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Hidden persuasions
July 25, 2011 8:06 PM   Subscribe

Subliminal Sex Messages and Pornography in Advertising and Cartoons (SLYT-SFW)
posted by Brian B. (106 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh god it's middle school all over again.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 8:14 PM on July 25, 2011 [9 favorites]


That intro was a subliminal message, right? It was something like "go to sleep."
posted by datawrangler at 8:14 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


50 seconds of scrolling text? Here's the beginning of the actual video.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:15 PM on July 25, 2011


Isn't this just 'Subliminal Seduction' all over again? Didn't it get debunked shortly after it got published in the '70s?
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 8:16 PM on July 25, 2011 [9 favorites]


Vaginas! They're everywhere!
posted by Partario at 8:16 PM on July 25, 2011


The Virgin one has me baffled, and I'm the kind of person who sees dicks where there are no dicks.

(They know it says "Virgin," right? Who needs subliminal messages? Also, have they seen the old logo?)
posted by Sys Rq at 8:17 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


This video was made by people recovering from huffing jenkum, right?
posted by KokuRyu at 8:17 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


For an industry that can't even photoshop the legs back on their models, I'm gonna go ahead and assume that like 80% of those hidden sexes were unintentional. I mean, christ, I can look out my window right now and spell SEX with the lit windows on the buildings if I wanted to. I could probably even spell out "mathowie eats babies," given enough buildings.

Matt eats babies. You heard it here first, folks.
posted by phunniemee at 8:18 PM on July 25, 2011 [22 favorites]


A few of those were pretty cool, but a few more were streeeeeetching.
posted by Windigo at 8:19 PM on July 25, 2011


Isn't this just 'Subliminal Seduction' all over again? Didn't it get debunked shortly after it got published in the '70s?

Pretty much, yeah. And this video lost me when it suggested that people think about sex a lot because of subliminal advertising.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:19 PM on July 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


Sys Rq, I miss that old logo.
posted by datawrangler at 8:19 PM on July 25, 2011


This is weak sauce...if you know what I mean, and I think you do.
posted by anigbrowl at 8:20 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


"So ... turned on right now ... Must ... buy ... Skittles ..."
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:22 PM on July 25, 2011 [12 favorites]


Interestingly, Ethan van Sciver, the artist of the X-Men issue shown near the end with the subliminal "SEX" messages, denies having put them in there.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 8:22 PM on July 25, 2011


Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, especially when it has "vagina" written on it.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 8:22 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


For those who didn't get all the way through, here is the conclusion:
Why do advertisers do this? It it because people are obsessed with sex? Or maybe people are obsessed with sex BECAUSE of such advertising.
Man, someone is really trying to feel better about masturbating.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 8:23 PM on July 25, 2011 [9 favorites]


It takes a special kind of paranoia to find something even more sexual in a picture of man disrobing.
posted by Partario at 8:23 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


There is a man in the camels leg, free him.
posted by clavdivs at 8:24 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I read Subliminal Seduction as a teen and got into the habit of looking for this stuff for fun, and I still can't figure out what I'm supposed to be seeing in a lot of those. The ice cubes before the virgin logo are supposed to make me think about bad postmodern art so I'm depressed and want a drink, right?
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 8:27 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Meh. Sometimes a burrito is just a burrito.
posted by EatTheWeak at 8:30 PM on July 25, 2011


I guess the advertisers have given up on brainwashing the illiterate among us.
posted by ubermasterson at 8:30 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


All I know is after watching pornography I could go for a long cold glass of Pepsi.
posted by The Whelk at 8:35 PM on July 25, 2011 [11 favorites]


I'm sure some of it is on purpose but spotting most examples are akin to finding the face of Jesus in a piece of toast.
posted by thorny at 8:35 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


It takes a special kind of pervert to see dicks and 'gines in everything.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 8:41 PM on July 25, 2011


I didn't get it in the 70s when I was supposed to see a skull and crossbones in an ice cube in a highball glass, and I don't get it now when I'm supposed to see a cock in some dude's abs.

Give me a photo of anything and I can find something "sexual" in it...HOLY SHIT! They were right!
posted by chaoticgood at 8:45 PM on July 25, 2011


I'm sure some of it is on purpose but spotting most examples are akin to finding the face of Jesus in a piece of toast.

Or better yet, in a soggy biscuit.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:45 PM on July 25, 2011


The Little Mermaid movie poster has long been a source of controversy...

What movie has the little guy officiating the wedding popping a boner? That was pretty funny!
posted by Chuckles at 8:52 PM on July 25, 2011


The abs thing was a riot. Here I was thinking that a shirtless model was a little more than subliminally sexy, but I guess they wanted to really get the point across with a dick shadow.

Or uh, maybe they were just abs.
posted by Winnemac at 8:53 PM on July 25, 2011


Edward Bernays, introduced psychological manipulation into contemporary advertising using his uncle, Sigmund Freud's theories about accessing the unconscious.

Adam Curtis discusses this in the first minutes of his brilliant documentary, The Century of the Self.

The Mad Men shows that reference psychological manipulation are quite well done. I like the one where Peggy uses the figure of Virgin Mary to sell popsicles.

Merchants of Cool is an excellent Frontline documentary discussing the manipulation of teens through advertising.

A woman I met some years ago, told me works in advertising, studying the psychology of branding with the focus on the family and its symbols as a way to increase consumer spending, "customer engagement" and loyalty to a product or brand as an image. I think those who manipulate consumers (working in advertising/marketing) for a living have come a long way from simply using an image of a sexual organ, sexual act or the word "sex" in an advertisement to drive spending.
posted by nickyskye at 8:54 PM on July 25, 2011 [16 favorites]


What movie has the little guy officiating the wedding popping a boner?

...That would also be The Little Mermaid. Clearly, everyone on that movie's production staff was 13 years old.
posted by phunniemee at 8:55 PM on July 25, 2011


THE ILLUMINATI MIND CONTROL GNOMES ARE EVERYWHERE
posted by empath at 8:56 PM on July 25, 2011


I've worked as an advertising creative for over 7 years, I only wish it were as interesting as participating in a massive sinister conspiracy. I vote for puerile illustrators and layout artists seeing how much they can get away with.
posted by Scoo at 8:57 PM on July 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


I'll be in my bunk.
posted by Nelson at 8:57 PM on July 25, 2011


Too bad there wasn't an ad for straws. So the video creator could grasp at them.
posted by HostBryan at 8:58 PM on July 25, 2011 [9 favorites]


Sometimes a dick shadow is just a dick shadow.
posted by beau jackson at 9:01 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


If this stuff really worked, how do you account for the dismal failure of Throbbing Cock Cola?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:01 PM on July 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


I must get my hands on some rupees... *drool*
posted by stinkycheese at 9:06 PM on July 25, 2011


Allright, who wants to join the Pen 15 club.
posted by phaedon at 9:10 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Isn't this just 'Subliminal Seduction' all over again? Didn't it get debunked shortly after it got published in the '70s?

He attempts to debunk the debunkers in his book The Clam-Plate Orgy. I thought it was a rather good book. It has more art history, more techniques used in subliminals.

This stuff came out when I was in art school and everyone experimented with subliminals. Later on, I worked in printing and prepress, so I saw a lot of advertisers and art directors goofing with subliminals in print publications. But I don't think any of them really knew what they were doing. Sure they had some specific ideas they were trying to execute, like using Photoshop to screen faint words like SEX at about 3% contrast across a flat background in a photo (a "subliminal embed"). But I don't think they really had any idea of what they were doing.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:10 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I vote for puerile illustrators and layout artists seeing how much they can get away with.

As an advertising creative, I must agree. Beyond the ones that are clearly over-the-top deliberate (the beach folks arrayed "just so") I'd guess 90% of these were done without the knowledge of the client, and would've certainly gotten people fired had they been noticed during review.
posted by jalexei at 9:16 PM on July 25, 2011


Subliminal Seduction
The Clam-Plate Orgy


Have you ever noticed that "Wilson Bryan Key, Ph.D." is an anagram of WANKY BONERY LIPS HD?
posted by Sys Rq at 9:27 PM on July 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


Seriously, ad workers have enough to worry about without sticking the word "sex" in everywhere.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 9:28 PM on July 25, 2011


(Also, KY HARD BLOWN PENISY)
posted by Sys Rq at 9:30 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


These days the concept of sex sells has become less subliminal and a lot more blunt. [nsfw] It's routine with Calvin Klein and Guess Jeans, standard issue for Terry Richardson [nsfw].
posted by nickyskye at 9:30 PM on July 25, 2011


I still can't figure out what I'm supposed to be seeing in a lot of those. The ice cubes before the virgin logo are supposed to make me think about bad postmodern art so I'm depressed and want a drink, right?

Yeah, I'm also confused as to what that one is supposed to be.
posted by asnider at 9:41 PM on July 25, 2011


When it doesn't even get that the Club 18-30 ads are deliberately begging to be double-takes, for entertainment purposes, this is hardly convincing. Er, persuasive.
posted by dhartung at 9:42 PM on July 25, 2011


The best part of the youtube video was that one of the suggested follow up videos was a golden retriever trying to mount an older lady. Awesome!
posted by helmutdog at 9:45 PM on July 25, 2011


The SEX spelled out in dust in the Lion King has long been settled as actually being SFX
posted by Blasdelb at 10:00 PM on July 25, 2011


Subliminal advertising is just a phallusy.
posted by crunchland at 10:00 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


What is erotic about the word "sex"? Given a moments consideration, one might conclude that the word "sex" is a turn-off. It's an English monosyllable, past clinical and into the range of cold and ugly. We don't want "sex". We want to make love.
posted by Goofyy at 10:01 PM on July 25, 2011


An anagram of "Subliminal Sex Messages" is "Labeling Assumes Sexism".
posted by bwg at 10:01 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


"What movie has the little guy officiating the wedding popping a boner? That was pretty funny!"

If you watch the whole scene in context it is actually one of two knobby knees
posted by Blasdelb at 10:04 PM on July 25, 2011


Oh, I wanted to say too: The penis in the abs is old. I knew an artist that did, of all things, Jesus Christ Superstar posters. He was gay, and was amused at himself for hiding a big penis in the abs of Jesus. I am inclined to strongly agree with Scoo, above.
posted by Goofyy at 10:07 PM on July 25, 2011


As I watched that video, a few points occurred to me. The main one was, i really don't need advertisng to inspire me to lascivious thoughts. I was ready to masturbate before the video and i don't find myself more or less inclined to do so after having watched it. As mentioned, I had some other points, but you'll have to excuse me for a moment.
posted by sharpener at 10:13 PM on July 25, 2011


Yeah, I'm also confused as to what that one is supposed to be.

I can't tell if you guys are being serious, but just to help folks out, I busted out some MSpaint:

The Coca-Cola ad's ice cube, explained.
posted by phunniemee at 10:14 PM on July 25, 2011 [12 favorites]


Clearly the person who made this video is obsessed with something.
posted by MrLint at 10:24 PM on July 25, 2011


The Coca-Cola ad's ice cube, explained.

ohhhhhh.... I was having a vase/faces thing there and trying to figure out what the blue bit was.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 10:25 PM on July 25, 2011


I can't tell if you guys are being serious, but just to help folks out, I busted out some MSpaint:

The Coca-Cola ad's ice cube, explained.

I was being totally serious. Never in a million years would I have seen that without your MS Paint skills. Seriously.
posted by asnider at 10:26 PM on July 25, 2011


I have been noticing more explicit sexual references and body horror in kids cartoons these days. One morning I woke up to this Sym Bionic Titan scene, which isn't very subtle. followed by the new Scooby Doo and Generator Rex, which is basically Ben 10 with body horror
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:29 PM on July 25, 2011


The human brain is wired for pattern recognition. If you want to find naughty bits, you'll find naughty bits … just like you'll see Sewerface.

I'm not saying all the things the video pointed out were fake, but some of them were a bit of a stretch.
posted by narwhal bacon at 10:34 PM on July 25, 2011


I'm not saying all the things the video pointed out were fake, but some of them were a bit of a stretch.

I think modern cartoons are more likely to acknowledge their older fanbases and play to the crowd. Or so TV Tropes would have me believe.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:36 PM on July 25, 2011


The place I used to work had one of these Coke machines, and the angle's not great but I always couldn't help but see a woman on top of the can, reclining on her side, with her long hair draping over the front of the can.

I wouldn't necessarily put any of that past Coke, they're a megabrand with an advertising fortune. I'll bet Don Draper would be into it.

PEGGY: I just don't think it's right to hide penises in a magazine ad!

DON: We're just getting inside people's heads, Peggy. It's what we do every day [looks steely, takes belt of scotch]

posted by chaff at 10:41 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Has anyone else just fucked the soft furnishings?
posted by MuffinMan at 10:54 PM on July 25, 2011


Good to know my mouse scroll wheel is actually a clitoris and the side buttons are labia.

♫ The scroll, the scroll, the buttons, the buttons, scrolling so smooth like the butter on a muffin. ♫
posted by benzenedream at 11:08 PM on July 25, 2011


Sometimes you get so bored at work, you just can't help but do something silly like hide the word satan in a christmas special. Not that I would ever do anything like that.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 11:19 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


i remember finding the sex on pepsi cans before it was common knowledge. it just popped right out at me. you can't really see it with one can. they have to be stacked like they were in the store. old school six pack style.

there's an old interview with mark mothersbaugh where he discussed mutato inserting subliminals into ads. funny stuff. (mcdonald's ads that said "question authority" and the like. he quit after he almost got busted by a client for doing it.
posted by readyfreddy at 11:33 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Disney has had subliminal messages in art for decades (NSFW)
posted by Chuffy at 12:18 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Snopes on the Coca-Cola ad's ice cubes at the beginning.
posted by K.P. at 1:05 AM on July 26, 2011


These run the gamut from 'very obviously stretching' to 'very obviously intentional'. Bread is life? Um, yeah.
Also it makes me sad that 5 years ago these would have been on a webpage I could scroll through in 30 seconds, but now I have to sit through 9 minutes of video of still images.
posted by Gordafarin at 1:31 AM on July 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


I came in here because there are 69 comments.
posted by maxwelton at 1:44 AM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Were. Damn.
posted by maxwelton at 1:44 AM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


[looks steely, takes belt of scotch]

God help me, I just did a wiki search to find out who 'Scotch' was, and why Don was removing his/her belt.

Time for my wrist rest to become a pillow.
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 3:26 AM on July 26, 2011


Nah, it's all made up. Nobody ever made a calendar out of scantily-clad women draped across shiny automobiles in an era when polite people couldn't say "pregnant" out loud.

Here we have a scientific study proving no results from such images. There, now, will you leave us alone?

Pay no attention to those travel advertisements showing a handsome local man charming a tourist woman. We'd never stoop that low!
posted by Twang at 3:46 AM on July 26, 2011


I can hardly wait for the sequel on Jesus toast.
posted by Sparkticus at 4:14 AM on July 26, 2011


Wow, it's the 70s all over again. What's up next, Erich Von Daniken?

This is just pareidolia. Like seeing the face on Mars, or the Virgin Mary in a tortilla.
posted by Pararrayos at 4:20 AM on July 26, 2011


I still can't figure out what I'm supposed to be seeing in a lot of those. The ice cubes before the virgin logo are supposed to make me think about bad postmodern art so I'm depressed and want a drink, right?

Yeah, I'm also confused as to what that one is supposed to be.


Look for a woman's face in profile on the right, in red, with her mouth open in the circled area. Then the red phallus in the lower left. It's all a bit of a stretch, frankly. The beach ones with the just-so positioning repeatedly in the same picture, I can believe that was intentional. The rest? Meh. The straws 'sex' one was REALLY bad - it was finding a pattern that really wasn't there.

This reminds me of the "There was a little tool shed where he made us suffer" pattern-matching.
posted by ArkhanJG at 5:00 AM on July 26, 2011


Next up from this guy, presumably, will be a series of weird text-only videos complaining about how people use grammar to control your mind...
posted by indubitable at 5:31 AM on July 26, 2011


What's up next, Erich Von Daniken?

I haven't seen it myself, but I've heard his theories (if not him) have been popping up on the History Channel lately.
posted by drezdn at 5:54 AM on July 26, 2011


Narwhal Bacon, thanks for pointing out Sewerface! The image on your link didn't work for me, but I found him at boingboing.

(by the way, has anyone seen Richard Grant around lately? hm?)
posted by taz at 6:26 AM on July 26, 2011


The doctor says to him. 'You are obsessed with sex!' He replies, 'Well you're the one drawing all the dirty pictures!
posted by condour75 at 6:45 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I came in here because there are 69 comments.

Up top my brothah!
posted by The Deej at 7:00 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I still don't get what the Virgin logo is supposed to be - can someone help me out?
posted by arcticwoman at 7:20 AM on July 26, 2011


Will someone find those counterpoint studies that basically disproves the notion of all-powerful subliminal messages straight to your brain as complete bunk.

The human mind is a wonderful, complicated thing. It isn't a flash ROM you can just globally reprogram with flashing lights and culturally specific images.

This is pure reduction to absurdity.
posted by clvrmnky at 8:01 AM on July 26, 2011


If I'm not mistaken, arcticwoman, the Virgin logo in the video, once turned on its side and viewed through half squinted eyes, says "SEX". Big stretch!
posted by BrianJ at 8:02 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is stupid. First, subliminal messages don't work. Secondly, this video misunderstands what it means that "sex sells," and how advertising works in general. You can't just put the word SEX or some phallic shaped object in a random image and expect the audience to view the product within a sexual context.

You could literally print the word sex is large clear type on that Dark Knight poster, and it wouldn't work to invoke sex.

The way advertising uses sex to manipulate is on the symbolic level. This is how sex sells. It works by connecting the product to an unattainable sex object. The woman is beautiful, but you can never get her. She is holding a camera, which then becomes a desirable object simply because the desirable female sex object holds it, but in contrast to her, the camera is attainable. The object of desire that the sex drive aims for shifts from the woman to the camera, and the camera becomes a sex object in her place. Simultaneously, within the image of the ad, the woman's gaze is fixed on it, so it is represented as an object of desire for her, giving you the consumer the sense that because she desires it, your possession of it will attract her to you.

There is no reason to sell a camera by showing a beautiful woman holding it, it makes no logical sense. It tells you nothing about the camera, or why it is better than other cameras. It only works because the viewer/consumer is presumed to have a sex drive. This is how sex in advertising works, by sending messages to that psychological apparatus. Not by trying to hide the word "SEX" in the image.

Also, this operation is so fleeting that it doesn't last. You don't look at that camera ad and then forever think that if you buy the camera you get sex with that girl. At best, it leaves the lingering sense that this camera feels/looks/is sexier than the others.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:05 AM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


You guys would already have known this if you would just put the damn sunglasses on.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:16 AM on July 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


I could really go for a penis about now.
posted by Trochanter at 8:19 AM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


The real deal is the selling of self identity. The "manly" F150 owner. The "perfect family" laundry soap user. The "lots of friends" beer drinker. The "dynamic woman" Honda driver.

That shit works. Hidden penises? Who cares?
posted by Trochanter at 8:28 AM on July 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


These days the concept of sex sells has become less subliminal and a lot more blunt.

Yes. But why is this included in that montage? That just seems like a somewhat clever, and refreshingly progressive add that simply emphasizes the merits of the product.
posted by Chuckles at 8:33 AM on July 26, 2011


If this stuff really worked, how do you account for the dismal failure of Throbbing Cock Cola?

The aftertaste.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:39 AM on July 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


terrible!
posted by Qrops at 8:43 AM on July 26, 2011


But why is this included in that montage?

Speculating because it's a close-up of big breasts in a lacy bra? ie Sex sells.

I've worked as an advertising creative for over 7 years, I only wish it were as interesting as participating in a massive sinister conspiracy.

Perhaps being a marketing executive for a large corporation is a field you might enjoy? > Marketing managers are often responsible for influencing the level, timing, and composition of customer demand accepted definition of the term. Or Self-branding, planned obsolescence (contemporary examples), in the field of consumer behavior or international marketing?

If you prefer sinister advertising, you might consider doing work on advertising powdered milk as a breast milk substitute in poor/developing countries? Example.

> [...]the best marketing executives know that interpreting what the public at large is looking for or will respond to is absolutely essential for the success of any endeavor. A big part of a marketing executive’s job is just knowing the market that exists for particular products and services, and being able to predict the reaction of potential consumers to not only the product itself, but also to different marketing strategies that can be used to reach those consumers.
posted by nickyskye at 8:53 AM on July 26, 2011


This is how sex sells.

I'm sooooo hungry now.
posted by papercake at 9:02 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have Subliminal Seduction. Some of the examples from the video were in the book. The book also has Playboy covers and centrefolds. It struck me as kind of silly to go to the trouble of hiding subliminal sex in a picture that already has a naked woman in it. The author makes the claim that subliminal sex is more powerful because you won't consciously guard against it.

I might give some credence to some of the symbolic stuff, but I'm definitely skeptical that I am processing written language without being conscious of it.
posted by RobotHero at 9:24 AM on July 26, 2011


The wonderful thing about this video is that in probably about half the instances where the author claims the image shows the word "sex" -- after highlighting it prominently so the viewer sees it too -- if you instantly go back and look before it was highlighted, you'll notice it's not really there.

It's not there, because anyone can draw between the dots to create anything they want. He created words where there were none (like in the Batman poster with the clouds or the woman's face in the sun). Someone else could draw monkeys.

That's sort of the point of putting nondescript imagery into an ad -- it becomes a Rorschach inkblot test for anyone to draw anything they want from it.

But yeah, the phallic bread and pickle... heh.
posted by docjohn at 9:50 AM on July 26, 2011


The wonderful thing about this video is that in probably about half the instances where the author claims the image shows the word "sex" -- after highlighting it prominently so the viewer sees it too -- if you instantly go back and look before it was highlighted, you'll notice it's not really there.

Oh, you would say that, wouldn't you?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:01 PM on July 26, 2011 [17 favorites]


Bwah what a lot of editing. Good paint-by-numbers skills though. I never found the word "Sex" in any of mine...
Obligatory ftfy line: "We're overtly being brainwashed."

(And pot-boilers. The bit from "The Rescuers" has been around for ages: a modern myth tale that one of their animators put a topless picture into two frames, causing a bunch of copies of the film to be recalled when someone finally spotted it. Wikipedia link, see under "controversy").
posted by Namlit at 12:27 PM on July 26, 2011


More Snickers! More Coke!
posted by FatherDagon at 12:30 PM on July 26, 2011


The Little Mermaid movie poster has long been a source of controversy...

What movie has the little guy officiating the wedding popping a boner? That was pretty funny!


That was also The Little Mermaid.
posted by odinsdream at 12:53 PM on July 26, 2011


Plus, given the way marketing works these days, wouldn't you be more likely to see a screen full of penises and boobs with a "coke" secretly embedded? Product placement and all that?
posted by Trochanter at 1:28 PM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


The idea that subliminal imagery can control our behavior is an example of what the sociologist Jeremy Freese has called a "vampirical result," i.e., one that won't die no matter how many times it fails to replicate.

simple words and pictures can be perceived subliminally and can have minor effects on behavior. this is not remotely like causing someone to actually act (e.g., go buy a coke, kill someone).
posted by cogneuro at 4:33 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


The largest, longest-running, and most authoritative proof of the failure of the subliminal advertising premise is... the marketplace isn't relying on it.

If it worked, marketing people would be trained in it, both in college and on the job.

Literal trillions of dollars are at stake, and year after year they are bet on "doesn't work."
posted by IAmBroom at 6:45 PM on July 26, 2011


What is erotic about the word "sex"? Given a moments consideration, one might conclude that the word "sex" is a turn-off. It's an English monosyllable, past clinical and into the range of cold and ugly. We don't want "sex". We want to make love.

That's fucking Goofyy.
posted by IAmBroom at 6:45 PM on July 26, 2011


If it worked, marketing people would be trained in it, both in college and on the job.

It's considered underhanded and the backlash would severely damage a brand. When Vance Packard's book came out in the fifties, people were very angry at the idea of subliminal ads. On the other hand, most of the money spent on modern advertising doesn't rely on direct persuasion of facts and figures, or else it would be very cheap to make. Billions are spent on simply repeating group tested ads over and over to link the thought of the product in people's minds with seemingly random or unrelated ideas presented in the commercial (yet those seemingly unrelated ideas are known to be associated with the buyers they are targeting, and this is consistent with subliminal marketing).

As for subliminal persuasion, there's little doubt that it influences decision making in the short term, such as stimulating someone to buy a beverage they may not buy otherwise, although in the long term it was never credited with smoking cessation or changing people's minds about something.
posted by Brian B. at 8:30 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


It does'nt work like the. If if did, all I would have to do is add

..######..########.##.....##
.##....##.##........##...##.
.##.......##.........##.##..
..######..######......###...
.......##.##.........##.##..
.##....##.##........##...##.
..######..########.##.....##


and everyone would favorite this comment.
posted by joelf at 10:12 PM on July 26, 2011 [7 favorites]




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