Sunday 22 February 2015

Embedded Subliminal in Advert

The above picture comes from a spam email sent to me from Groupon, a deal-of-the-day website. I can't remember what the product was, but whatever it was, in order to sell it the marketing team have decided to use the most devious persuasion tactic of all: subliminal perception. In this picture the woman's chin looks very like her bottom and the tulip in her hand resembles her vagina; this is very real and, despite what some might claim, I don't think it's just the way my mind works. Subliminals like this are very commonly used in advertizing and tend to be of a graphic sexual nature because sex is a short cut to our subconscious mind, as Sigmund Freud discovered. It might surprise you, but this ad is probably intended to target female customers; it is homoerotic. This is because for most people homosexual urges are buried in the very deepest parts of our subconscious minds. Most people who see this image will not notice the sexual subliminal, but they will still be influenced by it. Experiments have proven that the presence of subliminal stimuli does influence human behaviour. This has been known for a long time. When the film Ben Hur was released in 1959 some of the reels sent out to the cinemas had subliminal images of Coca Cola bottles which are not consciously visible to the viewers; yet sales of Coke in the foyers were significantly higher in the cinemas where the subliminally-loaded reels were sent than they were in the control group. Whatever methods can be used to persuade you to buy an aspartame-laced soft drink can manipulate your behaviour in many other ways. There's a very interesting novel by John Brunner called The Squares of the City which was marketed as a sci-fi story, but is actually more of a political mystery thriller. The book was published in 1965 and was very influential because it struck a chord with readers. People sensed that it was truth disguised as fiction. Part of the plot was the use of subliminal perception in the media to influence the characters, see: Why not? Subliminals have indeed been used by politicians, see: We need to be on our guard against subliminals. Using them to make a man buy a hotdog though making it look like a penis is morally questionable, but using it to get him to take up arms in a fake war is another matter.

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