Testing subliminal advertising (again)


My college had a very good research psych department. One of the best classes I took there was an advanced psychological statistics course (I wasn’t a psych major but was taking a crossover dual major that required me to take several psych courses). The professor said he’d had a grad student who made a lot of money going on to sell subliminal advertising to department stores, but he personally did not see how it could be effective since the very definition of subliminal is that half the time most people cannot perceive it (that is, it’s sub - below the lima - limit of hearing or seeing).

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They talked about this on the Infinite Monkey cage recently, and tried an experiment which didn’t demonstrate it working. (ETA - now I RTFA and discover this is the experiment in question…)

I think the most interesting point was that people are worried about subliminal advertising for which there is no evidence of efficacy, but not all the liminal advertising we’re swamped in (which is why I am heartily in favour of vandalism/graffiti that defaces billboards :smile:)


Daneel, I popped in to suggest the same thing. The bugaboo of “subliminal” advertising frames regular advertising as acceptable in our general day-to-day lives. I have a personal beef with advertising in that it interrupts my ability to concentrate on my own train of thought. There’s information that I seek out, and that I’d like to think about. I don’t appreciate billboards, for example, butting in and suggesting “wouldn’t you rather be thinking about Bud Light?”

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As if we’d need subliminal advertising to convince us of the cool, refreshing taste of Pepsi®.

Official sponsor of Brainspore. Live for Now™.


You’re not sponsored by Adobe PhotoshopⓇ?

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Thanks to internet retouching, this is all I can think of when I see the logo:


Actually that WAS a clever bit of subliminal advertising. Now every time you see a morbidly obese person’s exposed midsection you’ll crave the unnaturally sweet, acidic taste Pepsi®.

Pepsi: It’s like Coca-Cola, except Coke doesn’t have an exclusive distribution deal with this location.™


I’m not so sure about that.

I think that I will be able to find some people who think that Michael Grade is a C***.


That deal fell through. Luckily another sponsor stepped in to offer a product placement deal but I’m contractually obligated to not disclose who.


I seem to recall reading decades ago subliminal advertising doesn’t work. Nice to see the experiment repeated.

Do you?

Or is that a false memory created through the power of unconcious suggestion?

This moment of paranoia brought to you by Philip K. Dick Enterprises®.

Wolfgang Stroebe?

On the other hand, product placement can be just as subtle when done right.


If Coca Cola was originally made with cocaine, what was the mystery “pep” ingredient in Pepsi?

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