Subliminal Advertising Makes a Comeback As Spam

The Ambiguously Effective Idea that Just Won't Die is back and nebulous as ever. A stock called TMXO leaped 31% on September 5 after somebody sent out a GIF with one of those wildly appealing messages that you discover in your e-mail twenty-six times a day.

Apparently "stock spam" can artificially spike a stock by 4.9-6 for the average spammer. So why did TMXO do almost five times better? *Sigh* Because of subliminal advertising: that seemingly innocent GIF consists of four frames, only one of which is the message you think you see. The other three spout BUY BUY BUY BUY BUY.

Before you start fretting that the humping donkeys and phalluses in some liquor ads really do induce you to drink after work, a researcher named Karremans who conducted a recent study on the method explains it "only works when the prime is goal-relevant." So unless you're thirsty you won't actually be predisposed to cozy up with the vodka. And unless you're into making hoards of money by chumping people who happen to read their stock spam, you'll likely ignore this entry.

While this is unlikely to break any new ground in online advertising, according to an Ogilvy and Mather poll, about 61 percent of the American public think advertisers embed subliminal messages in most advertising anyway. Yeah, that's right. Blame marketers for people's inclination to purchase. - Contributed by Angela Natividad.

by Angela Natividad    Comments (6)     File: Bad, Online, Strange, Trends and Culture     Sep-25-06     
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I hope some numbers person looks at this and comes up with a rational explanation.

A subliminal animated gif??? Gawd, I hope not.

Posted by: snake on September 25, 2006 12:04 PM

Subliminal Spam is what this..umm..idea ia called. Noone really knows why it is being used. One idea is that it will somehow get around spam filters. Another is well....spammers are bored.

Posted by: Paul Drago on September 25, 2006 12:11 PM

I hate to admit it, but subliminal advertising does work. I always thought that advertising was a waste of time, and why even bother who watches commercials any way! Right. I was wrong. I had one of those oh My God moments walking down the detergent aisle at a local supermarket. For guys like me, picking a detergent to buy is like telling a monkey to choose between a Ferrari and a VW, heck we don’t know the difference. While I was pondering what to buy, products that I had seem /glimpsed commercial of…some how stood out and the crazy theme songs come creeping into my brain and it hit me-oh boy-talk of “sublime mind control”. So this does not surprise me. Once advertisers figure out “security holes” in brain, we a screwed. Unlike Microsoft Windows OS, our brains don’t have “security patches”.

Posted by: Stevie on September 25, 2006 03:22 PM

Yeah, but Stevie...if you were *consciously* remembering (that is, aware of the fact that you were remembering) jingles and ads in the detergent aisle, that wasn't was technically, um, LIMINAL. Totally.

Sorry, no Manchurian Candidate candidates here yet.

Posted by: The Vice of Reason on September 25, 2006 04:38 PM

Hey ‘the vice of reason’ i do agree, but it just freaky that all that stuff is stored in your brain somewhere-it just takes the color or a picture on the product to jolt your memory. I don’t mean to sound werld, but I think there is realm of human consciousness we are not aware of. Whoever in advertising taps into this “x-files” stuff will surely make millions. Even the CIA had ‘secrete’ projects where they investigated some form of mind control. Research has shown that people tend to buy more from a store playing a certain kind of music, hence the “lively store music” in store and restaurants. I would not call it subconscious advertising, since you are aware of the music, but it’s the “hidden” agenda I am worried about.

Posted by: stevie on September 28, 2006 02:13 PM

The “Subliminal way” is but an illusion and is not supported in neither advertising research nor consumer decision making research. If you are interested in the subject you can read this post:

Marketing has since long ago come to understand that there are way more efficient ways to influence consumers.
Stockholm Institute of Communication Science

Posted by: Patrik on December 13, 2007 02:07 PM

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