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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sublime


Sublime

This topic comes to you from the suggestion box!  If you haven’t dropped me a note in there yet, you definitely should.  (If it’s not working for you, just email me: s.cole.garrett@gmail.com) 

“Hey cole,
Why don't you write about subliminal advertising I remember you telling me about that one time and I found it incredibly interesting!

Good suggestion!  I’m amazed by all of the controversy surrounding subliminal advertising.  Some people get really heated about one side of the argument or the other.  Does it really work?  Is it a waste of time and money?  Does it really create a propensity to buy?  Does it protect me from die-hard twilight fans?  The truth is: the evidence is piling up for both sides of the argument (with the exception of twilight fans).  So like a lot of things, you kind of have to decide for yourself.  The irony is: subliminal advertising a simple concept on the surface, but very complex the more you study it.  I can just give you the facts.

If you google “subliminal advertising,” you’ll no doubt find a slew of examples, many of them utilizing another popular advertising strategy: sex.  In an effort to keep my blog as clean as always, I’m going to present a couple of lesser-known subliminal advertising examples.  (As a matter of fact, you’re probably still wondering about sex, even though I said I wasn’t going to talk about it.) 

Exxon
When do you need to put gas in your car?  When it runs out?  (Hopefully, you don’t wait that long.  I did, once…) How do you know you’re low?  You look at your gas meter which is typically a needle pointing to an “E,” right?  Take a look at the Exxon logo.  Is it just me, or does the line crossing both x’s resemble a needle conveniently pointing to the “E” in Exxon?  Hmm…  When you see this sign enough, like, say, driving to work every day, your brain will make the connection for you and you’ll never even know it.  As a matter of fact, you don’t even have to look directly at it, your peripherals can pick up the subliminal message, “Come get gas at Exxon when you’re almost empty.”  Scary, huh?

Marlboro
Quick, what is the signature color for Marlboro?  Red!  And their spokesman was an iconic . . . cowboy!  Older people, especially, probably have a pretty good mental image of the Marlboro man right now.  Others can at least picture the Marlboro red box.  Research has been done which reveals that for Marlboro smokers, even the sight of the shade of red lights up the part of the brain where cravings come from.  Well, Altria, formerly known as Phillip Morris, is known for paying bar owners to redecorate their bars in red themes: red seats, red booths, red lights, etc. 

A side note on cigarettes.  Ever notice how big the surgeon general’s warning is on a pack of cigarettes?  It turns out, the same research mentioned above also showed that the sight of the surgeon general’s warning produced the same craving level as any other craving-causer.  Why would tobacco companies want to change it?  In a twisted way, the government is sort of, well, paying for them to sell more cigarettes.  How does that make you feel?  J

5 comments:

Jess said...

I've always been interested in subliminal messaging. You should present new examples every once in a while!

Boxxy said...

I remember you telling me one time about department store music having subliminal messaging telling people not to steal.

Anonymous said...

I had never noticed that Exxon sign looking like an arrow but now that you mention it...



OMG. NO CLICK? Why would you do this to me? What do I do? What do I do?
I want to click it...
so bad....

Must... not... click...

Cole Garrett said...

@ Boxxy Oh yeah!! I'm definitely going to post about the music thing! Thanks for the reminder.

Elle said...

Humm.... very interesting. I now have the oddest desire to go buy gas and smoke some ciggys...

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