Monthly Archives: March 2014

Research Proposal

1. Research Question/ What do you want to know?

– I want to know when it was that advertisers and other organizations chose to begin using subliminal messaging. Why do they need to use mind control in order to gain customers and not just find a way to gain them the honest way? Can subliminal messaging truly persuade people without them knowing? or do you have to have a specific mind set? Is it used today? Is there any way that the FCC can ensure that it is not used at all in todays day and age?  In what way is the brain affected that it can persuade a consumer to want to purchase a particular product?

2. What do you already know about this subject?

– I do not know much on the topic, but I have always found it as a topic of interest and will enjoy researching more on it.

3. What do you need to know more about?/ What research will you need to perform in order to answer this question?

– I need to know more about how the brain works. How and what parts of the brain are affected and just how we react to certain messages. What causes us to react in the way we do based on the type/form of subliminal messaging presented. What other ways has this form of persuasion been used? Has it been used for any negative purposes? Are there any known uses of subliminal messaging in the government?

– In order to answer these questions I will interview media and marketing professors to get a scholarly point of view on the topic. I will research the psychological portion of it to become informed on how the brain is affected. I will research the legal aspect as well to get a better understanding of pervious cases in which people were affected by it and called for action; as well as the legal stance taken.

4. What citation style will you be using? (APA,MLA, etc.)?

– I will be using MLA

5. Why does your question matter?

-My question matters because it is something that can seriously be used against us. If we are not aware that such a thing can and does exist then it is even easier to get sucked into their tactic which is only working in the favor of the organization/company using this method. People should have the free will to choose whether or not they are interested in investing in a particular product and should have no forced influence from the company what so ever.




Research Review:The History of Subliminal Perception

Subliminal messaging in advertising and other forms of mediums has been a topic of concern for a very long time. Research of subliminal messaging can date back to the 1920’s. There is no official scientific proof that this form of messaging and persuasion is necessarily real, but it has shown some real effects. Subliminal messaging is a series of mind control techniques based on the belief that it can persuade people to do things they would not normally do. This has been around since the 5th century B.C when the early Greeks used the rhetoric as a way to influence people.

In the 1920’s when BBC tried to launch on the radio people did not react well. Radio audiences felt that it was the voice of the devil speaking to them so BBC then turned to subliminal messaging in order to gain the interest of the public. BBC added “this is not a noose, no really its not,”  in a jingle which can be heard when played backwards otherwise called “backward masking” which is a form of subliminal messaging.

In 1957 there was great concern about the use of subliminal messaging in movies. James Vicary flashes the phrases “Drink Coca-Cola” and “Eat popcorn” 1/2000 of a second in a movie and this led to a 35% increase in the sale of popcorn and Coca-Cola. Disney has been said to have used subliminal messaging in their films as well for example a scene in the very popular “Lion King” when Simba lays down and the pollen blows off into the wind forming the word “sex” if you look closely. That is not the only instance in which Disney has been accused of subliminal messaging. It can also be found in movies such as “The Little Mermaid”, “Aladdin” and “Beauty and the Beast”. Perhaps these messages were added to draw the attention of an older crowd as well as a younger crowd? It is an interesting question but one we will probably never get answered.

The most interesting point touched is the use to subliminal messaging in the government. This is also by far the most concerning, being that they basically control the way our life goes in some way or another. In 1974 the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) received many complaints that a TV station was using subliminal messaging by which the FCC responded stating “…Whether effective or not, such broadcasts clearly are intended to be deceptive”. Clearly taking a stance against subliminal messaging.

Subliminal messaging is something that could possibly be easily gotten away with if used smartly, and can be potentially very dangerous based on how it is used. The author of this article did a great job of presenting their ideas along with being completely unbiased. The information was presented very clearly, touching how subliminal messaging has been used in various forms of mediums, as well as its effect on the public and its consumers.




Work Cited:

Dixon, Norman F. Subliminal Perception. New York: New American Public Library, 1981.

How Advertisers Promote Addiction. Michael Christian (a.k.a. William Cane). 1996. 20 November 2001.

Key, Wilson Bryan. The Age of Manipulation. Maryland: Madison Books, 1993.

Key, Wilson Bryan. Media Sexploitation. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1976.

Packard, Vance. The Hidden Persuaders. New York: D. McKay Co., 1957.

The Public and Broadcasting. FCC record : a comprehensive compilation of decisions, reports, public notices and other documents of the Federal Communications Commission of the United States (v. 16 no. 18 2001). Washington, DC: FCC.

Subliminal Messages and Backmasking. 2001. 18 November 2001.

Subliminal Perception. 2000. 18 November 2001.

Subliminal World. Jim Hagart. 15 October 2001. 20 November 2001.

“Subliminal Perception: History.” Subliminal Perception: History. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2014.

Sex Sells

We all know the statement “sex sells”, and hear it as an excuse for why products and brands over sexualize their brand/product all the time but the question is why? What about a sexy ad appeals to us consumers?

When marketers use an attractive male/female model, or hint sexual innuendos to sell their product it is because studies have found that we as consumers think less rationally when seeing an attractive person in an ad. A part of our brain becomes excited and causes us to buy on impulse.

Victoria’s Secret uses women whom are believed to be some of the most beautiful models in the world in order to brand their product. Their target market is women, and they are the top lingerie brand in the world (Not to mention their products are not cheap). Their annual fashion show is one of the most watched televised events by females, and they draw in major revenue because of it. They are a major example of sex selling .

In 2012, a simple car like Kia introduced its new Optima by using supermodel Adriana Lima bringing its commercial to the #5 ranking of the best super bowl commercials for the year 2012.

“The findings support the conjecture that some advertisers wish to seduce, rather than persuade, consumers to buy their products.” But just how much companies can “seduce” their consumers is a whole new discussion. Many commercials are banned from being used to the public due to their overly sexual appeal which is believed to be inappropriate by the FCC.

Sex appeal may sell the product at first, but it will not guarantee life-long customers. Companies must also ensure that their product quality meets the standard and demand created by their advertisements in order to gain loyal customers.



Positives and Negatives of social media marketing

We are now living in an age dominated by technology. As technology continues to expand, so does social media. In today’s society social media has become a part of one’s everyday life. As social media grows in popularity and accessibility to people of all ages, so does its influence on advertising and marketing. With such a widespread audience, many companies now turn to social media to promote, market and advertise their product/brand; but whether this is a good form of advertising is a topic up for discussion. The articles “Why Social Media Marketing?” and “5 Reasons Social Media Is Ruining Marketing” discuss the pros and cons of social media marketing.

Social media according to Webster’s dictionary is defined as “forms of electronic communication as web sites for social networking and microblogging through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content as videos.” A survey conducted in the year 2011 shows that social networking sites such as Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr are used by 41% of adults ages 18+, and 81% of teenagers ages 12-17. 59% of all internet users use at least one social networking website and 56% of social networking users are reportedly women. These percentages have grown approximately 26% since the year 2008.  These statistics are used by companies to decide how large of an online campaign they will have, what social media platforms they are going to use, which social networking sites are used more by their target audience and so on. A study called the “Digital Youth Project” found that with the constant increase of technology in our world and the constant communication provided by social networking websites is helping promote the development of useful skills. The study concluded that the digital world is forming new opportunities for people to explore interests, develop various skills and find new forms of self-expression. More than 25% of teens report that social networking allows them to feel less shy, be more outgoing and feel more confident. It gives them a place to make friends and be more vocal. It is however recommended that parents keep an eye on who their children are communicating with on these networks for safety precautions.

Social media has greatly affected the way people receive news today. 50% of people get their news via social media and online news forums. Since 2012, revenues produced by online news has far surpassed that of printed news. Many news companies have moved from the traditional newspaper to virtual news. Though this has led to job cuts, it has opened up an entire new field of work and has led to company saving.

            In the 2012 election, social media and social networking played a major role in shaping the current political landscape. Both the democratic and republican parties had social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook where their team posted constant updates. More than a quarter of U.S voters under the age of 30 reported that they obtained information about the 2008 Presidential campaign via social media. 30% of social media users claimed that they were encouraged to vote due to online posts. Facebook users reported that they will be more likely to vote if they see that their friends did.

Our age has been declared as the “technological age” and therefore it is essential for anyone growing up in this age to grasp the concepts of technology and all it has to offer or they will be left behind. Technology and social media will only continue to expand and affect the way we live our lives on a daily basis more and more as the years go on. The key to gaining all the positives of social media and protecting oneself against the negatives is to simply be aware. If one is mindful of how they promote themselves via social media they will unwittingly or even intentionally be able to go very far.

The article “Why Social Media Marketing?” starts by presenting a short video conveying the message of social media building metaphorical bridges, allowing messages to be received by the people in even the smallest areas of the world.  Due to technologies growth, marketers are finding new, innovative ways to deliver messages through social media.  “Social media marketing is the way to use that technology to build relationships, drive repeat business and attract new customers through friends sharing with friends.” The author of this article gives step by step break downs of how to get social media to make a big impact on your business, and the most effective ways such as emailing marketing.

“5 Reasons Social Media Is Ruining Marketing” opens their argument with “Social media is one of the worst things to ever happen to the discipline of marketing.” The author believes that social media marketing makes for “lazy” marketers, and causes companies to focus more on the quantity of followers than quality of followers. Marketers believe that by using social networking sites as a platform for marketing that they are increasing customer relationship, and sales when it in actuality does the opposite. Survey shows that majority of people do not feel comfortable making a purchase through Facebook and do not pay attention to the ads shown.

Both articles admit that social media marketing is growing and becoming a very important form of marketing as the years go on, but that’s about all they agree on. Whether social media marketing is effective or not, it is without a doubt something that will inevitably take over. With many jobs steaming from new technological advances, and increased usage, social media marketing is creating a new dynamic in the world of marketing. It is important to understand what kind of business you are trying to promote, and the best way to do so. Proper social media marketing can take ones company to the very top, but what may work for one company may not work for another. It is up to the company to decide whether they should place their focus on social media marketing, or traditional marketing.


                                                                        Works Cited
Goldfayn, Alex. “5 Reasons Social Media Is Ruining Marketing.” Mashable. Mashable, Sept.-Oct. 2012. Web. 27 Mar. 2014.
“Why Social Media Marketing?” Why Social Media Marketing? Quick Starter, n.d. Web. Jan.-Feb. 2014.