Since the early days of print advertising, marketers have been looking for new ways to reach consumers and get attention. From persuasive visuals to catchy headlines, there's no shortage of ways to make an ad stand out. But what about ads that don't even show up on the page? Subliminal ads are a form of marketing that uses subtle, often unnoticed cues to influence the consumer's behavior or opinion. This type of advertising can take many forms, from visual cues that are flashed on the screen to audio messages. And while subliminal advertising is often associated with unethical or manipulative marketing practices, it may actually influence consumer behavior. In fact, various studies have shown that subliminal messages can affect everything from food choices to political opinions. So how do these hidden messages work? And are they really as effective as some people claim? Let's take a closer look.
One of the most common ways that subliminal messages are delivered is through "embedded codes." This is when a message is subliminally embedded in another message. The idea is that the subconscious mind will pick up on the message even if the conscious mind does not. And if you're thinking that you would never fall for something like that, you might be surprised. In fact, there are various studies that suggest embedded codes can be quite effective. Here are a few examples:
The Da Vinci Code
The Da Vinci Code, written by Dan Brown, is a novel that follows a symbologist as he solves a mystery. And while the book is full of puzzles and codes, there’s one code that is not so easy to spot. Throughout the book, there are various subliminal messages in reference to the catholic church and catholicism. And while many readers may not pick up on these messages, they may affect how they perceive catholicism. In fact, the church has even denounced the book, saying that it is full of lies and malicious code. This, however, wouldn't be the only time that subliminal messages have been used in literature.
The Shakespeare Code
The Shakespeare Code by Virginia Wilson is a book that also uses subliminal messages to communicate with the reader. In this case, various hidden messages are used to question the true author of Shakespeare's works. This resulted in a lot of controversy when the book was first released, with many people accusing Wilson of blasphemy. While some may argue that these hidden messages add another layer of depth, others may find them manipulative and intrusive. Due to its controversy, however, the book gained a great deal of popularity. At Wizard of Ads®, we generate disruptive ads that stop the scroll without the controversy. Using psychological techniques, we plant a seed in the prospect’s mind that will grow and take hold. If you're looking for distinctive, disruptive ads that will break through the noise, we've got you covered. Book a call with Ryan Chute today to get started.
Miguel de Cervantes and his Copy of Forbidden New Testament
Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote de La Mancha is widely regarded as one of the greatest novels ever written. In this novel, however, the Spanish author included various references to a "forbidden" book known as the New Testament. At the time, possession of the New Testament was punishable by death in Spain. And while Cervantes was well aware of this, he still included several references throughout his novel. In fact, some believe that Cervantes was using the New Testament as a way to Criticize the Spanish Inquisition. While the novel has been banned in several countries over the years, it is still widely read and studied. Could this be due in part to the subliminal messages contained within it? Many would argue that the messages in the book are anything but subliminal. In fact, they are quite blatant. Each reader, however, is likely to have a different interpretation of the messages, making them subliminal nonetheless.
Subliminal Ads and their Subliminal Messages?
Subliminal ads are not limited to print media. They can be found in all forms of advertising, including television, radio, and the internet. In fact, David Ogilivy, a very successful advertising executive, was a big proponent of subliminal techniques. He believed that by embedding messages in ads, he could influence people's buying decisions without them even realizing it. And while there is no solid evidence that subliminal messages actually work, that hasn't stopped companies from using them. In fact, some of the most famous subliminal ads are still in use today.
Coca-Cola is a company that's been using subliminal messages in its advertising for years. One of their most popular subliminal ads, however, was the product itself. The shape of the Coca-Cola bottle closely resembles the female body. Many believe that this was intentional, as the company wanted to suggest that their product is desirable subconsciously. Coca-Cola, however, isn't the only company that's been using sex appeal to sell their product. In fact, it's a tactic that's been used by companies for years.
Similar to Coca-Cola, SFX magazine strategically uses sex appeal in its ads to draw in readers. In fact, subliminal messages are present on every cover. This is because SFX magazine strategically places images near the "F" to make it read as "sex." Not all subliminal ads are as overt as SFX magazines. In some cases, logos can be designed in a way that subconsciously suggests something about the product.
FedEx, an American multinational delivery services company, uses a subliminal message in its logo. If you look closely, you'll see that the space between the "E" and the "X" forms an arrow. This was intentional, and it's meant to symbolize speed and accuracy, which are essential to their brand. And while you may not have noticed it before, you can't unsee it once you see it.
Like FedEx, Tostitos, a popular brand of tortilla chips, also uses a subliminal message in its logo. The two "T"s in the middle of the logo resemble two figures who are sharing a bowl of chips. This is meant to convey the idea of sharing, which is often associated with eating chips. And while these are just two examples, various brands use subliminal messages in their logos and design. Some of them even use multiple subliminal messages.
The Disney franchise is known for its use of various subliminal messages. In fact, many avid Disney fans ensure to always be on the lookout for them. Hidden Mickeys are one of Disney's most commonly known subliminal messages. A Hidden Mickey is an image of Mickey Mouse that has been cleverly placed into a Disney film or theme park. For example, The Pirates of the Caribbean ad uses a skull and crossbones to form a silhouette of Mickey Mouse. Other Hidden Mickeys, such as the aerial view of Walt Disney World's solar farm, have also been found. While some argue that Hidden Mickeys are placed for fun, others believe they serve to market their products subconsciously. One thing is for sure; if you weren't thinking about Mickey Mouse before, you certainly are now! In an age of information overload, it's no wonder advertisers use subliminal techniques to grab our attention. From hidden images to subliminal messages, these ads are designed to bypass our conscious minds and go straight to the subconscious. So, how can you grasp attention amidst all this noise? At Wizard of Ads®, we understand the power of subliminal techniques and we use them to help our clients stand out from the crowd. If you're looking for a way to capture attention without the controversy, book a call with Ryan Chute today.