• Yes I think they do but others don't agree. The following is decades ago - commercials and movies. Subliminal advertising is the term that has been used for the past three or four decades for the type of advertising illustrated on this site. However, it is an inaccurate term. Subliminal actually means 'below the level of'. When used in conjunction with advertising i.e. subliminal advertising, it ought literally to refer to advertising that is presented below the level at which the visual, olfactory or auditory senses can detect sensory input and lead to conscious recognition of the stimuli. To use the term subliminal to refer to the type of advertising in the books of Wilson Key and the present web site is therefore misleading - all of the secondary images/messages in the ads can be perceived and thus must, by definition, be above the sensory threshold. In 1977, twenty years after the first reported use of subliminal ads in movies, the Federal Communications Commission released this 8-page information bulletin on subliminal projection. The document reviews the history of controversial subliminal telecasts and provides an interesting description of FCC action on the issue. Definition "Subliminal projection" is a technique of projecting information below the viewing audience's threshold of sensation or awareness. It involves flashing a message lasting only a fraction of a second on the television screen. Theoretically, a viewer could receive such a message without realizing he or she had observed it. The only known attempt at subliminal advertising by an advertiser occurred some years ago when the Premium Corporation of America inserted the subliminal words "Get It" in a television commercial for a game called "Husker-Du". The company claimed that it was inserted by an exuberant (but misguided) young man from a production house in Minneapolis. The commercial was removed from the air and history records that the marketplace was not kind to "Husker-Du".
  • It is illegal for television and film advertisements in Canada and the US to contain subliminal messages. The ban on such advertising goes back over 30 years. The term "subliminal advertising" was coined to describe advertisements on television and in movie theatres that include extremely short duration text messages or images that are embedded into the advertisement to provoke a subconscious response from the consumer. Such messages are limited in duration by the refresh rate of television systems, but can be made much shorter with films by using a separate projector to flash extremely short duration messages. The single test case that claimed to demonstrate the power of subliminal advertising was later exposed as a fraud, because the person performing the test falsified the results of the test. An audience at a theatre was exposed to very short duration messages flashed onto the screen, encouraging people to purchase certain food products. The theory was that people would subconsciously absorb the content of these messages (e.g., "Buy Sudz, it's a great detergent") and respond by selecting the product in stores. Testing has never demonstrated any such correlation. However, the level of fear generated by the concept of subconscious persuasion was so high that subliminal advertisements were banned, even though they were rarely used, apart from testing audience reaction, and did not produce the desired results. In a couple of episodes of a television series from the 80s ("The Young Ones"), the creators embedded very short duration images - a couple of frames - to have a little fun with their audience. The images were unrelated to the storyline and it was very obvious that something had been embedded in the video, because the screen would flicker momentarily. The images could be seen using slow-motion on a DVD player and they probably could have been seen using the pause on the VCR. I bring this example up to demonstrate that subliminal advertising on television is difficult to achieve without the viewers noticing. A complete video frame requires 1/30s (NTSC) or 1/25s (PAL, SECAM) to display. If the message was embedded in a single field, it could be displayed in 1/60s (NTSC) or 1/50s (PAL, SECAM), but would be less visible. An individual frame containing an advertising message would be noticed by the viewer as a flicker on the screen - hardly subliminal. Although film uses a frame rate of 1/24s, a second projector would allow a message to be displayed for any period of time (e.g., 1/1000s). Subliminal advertising can be accomplished in another way: by embedding images within the advertisement itself. An image can be embedded or suggested in several ways, including manipulating the shapes of items shown in the ad, placing images on reflecting surfaces (e.g., in a background mirror in the shot), or distorting the image by viewing it through another medium (e.g., ripples on the water surface, behind a frosted glass window, through an ice cube). Some peculiar people have claimed that several popular children's cartoons are full of 'suggestive' images intended to promote one or more (mythical) agendas of the producers. Embedded advertising in the form of product placement has been used in film and television for decades. If the label on a bottle of Coca-Cola is visible, you can be sure that someone is paying for that exposure. Drinkers always order 'beer', but a brand name is rarely mentioned. Cars, clothing, drinks, food: all are embedded advertisements. On the other hand, products or their identifying labels might be obscured in some fashion to avoid displaying a company's trademark without paying rights to the trademark holder. (Canadians will recognize the ubiquitous obscuring of products in the series "Trailer Park Boys". Some products are obscured because the producers did not pay to use the trademark on television. However, many items are obscured for the sake of a joke.)
  • If all TV stations and advertising agencies abide by the law, then no. However I wonder about a 'different' kind of subliminal message. Rather than messages that go beyond cognitive recognition, what about messages that push past our cognitive recognition and appeal to our instincts? Advertisers know exactly what strings to pull - portraying sex, prosperity, success, success in relationships and other human desires in their ads, and associating it with the products. Therefore while they rattle on their spiel about the product, your mind will be seeing the images and may be convinced to associate them with the product. Deodorant ads are one I laugh at - especially when their 'visual message' is that if you use their product you'll have the opposite sex flocking to you, or that you'll suddenly have somebody find you intriguingly attractive and go after you. So I would say yes and no. No in reference to the illegal broadcasting of hidden messages, but yes to tailoring their ads to appeal beyond our mind and into our instincts.
  • Most defiantly. There are images, emotions and background thoughts that will continue to run through our minds, even though we are not aware of it. The saying Sex sells is very true. Children are often used in commercials, knowing our attraction an enjoyment on watching them. "Warm and Fuzzy" is another method of having the image stick in your mind. A tremendous amount of research and planning go into the simple commercial. I think without any effort at all, we can all think of a television commercial that we like.
  • It depends on how you define “subliminal messages.” If by that you mean the practice of flashing messages so briefly as to be below threshold of perceptibility (as in James Vicary’s discredited 1957 experiment) the answer is no, they do not. Not only is that illegal, the few legitimate studies that have been conducted suggest that the technique is ineffective. Vicary was challenged to repeat the experiment under controlled circumstances (i.e., with psychiatric professionals observing) and could not replicate the results. He ultimately confessed that he had falsified the results of the original experiment. Some doubt that Vicary actually conducted the original experiment at all. But some people define “subliminal advertising” in the broadest possible terms. For example, some claim that a commercial portraying young, attractive men and women enjoying themselves at the beach drinking brand X cola delivers a “subliminal message.” The implied message: you will be young, attractive, popular, and have fun if you drink brand X cola. The implied association between a desirable life and consuming the ad sponsor’s product is clear but is it accurate to label that “subliminal”? Perhaps it is for those that never bother to think about anything they see on TV but it’s pretty obvious to everyone else. All humans form emotional associations. Our brains are wired that way. If you spent an exceptionally pleasing day with family and friends and everyone was drinking brand X cola, the feelings you experienced on that may be unconsciously recalled every time you drink (or see, or smell) brand X cola. Couples that fondly recall “our song” associate a tune with powerful feelings of attraction. The opposite can be true as well. If everyone was drinking brand X cola on the worst day of your life you might loathe it without making a conscious association. Knowing this, advertisers attempt to associate their products with positive feelings or a desired outcome. I don’t think it is accurate to label what might be called “putting one’s best foot forward” as subliminal advertising. If that isn’t the case, then doing anything that presents a person or a thing in a positive light is a “subliminal message.” If you wash up, comb your hair, and wear nice clothes but don’t overtly broadcast the fact that you are trying to look good, are you sending a “subliminal message”? It’s worth noting that superstitions are based upon a similar mechanism known as confirmation bias. Here’s how it works: you phone a friend who, when they answer says, “Wow! I was just thinking about you. Seems like every time I think of you, the phone rings and it’s you calling. This happens so often it can’t be coincidence. We have a psychic bond!” But is this true? Probably not and confirmation bias is the culprit. In a nutshell, humans tend to remember the hits and forget the misses. Your friend recalls the times he was thinking of you just before you phoned (because it’s memorable) but doesn’t recall all the times he was thinking of you and you didn’t call or was not thinking of you and you did call. The hits stand out more than the misses so we tend to overestimate the hits and underestimate the misses. Humans are genetically wired to detect patterns. Have you ever by chance encountered a person you haven’t seen or thought about for many years but still recognized their face? Did you realize you knew the person before you knew how you knew them? That’s the human ability to recognize patterns in action. It is an innate survival mechanism that has served the species well. But there is a downside. We are so thoroughly wired to detect patterns that we tend to see them even where they do not exist. Psychics exploit this, as do casinos. Artists and magicians too. Psychologists have repeatedly confirmed our tendency to imagine causal patterns (and confirmation bias) experimentally. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It helps us stay alive. But if we are to avoid being manipulated by advertisers (and others), understanding these very human tendencies and knowing how to detect and compensate for them is important. Advertisers understand this and use it to create positive associations with their products. You may consider it sneaky but it's not "subliminal" because it is clearly above the threshold of consciousness. For an excellent explanation and detailed examples of how people exploit these human tendencies, I recommend “Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time” by Dr. Michael Shermer.
  • I am not so sure about TV commercials but I am familar with the test done with movies as well as more recent studies done in supermarkets to deter theft. I was watching a television programme about theft in stores around the U.K and in The U.S I am from New Zealand where the movies King Kong and Lord of the Rings were made and over here a current affairs programme aired showing how they catch theives who perform shopplifting and what to watch out for. They also showed that in some countries they use subliminal messaging in their music they play in some stores to help deter theft. they were at first unsure as to whether this method would work. As some subliminal studies show it takes many days for this to be effective and that subliminal messages work better visually than Audio sublimnal. this also showed that some people are more receptive to subliminal messaging than others. Anyway they showed that the supermarkets using this method had a huge drop in theft in comparision to when they were not using the sublimal system. It is possible to download free sublimnal software that can be used on a computer and flashes either pre made suggestions with topics ranging from weight loss through to stress. These flash images on your pc screen at the rate you set it at while you use your pc for everything from the net throught to playing pc games you don't even notice it. whether it really works or not I don't know. Studies seem to differ in their results thought I did find it intersting that in both stores that had a huge problem with shoplifting when they switched to using this system with music that their shoplifting rate dropped dramatically and has stayed that way. So yes some countries obviously must be allowed to do this thought I would have thought it would be illegal to use any sort of mind control without a persons knowledge as some people such as those that suffer epilepsy can have bad reactions to things like hypnosis and subliminal suggestion tapes. Hope this helps answer your question
  • I got this from Wikipedia... "During the 2000 U.S. presidential campaign, a television ad campaigning for Republican candidate George W. Bush showed words (and parts thereof) scaling from the foreground to the background on a television screen. When the word BUREAUCRATS flashed on the screen, one frame showed only the last part, RATS."
  • Yes they do if you look closely you can see things that are out of the normal

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