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Does The Media Use Subliminal Advertising As A Tool For Mind Control?

2123 words - 9 pages

Media these days, whether print or electronic, is being used by the general population as a tool to stay informed. Whether someone wants to get up to date with the latest events around the world or just wants to find out if their favorite team has won, media is the way to go. We trust the media to keep the whole world updated and connected. But, is the media exploiting our blind trust by subconsciously manipulating us through subliminal advertising? Firstly, what is subliminal advertising? It is a technique in which the consumer is exposed to product or brand advertising such as pictures or songs related to the product without the consumer being consciously aware of it. This may include ads ...view middle of the document...

This experiment was conducted by James M. Vicary, who was a psychologist and marketing researcher. In the experiment, the words “drink Coca Cola” and “eat popcorn” were projected on the screen for 1/3,000 of a second during the screening of movies. After the experiment, there were numerous reports in the news regarding the results which stated that there was an increase in the sales of popcorn and Coke after the experiment began. Although these results were not given much credibility due to the absence of a control group, the exposure of this experiment made people realise that they were being targeted subconsciously.
A big component of subliminal advertising is repetitive advertising. This method has been used a lot in the past and is still being used today. Examples of this can be found all around us. If you turn on the television these days. you will see commercials for a specific product multiple times during a short period of time. This strategy is applied in order to reinforce the image of that product in the consumer’s mind. If a person sees a commercial a few times, then he or she may or may not buy the product. Their behaviour will depend totally on the fact that did they like what they saw in the commercial or not. But if they are shown the commercial again and again, then they become curious about the product and this is enough to initiate a trial purchase. A.S.C. Ehrenberg, a professor of marketing at the London Graduate School of Business Studies, wrote about repetitive advertising in his research paper “Undoubtedly advertising can help to speed up the initial adoption of a new product by creating awareness and, indirectly, by gaining retail distribution and display”. Ehrenberg also brings to attention the fact that a consumer may already have tried or heard about a product before but that is now in the past. Repetitive advertising with new attractions such as discounted price or new features bring the consumer’s attention back to the product and reinforces their interest. Many strategies are used by the media in order to apply the concept of repetitive advertising. The most common of these strategies is to show a lot of TV ads of the same product in a short period of time especially during times of high TV ratings, such as during a cricket match or during the premier of a movie etc. Another very clever strategy is putting up huge billboards of a product for a long period of time. Billboards are generally put up for at least a few months. If a person passes a billboard several times each day because it may be on his way to work or near his house, then he or she will be reminded about the product again and again without even realising it. The thing that makes these strategies more effective is that these ads and billboards are designed in such a way that most of the times they do attract the consumer’s attention. This is because they are brightly coloured most of the time and emphasise on the product by showing it again and again....

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