David Airey is an independent graphic designer working with companies of all sizes since 2005.

The power of subliminal advertising

The first clip (above, lasting about 6 minutes) shows Derren Brown, supposed expert at suggestion and influence, experimenting with the minds of two advertisers. Do you believe it?

This next, shorter clip (lasting almost 2 minutes) is an ad for the 1959 Chevrolet Impala.

Isn’t it just amazing how Chevrolet make use of subliminal messages? Even back in the 50s ad gurus were using it in their arsenal.

Videos via advertising for peanuts and Dan Germain.

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22 appreciated comments about “The power of subliminal advertising”

  1. Thats good. I like that alot

  2. I believe everything Derren tells me.

    He told me to…. :shock:

  3. Wow these are great videos.. I love subliminal messages!

    I was amazed at the ending of the first one and how obvious the second one was.. though the singing made it really relaxing :)

  4. I remember seeing that Derren Brown episode, its amazing what that guy can do. I only wish I could put subliminal messages in the minds of my clients – “no amends its perfect” “I don’t think we are paying you enough,” just little things like that.

  5. I’m sending you a subliminal comment

    Did you get it?

    There it is again.

  6. Tara,

    That’s a great thought, “No amends, it’s perfect.” I might work on that.

    Paper Bull,

    It’s an interesting point, but I’m not sure it’s viable in all honesty. You have to think about the children, and what’s best for them. Let’s do some research into it.

  7. Is the chevy one really subliminal? I always though that the quick flash to another scene was to be done a lot quicker, say a couple of frames, so you didn’t actually know it was there, not a half second.

    goldcoaster.wordpress.com

  8. I’d like to see some graphic design instructors take just the cab ride portion of that video and show their class. Then give them the same assignment. I thought it was a great case for subliminal suggestion. If it was a set-up, the premise is interesting. I think that you would have to see the images many times over to make any real impact. If it was this easy how could anything fail?

  9. can you imagine the implications of using subliminal messages?
    let’s think:
    – subliminal messages for political manipulation (i’ve read that french president Francois Mitterrand has tried it.. :) )
    – subliminal messages for social behaviour (like attitude towards sexuality or religion)
    – subliminal messages for personal behaviour (like tv, internet or any kind of media consumption)

    it’s quite an enormous topic to be debated…

    anyway it would be interesting to understand how much of this practice is really used and helpful.

    webee
    [is a design blog]

  10. Incredible. I’ve spent hours and hours checking out that Brown guy; time I ought to spend working on the pool of university projects I’m sitting in. Hadn’t heard of him before. He does some amazing stuff.

  11. goldcoaster,

    The Chevy clip is kind of ‘tongue-in-cheek’, a humourous example.

    Ed,

    I’m sceptical of anything I haven’t seen with my own eyes, so I too would like to see more of the taxi ride.

    webee,

    It’s a huge topic! I haven’t even touched on it here so an idea for a future blog post?

    Asgeir,

    Do some work. ;)

  12. Hmm really interesting article. I just know for the next couple of hours, I’ll be checking out Derren Brown and reading up on subliminal messages. Hmm maybe Jedi Mind tricks where subliminal suggestions.

  13. Very cool! Here in the States the new Sprite commercials are all about sublimbinal messages, literally. It’s pretty neat. I’m gonna have to share that first vid with my design buddies.

  14. I really don’t know about the first one. Could that be possible? Maybe if one or two of the images had appeared I may have thought it was possible, but it just seems too far fetched.

  15. its really interesting topic.but,It’s a huge topic…….

  16. Armen,

    I think you’re right to be sceptical. Like I said, I need to experience something for myself before believing it.

    Interesting vid though.

  17. That first video was amazing. The funny thing is that most psychology text books say subliminal advertising does not work, but McDonald’s still runs tenth-of-a-second subliminal commercials on the Food channel. I am willing to bet it does work, otherwise McDonald’s would not be spending their money on it. Here is an example:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amnZX-jjBD8

  18. Hey Nate,

    I found that food channel clip when researching this post. Is it just me or is that a pretty tacky way for McDonalds to advertise?

  19. Here’s an example;take the world famous Virgin logo.If you turn it slighty to the left so that where the underline and tail of the g form an X,you’ll also notice the V forms a slightly hidden S and the i,r and part of the g form a broken capital E,spelling the word SEX.
    So you have Sex/Virgin in one word.Very clever Mr.Branson.

  20. Absolutely mindblowing. It’s tough to discern if the first video is real or not, but the subconscious is a really misunderstood animal. Roger over at NeuromarketingBlog deals with this stuff a lot, it’s extremely interesting IMO.

  21. This is excellent material.

    Can you recommend other places to get current info on subliminal influence?

    I understand that there are several different types or levels of subliminals, with some being more apparent then others. If those categories were named, it would simplify the recorded instance. For example…a level one or embedded subliminal…a level two physical subliminal (detectable by naked eye)…In other words a categorical rating of subliminals like the ratings of white water on rivers.

    Thanks again

    BTW…the “skeptics” organization still denies subliminals and call those who study them, “practitioners of a cargo cult..” I wonder who the skeptics work for?

    Regards,
    Jack

  22. Darren, Xander,

    Thanks very much for commenting, guys. Glad you also find the subject of interest.

    Jack,

    I’m not aware of any subliminal message resources, but if you find one, please do let me know.

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