The Effects of Subliminal Advertising Essay

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The Effects of Subliminal Advertising

The power of subliminal advertising in effecting consumers is still unproven. The concept of subliminal advertising is based on a "threshold". "This [is] thought to be a fixed point below which awareness does not extend." (Sutherland: p.30) If a word is flashed on a television screen for 50 milliseconds a person would not be conscious of it. If the time of the exposure is increased the word crosses the threshold and a person becomes consciously aware of the word. This process varies within the same person from day to day. For example, if a person is hungry while watching television, advertisements of food will be noticed more than if that same person just ate.
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The effects of subliminal advertising has been influenced by many different elements, television being the most frequent. The basic methods used by companies are flashing images on a T.V. screen, where a viewer is influenced by quick images and messages for short intervals. Advertisers also use "buzz words", for example a newspaper as may have flashy words like FREE, NEW or HURRY. In effect these words grab at the readers attention due to the meanings of the words. Also another technique that is utilized in the advertising business is using celebrities to sell the product in question. For example, "Michael Jordan is selling you Gatorade, Jerry Seinfeld is backing up American Express, and Paul Reiser wants you to use AT&T. The purpose is to give the product traits that it never even deserves, like wealth, fame and success." (Subliminal Advertising)

Michael Jordan is used as a form of a subliminal message telling people that if a product is good enough for him then everyone should buy it.

People are willing to buy products because famous people say that it is important. This is a strategy used by advertising companies all of the time. A final example of a basic form of subliminal advertising is when the company suggests "that it is second nature to buy the product." (Hidden Persuasion?) Everyone is doing it so why aren't you? This variation of subliminal advertising is usually the most powerful

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