Login/Join

Do Subliminal Messages through advertisements affect the audience?

Discussion
Apr 14, 2012
by: vargen

Lately I’ve been thinking about an interesting topic to write about and I came across subliminal messages. This topic is eye catching to me because I know that subliminal messages can be everywhere, but we just don’t notice it. They can bring these messages and signals to one’s brain. Subliminal messages can be meshed in songs, movies, advertisements etc. I’ve known about subliminal messages since I can remember; although I always have perceived these “signals” or “messages” as to having a negative connotation, whether it has a sexual or an “evil” approach. For sure I know that others think about subliminal messages as hidden secret or codes people try to engrave within their pieces of artwork.

In my lifetime, I’ve never researched or read much about the topic of subliminal messages, but I have heard that some artists incorporate it within their music. Many other companies use it to trigger a person’s wants and cravings. They can be incorporated so well that the human eye can't see it unless you observe the advertisement really close. I know that some are hidden in movies as well and can go through the big screen without anyone noticing and once it is noticed people do bring it up to an official’s attention. Although many companies deny ever blending in subliminal message within their advertisements or any piece of work, most do it on purpose to call an individual’s attention.

Doing some research on my behalf, I came across this article about whether or not subliminal messages do have an influence on someone. Everyone is unique and not everything that is given or presented to each person has the same effect on each and everyone. People do say that subliminal messages cause a change in behavior, but others might not think the same. Despite whether they do work or not, subliminal messages have been used way before our time with the ambition of having a “persuasive impact on audiences.” Writer Ian O’Neil stated: "Despite inconclusive findings, and laboratory results have proven that subliminal stimuli only appear to cause short-term impacts on an individual's behavior, there have been some recent attempts in marketing to use subliminal messages." This answers my question in the perspective that yes, subliminal messages do affect an audience, but not as compelling as the businesses would want them to be.

Another source I came across was on the same website, but a different writer by the name of Bambi Turner. Individuals do think that subliminal messages through advertisements triggers something within them to go for it or go forward with what they want. Some say that advertisers don’t rely on subliminal messages to sell their products; although, researchers claim that it doesn’t work anyway. The writer stated: "They examined more than 350 media and scientific articles on the topic, and found no convincing evidence that subliminal advertising influences buying behavior [source: O'Barr]. " As we know every individual is entitled to what they want to think and their own opinions. People say that subliminal messages through advertisement does not influence one’s buying habits, but no one is really sure. It might work for some people and for the other half it might not. My question has been answered through the negative side. No, subliminal messages don’t really affect its buyers and it doesn’t work.

In a different source, the writer expresses that the whole idea of “subliminal advertising” is a phony, nothing but a hoax launched by a marketing consultant by the name of James Vicary. In this source this hoax came out to the light, but people took it seriously. The public believed that overall, subliminal advertising actually really worked. Despite the fact that people knew the whole idea was a hoaxed, a man by the name of Wilson Bryan encouraged further altercation to this topic with a “discovery” he found on an advertisement. Advertisers may put subliminal messages within their advertisements on purpose for their own advantage, but sometimes these messages just fall into place. It is the society’s choice into considering that they are true or not. The author stated: "In my book, Advertising and the Mind of the Consumer I pointed out that these things are motivated often by boredom or a need for self-expression and a practical joke." This shows that it is possible for individuals not to be aware of a certain existence taken place within their assignment or piece of work. Following up on this evidence, it helps me to answer my question by perceiving that subliminal advertising, although it being a hoaxed, it can help certain advertisers get what they want. We all know businesses want their consumers attention and money, but they might not always try to incorporate a message purposely; though, it might be done through boredom, jokes etc.

Proceeding with finding more research, I discovered another article that shifted more to the acceptance that subliminal messages do in fact affect us in some ways. Individuals were put to the test and were presented words which triggered something in their brain differently. They say that the emotional meaning of a word can be “accessed subliminally”. It all depends on the word and the connotation it holds. So many researches and studies just make people wonder and ask themselves if this really works or not. In this article the author stated a quote from another source which said: " 'Our findings, along with a growing body of research in social cognition, suggest that there might be some truth to the suggestion that our motivational states are affected—and might even be caused—by pre-consciously perceived stimuli,' " This quote helps me to answer my question by learning that we can be affected and it can come to us beforehand.

Continuing with my research, I decided to choose one more article. In this article the author talks about how we actually want to do things and subliminal messages can give us that extra push. With that extra push we fulfill what we want to do or get because before we wouldn’t be consciously aware of it. This theory or concept was proven by a couple of test done on individuals by Dutch researcher Martijn Veltkamp. People can see and perceive the world differently until they have a motivation to switch their mind set around and this can be done by showing individuals the simplest things from words to pictures. The author stated: "Dutch researcher Martijn Veltkamp has demonstrated that you can motivate people with subliminal messaging: quickly flashing words onto a screen without their noticing.” Through research, understanding and demonstrations we can see that subliminal messages can work. From this I can answer my question by stating that yes, it works and we do have an affect whether it is minor or a major one.

Through all the research that I have done, I’ve learned a lot of information. There is plenty of diversity on whether subliminal messages work at all aside from if they work through advertisements. I’ve come to conclude that even though subliminal messages are a hoax, many individuals believe it works and thats why there is still a great amount of controversy about it in modern day. Subliminal messages through advertisement do trigger something is each and everyone of us and can fill us up with fear, happiness and even motivation to do things we want to do. We all have our different opinions about this topic and many tilt to the side that they do in fact work. People will still do research and figure out new ways to fool with an individual’s brain. Now throughout these articles we have to realize that it is one’s decision on to whether believe they work or not, but subliminal messages do live and will always stick around.

Ian O'Neil, Can you really be influenced by subliminal messages? April 4, 2012
"Despite inconclusive findings, and laboratory results have proven that subliminal stimuli only appear to cause short-term impacts on an individual's behavior, there have been some recent attempts in marketing to use subliminal messages."
http://curiosity.discovery.com/question/can-really-influenced-subliminal...

Bambi Turner, Can you really be influenced by subliminal messages? April 4, 2012
"They examined more than 350 media and scientific articles on the topic, and found no convincing evidence that subliminal advertising influences buying behavior [source: O'Barr]. "
http://curiosity.discovery.com/question/can-really-influenced-subliminal...

Max Sutherland, Subliminal Advertising, Like Energizer Bunny, Just Keeps Going. . .and Going, April 4, 2012
"In my book, Advertising and the Mind of the Consumer I pointed out that these things are motivated often by boredom or a need for self-expression and a practical joke."
http://www.sutherlandsurvey.com/Column_pages/subliminal_advertising.html

National Academy of Sciences, Subliminal messages can affect our brain, researchers find, May 16, 2005, April 4, 2012
" 'Our findings, along with a growing body of research in social cognition, suggest that there might be some truth to the suggestion that our motivational states are affected—and might even be caused—by pre-consciously perceived stimuli,' "
http://www.world-science.net/othernews/050516_sublimfrm.htm

Science Daily, Subliminal Messages Motivate People To Actually Do Things They Already Wanted To Do, June 30, 2009, April 4, 2012
"Dutch researcher Martijn Veltkamp has demonstrated that you can motivate people with subliminal messaging: quickly flashing words onto a screen without their noticing."
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090630163523.htm

Comments

Big impact!

Submitted by monishan on Tue, 2012-11-13 10:41.

Dear Genesis,

This article made a big impact on me because I am doing a research project on advertisement and how does it affect its buyers. So for you to ask does subliminal messages affect its audience is a very great question. A lot of people are buying things because of what they see or hear in a advertisement. Or sometimes buying things not realizing the messages its giving rather if its good or bad sometimes even both. Most advertisements Don really had "Subliminal" messages. They just say "Hey u "NEED To buy this because this reason and that reason", and then they throw some one famous on there add just to make it look fancy.

One thing that you said that stood out to me was "“subliminal advertising” is a phony, nothing but a hoax launched".Even though this may be true. I just feel that if People made advertisements more clear and understandable there wouldn't be any misunderstandings and or people wont be buying things not really knowing what they stand for.

another thing you said that I liked was " People do say that subliminal messages cause a change in behavior, but others might not think the same. Despite whether they do work or not, subliminal messages have been used way before our time with the ambition of having a “persuasive impact on audiences.”."

I was reading an article called "Subliminal messages" http://www.saintsagainsttyranny.com/subliminal_messages.htm. It shows different pictures and then tells the message the picture is really trying to give are sexual. you have to look at each picture closely then read what the Arthur is telling you.

this article really helped me look at advertisement in a different perspective and also help me with my project.