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Subliminal Advertising – A Video Worth Watching

Turning the Tables on the Advertising Industry


When looking around for today’s blogging topic, we stumbled across a really interesting video that demonstrates the power of subliminal advertising. Before you watch the video, lets take a minute to delve a little deeper into the world of subliminal messages. You may be surprised to learn that this form of advertising is more prominent than you think.

Martin Lindstrom sums up the process and power of subliminal advertising best in this brief article from parade.com.

Subliminal advertising–hidden messages embedded in ads–is considered a deceptive business practice by the Federal Trade Commission. Yet a legal kind of “subliminal” persuasion happens every day. Shoppers are regularly encouraged to buy by appeals to their senses or unconscious assumptions. I recently carried out a series of research experiments to uncover the ways advertisers burrow beneath our rational minds to get us to pull out our wallets. Here are five techniques used to mess with our minds that you should know about.

Some Products Just Feel Right

I once conducted a test by giving consumers both a lightweight and a heavy TV remote control. The across-the-board response to the lighter-weight model? “It’s broken.” Even when they found out the lightweight remote was totally functional, shoppers still felt its quality was inferior.

Some TV remotes and MP3 players on the market today would weigh half of what they do if they weren’t stuffed with completely useless wads of aluminum. Customers believe the heavier objects they’re holding are more sturdy and substantial. As a result, they’re willing to pay a higher price for them.

We Fall for “Tradition”

Some people believe that squeezing a lime into a Corona beer is a time-honored Mexican custom that came about to enhance the beer’s taste. Others maintain that the ritual derives from an ancient Meso-American practice designed to combat germs, with the lime’s acidity destroying bacteria. The truth? The Corona-and-lime ritual dates back only to 1981, when, reportedly on a bet with his buddy, a bartender popped a lime wedge into the neck of a Corona to see if he could start a trend.

This simple act, which caught on like wildfire, is generally credited with helping Corona overtake Heineken as the best-selling imported beer in the U.S. market.

The more stressed-out we are by the financial crisis and other problems, the more we unconsciously adhere to familiar, comforting rituals. Marketers know this full well and exploit it.

Music Makes Us Buy

Store owners know that playing music with a tempo faster than the human heartbeat causes shoppers to shop quickly–and therefore buy less. The slower the beat, the more time shoppers will take, and the greater the chances are that they’ll buy something.

Music also can direct us to certain products. For example, it can determine what kind of wine we pick up from the shelves. In one experiment over a two-week period, British researchers played either accordion-heavy French music or a German brass band over the speakers of the wine section inside a large supermarket. On French music days, 77% of consumers bought French wine, whereas on German music days, the vast majority of consumers picked up a German selection. Intriguingly, only one out of the 44 customers who agreed to answer a few questions at the checkout counter mentioned the music as among the reasons they bought the wine they did.

Places Give Cachet

A product’s country of origin can subliminally influence what we buy. Let’s say I offered you a choice of two new cars (my treat). They’re the same model, the same make, the same color, and both are decked out with the same accessories. There’s only one difference: One is made in Turkey, and the other is manufactured in Switzerland. My guess is that you’d pick the Swiss model, since you associate Switzerland with superb craftsmanship and high standards.

A few years ago, I was helping a struggling perfume maker regain its footing in the market. When I glanced at the perfume bottle to see where the fragrance was manufactured, I noticed that instead of the glamorous cities typically associated with perfume (Paris! Rome!), the company listed middle-American cities on its labels. Now, Milwaukee and Dallas may be great places to live, but they’re not dream destinations for most consumers. Since the perfume company had offices in Paris, London, New York, and Rome, I persuaded its marketers to place those names prominently on the perfume bottle. Once the switch was made, sales shot up almost instantly. Milwaukee and Dallas, I still love you.

Shapes Have a Draw

A large food manufacturer once tested two different containers for a diet mayonnaise aimed at female shoppers. Both containers held the exact same mayo, and both bore the exact same label. The only difference? The shapes of the bottles. The first was narrow around the middle and thicker at the top and on the bottom. The second had a slender neck that tapered down into a fat bottom, like a genie bottle.

When asked which product they preferred, every single subject–all diet-conscious women–selected the first bottle without even having tasted the stuff. Why? The researchers concluded that the subjects were associating the shape of the bottle with an image of their own bodies. And what woman wants to resemble an overstuffed Buddha, particularly after she’s just spread diet mayonnaise on her turkey and alfalfa sandwich?

Read this article in it’s original production by clicking here.

On to the Video!

Here’s a really awesome video that shows you first hand, the power of subliminal advertising. HINT: Pay attention the car ride in the beginning of the video.

Let us know what you think! Please feel free to leave your comments below and let us know what you’re thoughts are subliminal advertising. Submit your own examples of subliminal advertising and we’ll post them on our blog under this post. Send submissions to AMetz@amprowritingservices.com

Happy Writing! A.M. Professional Writing Services

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