This was on a rotating billboard on Oxford railway station.
Can you see the sexual subliminal in this? It shows the swimmer’s shoulder and armpit, but if you glance at it briefly it could be interpreted as a perspective shot of his bottom! Of course this is an ad aimed at men, not women, so the image is homoerotic. But that’s how they get into our subconscious because for most of us any homosexual urges we might have are suppressed in our subconscious, so by accessing them an advertiser has a short cut to our subconscious! Diet Coke is marketed more towards women than men so this is why the old bottles had a subliminal that looked like women’s breasts on the label.
Advertisers use sexual subliminals all the time to draw attention and therefore success. A subliminal is anything that causes sensory stimuli that we experience below the threshold of our awareness. A lot of psychological research has shown that engineering subliminal messages in another medium works. In 1959 an experiment was done at a number of American cinemas when the film Ben Hur was released. The experimenters took a number of reels and put subliminal flash-frames in half them showing a Coca-Cola advert. As far as the conscious visual perception goes these flash-frames were invisible; if you were watching one of these reels there would be no way you’d be able to tell, even if you were warned to look out in advance, whether the subliminal frames were present or not. But the experiment showed that Coca-Cola sales were higher in the cinemas showing the flash-framed reels than the control group (Can’t remember the source).
The psychological illusionist Derren Brown has carried out a similar experiment on TV. I differ from Derren’s Skeptical views on Spiritualism and other things, but he’s bang on the money here: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=FEpdTZGfxCQ&feature=related
In my view subliminals are highly dangerous psychological weapons. Manipulating us to part with our money in exchange for worthless consumer-durables is their most benign function. They can, and are, also used by politicians to influence the people. For example when the West was trying to demonize the Libyan president Colonel Qaddafi they used embedded subliminals on the cover of Time magazine (David Icke live 2006). Experiments have also shown that subliminals, like more obvious forms of propaganda, have a much reduced effect if the subject is aware that they are being targeted; so this is why I’m writing this article, to make you aware!
(By the way, here’s a seasonal message to all HPANWO Readers: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2008/12/merry-christmas.html . And just for a treat, I’ve posted two new articles. Scroll down here for the second one.
And here's yet another on the Christmas Truce: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2008/12/christmas-truce.html)