What is subliminal advertising?

The subliminal publicity consists of introducing a sequence of images in a video really fast. The speed of these images is such that the human eye cannot perceive these impacts; therefore we are not consciously receiving the image in our head, although the information is assimilated subconsciously into our brain. Meaning, that the images are so briefly shown that are just perceive in your brain underneath the threshold of consciousness.

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This technique started in 1957, by a famous soft drink company, in the cinemas of the United States. The experiment consisted of adding small photograms to a video where they encourage people to eat more popcorn and drink more soft drinks. The number of sales of these two products increased more than the 50%. So we can conclude this technique has a direct impact on consumers’ behaviour, when it comes to both products and services. Some experts consider this technique as an act of manipulation, instead of a mere marketing strategy.

Whether we like it or not, this also happens in online marketing with video ads (for example, with YouTube ads), however any legit digital agency or PPC company knows better and will only use ethical video advertising, while staying away from such techniques.

Going back to the history of subliminal advertising… after its discovery, some countries started to be worried about the influence companies have on the customer’s behaviour so certain laws were implemented in the industry. The objective of the laws, which remains in force in many countries, was to control and regulate the influence that companies can create through commercials.

Subliminal advertising is also used to promote products, which by law cannot be advertised, the best example is tobacco in the Formula 1 competition. The impacts of tobacco advertisements during a race were frequent and too influential, mostly for the kids who were also viewers of the races. Governments had to remedy this issue by implemented new laws to prevent young people to start smoking.

Tabaco companies did not ignore the laws completely, but they kept advertising their product with subliminal messages. By using the same colours and graphics and removing the name of the company they found a way to advertising in the races but and not violating any law.

Types of subliminal advertise
Subliminal advertise is quite difficult to identify, as we said is perceived by the subconscious part of the brain.  The objective, despite the type of subliminal ads, is always the same: influence in customers feelings or create an image in our mind of the company or product. These are some types of common practices companies do nowadays in order to influence unconsciously. By the record, new techniques of subliminal.

* Hidden images, are the most common way of subliminal advertise. It consists of adding masked images in another image context.

* Visual illusions consisted of playing with the lines and the spaces of an image to evoke different thoughts.

* Dual meaning, images associated with a meaning but suggests a different one.

* High-frequency emission is basically, introducing high-speed images on a video. Consciously cannot be perceived by the human eye, but the message remains in the brain