The power of subliminal advertising

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

Via advertising for peanuts and Dan Germain.

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  1. I believe everything Derren tells me.

    He told me to…. :shock:

  2. 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.

  3. I’m sending you a subliminal comment

    Did you get it?

    There it is again.

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

    Paper Bull, interesting point, but I’m not sure it’s viable. You have to think about the children.

  5. 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?

  6. Asgeir Hoem

    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.

  7. 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.

    [is a design blog]

  8. 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.

    Asgeir, do some work. ;)

  9. 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.

  10. Armen >>

    I really don’t know. 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.

  11. 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.

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

  13. Armen, you’re right to be sceptical. Interesting vid, though.

  14. 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:

  15. 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?

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Jack Sigil

    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?


  19. Darren, Xander,

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


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

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