Post written by Sofo
Over the last few years, more and more psychologists have started to study the influence of subliminal messages on human behavior.
Generally speaking, subliminal messages are defined as sensory stimuli that register below an individual’s level of conscious perception and can be noticed only by the subconscious mind.
Subliminal messages can be found everywhere around us: they appear on TV newscasts, in magazines, movies, even in children’s comic books. Here you will see for yourself examples of subliminal messages that have been secretly used in images.
Subliminal Messages in Print Advertisements
In our culture subliminal messages are mostly used to covertly sell sex. To show you an example, let’s have a look at the banned 1995 Yellow Pages advertisement for an English flooring company called D.J. Flooring, whose motto is “Laid by the Best.”
Do you spot anything unusual about the image?
To make it easier for you, let’s have a look at the same image turned upside down and find out why the ad ended up being banned from the Yellow Pages.
Can you spot it now? It is pretty obvious.
Hidden sexual messages in images, such as this one, are being continuously used in advertising but we just don’t always consciously take notice of them. Sex sells, and advertisers know this very well. Now let’s have a look at a few other similar print ads.
Rippling abs or erect penis?
Mouse wheel or clitoris?
Observe the steam coming out of the cup.
Whose is that hand?
What does it look like this man’s left hand is holding?
Below you can see three images from the holiday tour company “Club 18-30.″ Take a careful look at the depicted people’s positions. What does it look like they are doing?
It is more than clear that advertisements do not really want to convince you to buy products by offering sound reasons about why they are of good quality, but instead all they want is to persuade you into buying them by emotionally manipulating you, that is by making you believe that by getting them you will feel emotionally satisfied. How do they achieve this? Advertisements aim at having you relate in your mind a product with a need, and making you believe that the product will cover that need, even if in reality the product is completely irrelevant to the need.
Subliminal Word Messages in Products
Embedded words are also being used in products to subliminally persuade us into buying things. And guess which word sells the most? Of course it is ‘sex’, that magic word.
An example of a company that used embedded ‘sex’ words in products is Pepsi. During the summer of 1990, Pepsi created four specially designed “Cool Cans” as part of a promotional campaign. However, it did not take a long time until Pepsi was asked to withdraw one of its four “Cool Cans” from the market when a consumer complained that when the six-packs were stacked a certain way on a shelf, they produced a pattern spelling out s-e-x (see image below).
Another example of a product package design in which the word ‘sex’ is embedded can be be seen in the following picture.
Subliminal Messages in Cartoon Movies
You will be surprised to know that subliminal messaging is being continuously used in cartoon movies directed to children. Perhaps the best examples are the world-famous successful films produced by Disney.
In the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit? there is a shot depicting Jessica Rabbit jumping out of a Taxi while her shirt opens for just a couple of frames – that is for less than a second – when you can see her naked legs open.
In the movie The Little Mermaid there is a scene where Deric and Ursula are about to get married, while the priest is having an erection.
In the movie The Rescuers, there is a shot showing a distinct image of an actual topless model, lasting for only a split of a second. This image can seen in the window in the background of the scene when Bernard and Bianca fly through the city.
The Lion King is another Disney movie in which subliminal messaging can be spotted during almost the entire film. Below is an image used in The Lion King, where Simba is shown to think of his father on a cliff top, when at the same time the word “sex” is formed in the clouds above his head.
And this is just an example. If you watch The Lion King carefully you will come to find out that the the word “sex” appears in nearly every scene. But isn’t this surprising considering that this movie is directed to young children?
As you can see, children are as much victims of subliminal messaging as adults, or perhaps even more, because of their innocence and open-mindedness. So if you are a caring parent, and do not want your children’s minds to be messed up, maybe you have will to think twice about what you are showing them for entertainment.
Subliminal Messages in Political Campaigns
Of course, politicians cannot overlook the persuasive power of subliminal messaging, especially when it comes to attracting voters at their election campaigns. Indeed, extensive use of subliminal messages has been done by politicians to covertly persuade voters to go in line with their party.
An example of how subliminal messages have been used to influence voting behavior is a 2000 television advertisement produced by the Republican National Committee in favor of George Bush during the 2000 U.S. election against Al Gore. In this ad George W. Bush is shown to criticize Al Gore’s prescription drug plan for senior citizens. The tagline of the ad is: “The Gore prescription plan: Bureaucrats decide.” Then, toward the end of the ad, the word RATS appears in oversized letters for 1/13th of a second while an off-screen voice reiterates the phrase, “Bureaucrats decide” (watch video below).
Bush said this was unintentional. But would you believe this was not planned?
Another example of subliminal messaging used to influence television viewers’ voting behavior was shown on the well known republican run news channel ‘Fox Network’ back in 2008. Fox 5 News channel, during one of its TV introductions, flashed a subliminal image of presidential candidate John McCain and his wife hidden in the Fox News Logo (watch video below).
As you can see, subliminal messages are found almost everywhere. Our behavior is being cunningly manipulated in various ways and we just don’t know it. So from now on, be a little more watchful.