Subliminal marketing is a type of marketing that advertisers use to enter the unconscious mind of the consumer. In pretty much every major advertisement or magazine cover there will be subliminal messages hidden. Marketers hope that these subliminal messages will influence our thoughts, feelings and actions of our unconscious mind so that we will spend our hard earned cash on whatever they are trying to influence us to buy.
Subliminal marketing has been recognised to date back to the 1950’s; one particular well known case study regarding subliminal marketing took place in a theatre in New Jersey in 1957. During a movie for just 1/2000 of a second the following phrases were displayed on the screen: “Drink Coca Cola”, “Eat Popcorn.” After these messages were displayed Coca Cola sales increased by 18% and Popcorn sales saw an increase by 58%.
Despite select evidence that suggests that subliminal marketing does have an influence over consumer choices there has been much debate that suggests subliminal marketing has no more influence than regular marketing, instead it is simply the differing circumstances of the individual that influence whether the consumer will be tempted to buy a product. Referring back to the Coca Cola example, it has been argued that people who were thirsty might have been more tempted to buy a drink after seeing the advertisement however those consumers who were not thirsty and had recently bought a drink were not influenced in the slightest.
Even though much debate questions the effect that subliminal marketing has it is still argued that messages or visual images that consumers see numerous times are likely to have more effect than a message or visual that you only see once. With this in mind it is worth buying promotional items that will be seen frequently throughout the day. Fridge magnets and coasters used in communal spaces are both perfect for this cause. They are subtle “messages” that will catch the user’s attention and will advertise your business. Due to the success that these subliminal marketing techniques have advertisers are continuing to influence consumer’s thoughts, feelings and actions.