Advertising is everywhere, but very few people realize just how much it’s affecting us. In fact, ads manipulate our brains in ways most of us can’t even perceive.
Sounds incredible? It’s all true! Read on to find out how subliminal advertising screws with our brains.
It might sound implausible, but advertisements affect the brain directly. According to scientists studying the effects of ads on the brain, certain brain waves spike up and become more active while others less so while watching ads.
Subliminal advertising works by lowering the brain waves that signal loss of focused attention while boosting overall alertness. The result? Us more susceptible to the advertised messages.
Neuromarketing, in particular, focuses on studying electroencephalographs (EEGs) to identify the effectiveness of ads directly on the brain. Think about it. Your brain’s responsiveness to ads can be measured with machines and cables. It’s real!
2. Logical Persuasion
Sometimes advertisements seem rational and full of hard facts. However, that can be another trick employed by subliminal advertising known as logical persuasion.
Logical persuasion works by presenting facts in a way as to appear objective. Some examples of logical persuasion in advertising include:
- This car runs 50 miles with a gallon of gas
- This toothpaste is 3 times more effective than the next best toothpaste
- 79% of all people prefer this brand over any other
And many others. However, there is a devious trick in play here. These numbers may appear authoritative, but there is no way to tell if they are true or not. Skewing statistical data is surprisingly easy, especially when there are almost zero rules and regulations about it.
3. Non-Rational Reasoning
At the opposite spectrum of logical persuasion, we find advertisements that make almost zero logical sense.
We’ve all seen countless ads that depict fun, interesting or just weird scenes that have absolutely nothing to do with the advertised product. Soda pop and cigarette ads are notorious for being completely non-rational.
However, that kind of nonsensical marketing seems to work well, creating Perfect Imprints in the minds of viewers. Non-rational reasoning works by lowering the brain activity responsible for inhibiting impulsive actions, which is a gentle way to say “brainwash”.
4. Sexual Themes
Advertisements with sexual content are extremely common. They are so successful because they tap into the subconscious desires of men and women, twisting them to sell products.
Unsurprisingly, sexually themed ads are more effective towards men, and companies are using this to market women’s product to men as well!
Think of Victoria Secret models, who pose in sexualized advertisements. These aim to persuade men to buy underwear as a gift for women.
5. Committed Relationships
While women are not fascinated by sexually themed advertisements, marketers have found that they respond to advertisements where sexual intimacy implies a committed relationship.
In fact, studies have shown that women are less offended by sexual imagery if that is displayed in the context of a serious relationship. Countless TV ads show happy couples in sexually suggestive poses. These aim both sexes equally, but with different themes.
6. Selling Comfort
Many people sit back and watch TV to relax. They are tired from work and just want to unwind. That’s when they are most vulnerable to subliminal advertising.
When feeling stressed and tired, advertisements can easily sell you comforting images that go along with the products they are pushing.
Here, have a glass of wine. Lie back. Relax. This is the message of many advertisements aimed at people who work nine to five and just want a break.
7. Your Daily Rituals
Humans tend to create daily rituals that help them relax and cope with stress. Advertisers know this well and exploit it actively in subliminal advertising.
Countless ads suggest rituals that go with their products. These include:
- Peculiar ways to use well-known products
- Unusual ways to serve food (twisting Oreo cookies, putting a wedge of lime over Corona beer, and others)
- Specific mannerisms and behaviors tied to a certain product
8. Music to Your Ears
Music and sound have the power to affect our emotions and influence our decisions. A lot of research goes into the creation of the perfect jingle for each product.
Slower tempo relaxes and soothes customers, while upbeat music increases the heartbeat and urges customers to be impulsive. When music is embellished with messages or appropriate lyrics, the effects can be dramatic.
Kids remember TV jingles for decades and mottos like “ALWAYS COCA-COLA” can become so popular as to be embedded to our cultural identity.
9. Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover
People judge products by their packaging all the time. The texture, coloration, and imagery of a package can affect us in powerful ways.
Some products aim to associate the shape of their packaging to some desired shape the customers might be looking for. Famous examples include coke bottles, as well as bottles of low-calorie condiments that are made to look like slim women.
The shape, size, and weight of a product can play a big role in your decision to buy it. Customers tend to associate heavier products with higher quality, so tech companies have been purposefully weighing down their products to feel heavier.
10. Purely Subliminal
Finally, subliminal advertisements can be designed to specifically aim your subconscious with hidden messages. There is really no way to protect yourself against subliminal advertising other than being mindful of your own susceptibility.
From images of naked women on vending machines to blatant slogans like Nike’s “JUST DO IT”, we’re surrounded by subliminal messages. We just have to open our eyes to see them!
Now That You Know the Power of Subliminal Advertising…
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