Subliminal Advertising

The video above is one of my favorites.  I think it’s hilarious that advertisers themselves can’t even tell when they’re being advertised to.  I don’t think they necessarily used “subliminal advertising.”  Subliminal advertising is a tricky concept though.  Subliminal advertising is  promotional messages the recipient is not aware of, such as those played at very low volume or flashed on a screen for less than a second. Its effectiveness is not supported by scientific evidence, and its use is considered a deceptive business practice in some jurisdictions, according to  The problem is that technically, we are being advertised to without our knowledge or consent constantly.  Advertisements are all around and this video shows us how easily we are influenced and affected by advertising without our knowledge. The video below is a video another example of subliminal advertising which is more of an example of the subliminal advertising that people usually think of.  This video shows the show Iron Chef and somewhere in this show an advertisement for McDonalds shows up and is played for 1/30 of a second.  McDonalds and Iron Chef both claim that the advertisement was a technical problem and was added into the frame by accident and that it was not meant to be a subliminal advertisement.

“In ads every detail is put there intentionally to do something to the viewer.
One purpose is to DISTRACT you from something (focusing your attention away from something and towards something else)
Another purpose is to seize your attention–and hold onto it, perhaps for days, weeks, months–without you realizing that someone has intended to seize it.”  From
This shows that advertisers work to get the attention of the consumer and to keep them thinking about the product long after their advertisement is over.  I don’t believe that most advertiser try to subliminally advertise and trick their consumers, I think that advertisers do test different responses to different tricks of advertising to keeping their consumers attention.  I also think that a few of these “subliminal advertisements” were never meant to be subliminal in the first place.

“Subliminal advertising, as some call it, is primarily a set of techniques that focus and defocus the viewer’s attention and awareness. Doing this has an impact on what the audience will be able to consciously recall about the ad and what it will remember, but not be able to consciously recall.
In magazines, for example, the advertiser’s main problem is that the typical reader gives a full-page ad only a glance in passing. Less than 3 seconds, typically, the time it takes to slowly turn a page and glance at it as it goes by on the way to the next page.
So, in a magazine or newspaper, how can the potential buyer’s attention be captured and focused, in the absence of what tv depends on: motion, music and ‘natural’ sound, and a human voice?
To do this more efficiently, different levels of attention can be “managed” within microseconds of each other so that the most conscious level of perception will partially mask, but will not overwhelm low-level awareness at one or more other levels.” also from


About monicagerman

I'm an advertising senior at Oklahoma State :)
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2 Responses to Subliminal Advertising

  1. Kyla says:

    This is a very interesting blog post! I guess I really never thought about subliminal messages in t.v. shows and commercials. Good job on your blog this week, it really makes me want to start looking for more of those little details in different shows.

  2. monicagerman says:

    Thanks a lot! Subliminal advertising is so ineresting to me and it depends on your idea of it, but you don’t see too many of the subliminal advertisements like the McDonalds ones anymore that can be fairly obvious once you find them out. There are so many subliminal messages in disney movies and in paper and magazine ads in the pictures. Glad you enjoyed it!

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