers in order to successfully subliminally sell products. In other words, those who don\'t believe in subliminal advertising, are its likely victims.

The effect of subliminal advertising on the individual and the culture has been influenced and promoted by many different elements. Let it be magazines, newspapers or radio; but the most prominent in this field is television. Television advertising influences the choices we make, perhaps more so than anyone cares to believe. It may not be so obvious, but even teachers face competition with advertising. Television stations, for example, have some four billion dollars a year from industry to spend on programming for the same students that teacher’s face. Nicholas Johnson, a former Federal Communications Commission Commissioner from 1966 to 1973 writes that television is diametrically opposed to almost everything a teacher tries to do:
TV tells them that the only thing necessary to give them all the joys in life and the values that are important is the acquisition of yet another product. TV is telling them to sit still and don\'t think. TV is telling them that they are to be treated as a mass.
He writes that it is extremely important to understand this force in our society if a teacher is to deal with it. He writes the most important thing to know is that advertising is a business. Johnson continues:
It is the business of selling. But what it is in the business of selling is you and your students. You are the product being sold. Who are you being sold to? You\'re being sold to an advertiser. It is the advertiser who is the consumer in this equation. The advertiser is buying you. The advertiser is buying you from the broadcaster. And why the advertiser is buying you is because he wants you to look at his message; his billboard, his magazine ad, and in this instance, his TV commercial.
But in any study of advertising and advertising effects it is difficult to agree on what are clearly examples of advertising and what are clearly not. This is more difficult to do than it seems. Television is an excellent example of why this is so difficult in their attempt to influence purchasing decisions. He writes that the sole purpose of the television programs between the commercials is to act as an attention getting device. The scripts are written to build tension before the commercial to hold the viewer\'s attention during the commercial. He writes that once they have that attention,
... what is the advertiser trying to sell you? Products? No. He\'s trying to sell you a religion. What is it? It\'s the philosophy known as materialism. If you watch television closely, you\'ll see that there\'s no real difference between the programs and the commercials. Indeed, if you turn on a television set you often can\'t tell what it is that you\'ve just turned on. Is it a commercial or a program? Suppose you tune into a Hawaiian beach scene. All right, there\'s a big hotel in the background and palm trees and there\'s this brand new car on the beach and this couple strolling across the beach. Now you don\'t know whether that\'s going to turn out to be a scene of one of these cops-and-robbers programs or whether it\'s a commercial. It is even more important to note, however, that you don\'t know what it\'s going to be a commercial for. That\'s because every commercial is a commercial for all products.

Most of us are aware of the huge amount of sophisticated research generated by the advertising industry to refine its persuasion techniques. We even feel comfortable admidst our advertisement-plagued society.