Image by: Victor 1558
By Michael Sterling
Everyone has heard of subliminal messaging, in fact, its been a big joke among comedy writers for decades. But still, studies have shown that subliminal messages may have a great impact on sales in marketing and advertisement. This is, after all, the number one field that tends to use such “secret codes” to achieve their customers.
These messages are a great tool for customers to recognize your brand, and even has a better chance at reaching all kinds of markets to trigger their subconscious to associate your brand for their needs. Though it may sound like Science Fiction, it’s a total marketing scheme that meets neuroscience and business in way which pleases both the company and consumer.
What Are Subliminal Messages, Exactly?
Subliminal messaging is a technique used by advertisers to stimulate the subliminal stimuli, the sensory below a consumer’s limits of conscious perception. Subliminal stimuli activate certain regions of the brain while an individual is unaware of it doing so. It can be flashed really quickly or obviously displayed within a logo itself.
When done right, subliminal messaging can activate someone’s responses and emotions. However, research has shown that subliminal stimuli will only trigger someone’s actions towards a product if they intend on doing an action related to that service anyway, which is what makes it tactful.
This technique can be found everywhere, even in politics. Some say that in the 2000 election, both candidates used subliminal messaging to trigger fear tactics, flashing words like “Terror” or “Angry” and “Bad” across campaign ads. It may have had some effect since a 2009 UCL study showed that most individuals respond more frequently to negative words, than positive.
Still, every message lands just as easy and it’s up to you to get it across.
Putting subtle images within an image can associate your brand with a certain emotion. Many companies have hidden tactics, conjoining the idea of color psychology and product association.
Image by: Bernard Goldbach
Take a look at Amazon’s logo. Notice the combination of variety, feel-good purchases, and cheerfulness. They use a yellow arrow starting from “A” and going to “Z” to show that they have everything you need, from A to Z, while the yellow color (which triggers contentment and wholesomeness in the brain) sticks out. Also, notice that it forms a smile.
Image by: cmonville
FedEx’s logo creates a little bit of thought, but not before it registers in our subconscious. Notice the arrow in between the “E” and the “x,” which creates a mood of action. It gives an illusion of movement, which is what FedEx prides itself in. So in this case, the service is actually IN the logo.
Image by: The Impulsive Boy
If you’re a fan of Tostitos, you more than likely have seen their subliminal inclusion of two people (in place of the t’s) enjoying chips and dip on the dot of the “i.” But think about it, the more a person sees this picture, the more likely they are to transfer this mood to the purchase. Not to mention the colors orange, yellow and red have shown to make people hungry.
Video/Audio Subliminal Messages
Many companies have used subliminal messages in video ads, sometimes it is just mere color and other times it’s actual messages. According to research, all it takes is 1/30 of a second for an image to settle in our subconscious brain. The trick is including it in the right sections.
If done right, flashes of color can be a very beneficial tactic for transferring emotion towards a product. Color psychology has shown to be very intriguing to onlookers and advertisers alike. Red, yellow, and orange have shown to produce hunger. Green and blue have shown to produce the feeling of cleanliness and efficiency. Purple is wealth and class.
Companies like McDonalds, Burger King, and Baskin Robbins have been known to flash color within their commercials in an effort to pull their viewers towards a certain emotion, and hopefully make them feel more inclined to use their services.