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research paper final draft

 

How subliminal perception works:

The term “subliminal” is defined as “(of a stimulus or mental process) below the threshold of sensation or consciousness; perceived by or affecting someone’s mind without their being aware of it.” A subliminal message is an “affirmation or message either auditory or visual presented below the normal limits of 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.

A big question is: How is subliminal messaging effective if we do not notice it?

            Subliminal messaging works because our unconscious mind picks up on things that our conscious mind does not. In order for a subliminal message to be effective, it must be ambiguous. If a hidden message can be picked upon then our conscious mind will repress it. Subliminal messages are created by having two specific approaches: “The hidden message can activate maladaptive behaviors by stimulating unconscious anxieties” and “The hidden message can fulfill unconscious fantasies” (Bullock, 180).

            There are a number of key emotions that are stimulated unconsciously by certain ads. Bullock states that there are unlimited possibilities which may even include more disturbing impulses but lists the following: Men’s fear of impotency and castration, women’s fear of rape or being violated, women’s hostility towards men, men’s hostility towards women, a desire to dominate and subjugate the opposite gender, repressed homosexual inclinations, resentment of children, and feelings of self-destruction such as suicide. These are some of the key reasons “sex sells”, and people are more attracted to things that contain sexual and morbid images and/or content. “In a literal sense, exposure to media is a form of reverse therapy, designed to make us emotionally disturbed and therefore a better consumer.”

For example, in 1976 the cigarette company “Benson Hedges” advertised their hard pack cigarettes in Times magazine. This ad demonstrated a man and a woman romantically hugging while the man looked away with a sly look on his face. At first glance this ad seems normal, but what we, the viewers do not notice is the airbrushed penis on the woman’s back. The message behind this ad was the male in the picture was clearly nervous about being with the woman so to influence customers that if they are feeling nervous ‘grab a hard pack’, which would be their cigarette as well as a sexual innuendo. The reason things like this get overlooked so easily is because in our subconscious mind, it doesn’t make sense. “The unconscious is also inclined to suppress awareness of discordant information” (Bullock, 29).  Due to this suppression, we easily do not pay attention to it but are still influenced, “the repression of discordant information probably wasn’t real, and consciously processing it impaired survival.”

            Majority of what is called “hard knowledge” is acquired by our subconscious mind, unconsciously. “Psychologists have long been aware of the distinction between explicit and implicit learning” (Bullock, 68). Explicit learning is the knowledge we acquire consciously, and implicit learning is what we acquire unconsciously, and immediately. An example of this is our language. When we are babies, we automatically pick up on the language spoken to us and around us; this is implicit learning. When we as adults now try to learn a second language, it is far more difficult; this is explicit learning.  This is related to the idea of “unconscious conditioning.” Unconscious conditioning is “the assimilation of knowledge without awareness” (Bullock, 69).

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 it’s not,” in a jingle which can be heard when played backwards otherwise called “backward masking” which is a form of subliminal messaging.

After World War II ended, many of the United States’ factories were producing a surplus of goods which were going unused. People were being very frugal in spending due to the great depressions effects.  The United States was now in a post-war recovery, and needed consumers to purchase the goods being produced in order to rebuild the economy. Due to this lack of consumption, advertisers and manufactures created a field of science known as “motivational research.” Scientists and psychologists were asked to develop innovative psychological techniques that would coax people to purchase products.  This research led to the discovery that most of the time people bought products for reasons they were not aware of. Total, approximately 1 billion dollars was spent on this research by the end of the 1950’s.

In 1957 there was great concern about the use of subliminal messaging in movies. James Vicary conducted an experiment in a New Jersey movie theater using a device he invented called a “tachistoscope.” This device was created for the purpose of flashing words and/or images on a screen for a brief amount of time for as little time as 1/300 of a second. Though this time may seem too short for us to consciously notice them, our subconscious mind will notice and may be influenced. Vicary flashed the phrases “Drink Coca-Cola” and “Eat popcorn” during a movie which he claimed led to a 57% increase in the sale of popcorn and Coca-Cola. Later it was proven his claims were exaggerated, however his press conference drew a lot of attention to the ideas of subliminal messaging. Many radio stations began using “whisper ads” for marketing purposes which were played beneath the music being aired.

 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.

            Once the public became more aware of subliminal messaging, they took a stance against it claiming that minds were being “broken and entered”, and stating that it threatened personal liberties. This caused ad agencies and manufacturers to stop the use of subliminal messaging and even led to the introduction of national and state bills trying to make it illegal; however these bills were never passed because the FCC assured that subliminal messaging was not being used and there was no need to ban it.

The FCC has never created any formal laws against the use of subliminal messaging, and has only addressed it twice, once in 1974 and in 1987. In 974, the FCC released a statement regarding subliminal messaging:

“We sometimes receive complaints regarding the alleged use of subliminal techniques in radio and TV programming. Subliminal programming is designed to be perceived on a subconscious level only. Regardless of whether it is effective, the use of subliminal perception is inconsistent with a station’s obligation to serve the public interest because the broadcast is intended to be deceptive.”

Because this was never a law, it is not enforceable. On November 19, 1987 the FCC admonished KMEZ(FM) radio in Dallas, Texas for its repeated use of subliminal messaging which were transmitter during an ad for the American Cancer Society against smoking.

There is no real law deeming subliminal advertising “illegal” because the FCC has no rules on what may or may not be a subliminal message. Due to this, there is no substructure to determine whether or not an ad contains a hidden message. “The ‘vagueness’ standard requires that the statue be clear enough so that people generally understand what it prohibits (Bullock, 176).  The reason the FCC cannot create a law against subliminal messaging is because it really cannot be proved.  “Subliminal messaging cannot be legislatively enjoined. Like pornography, it is too difficult to define to effectively regulate” (Bullock, 178).  Messages that are created to subliminally manipulate you can do so solely based on the fact that you cannot see it. It is either flashed so fast that it is impossible to pick up, or it is disguised so perfectly that it could be argued as pure coincidence or simply one’s personal perception. “A statue that outlawed “ambiguous phrases or embedded images” would not only be constitutionally invalid, it would be impossible to enforce” (Bullock, 178). The Supreme Court holds strong policy against creating laws against an issue that is not solid.

Product Placement:

Product placement has never been proven to be necessarily effective or scientifically validated, however companies still spend a whopping amount of money on it. It was in the 1930’s that product placement truly began to take on the form of becoming a marketing and advertising strategy. It started in the year 1932 when the cigar company “White Owl Cigars” provided $250,000 to advertise in the very popular movie Scarface based on one condition: Paul Muni would smoke them in the movie. After this, many companies began using this same strategy. Steven Spielberg approached Mars Company to ask if they would be willing to pay to place their product of M&M’s in his movie E.T. Mars denied the offer, but Hershey was willing to accept the offer by providing their Reese’s Pieces. Sales for Reese’s show that as little as a week after the movies premier their sales tripled, and within a couple of months over 800 cinemas nationwide began carrying Reese’s candy for the first time.

In the year 2006, PQ Media found that companies paid a total amount of $3.36 billion globally to simply have their products featured in a variety of music videos, movies, and TV show. As the years went on the price only got higher. In 2007 they spent $4.38 billion which was then predicted to rise to an estimated $7.6 billion by the year 2010 and $8.25 billion in 2012. When American Idol was the highest rated show on television, companies such as Ford Motors, Cingular (now AT&T) and Coca-Cola paid an estimated $26 million annually just to be featured on the show and/or have a commercial during the shows air time.

Due to an increase in technology, and viewers now having the power to watch television without the disruption of ads, advertisers are forced to become more innovative. Jeff Gaspin, former president of NBC Universal Television group stated that “the shift from programmer to consumer controlling program choices is the biggest change in the media business in the past 25 or 30 years.” We the consumers now have far more control of what we view, and even how we are affected by it, but advertisers will go to all lengths to ensure that they get their product message across to us. “In essence, sponsors are letting us know that it’s futile to hide, duck, dodge, fast-forward, or take an extended bathroom break: they’ll get to us somehow.”

Neuromarketing:

            Neuromarketing is the study of how the human brain responds to marketing stimuli.” This study is a very important aspect of marketing which provides all the answers as to why and how, we as consumers react the way we do to certain forms of marketing and advertising. Neuromarketing alone may be the answer to why marketers and advertisers turn to subliminal messaging to persuade us. Some people believe that neuromarketing is an evil tool used to persuade and subjugate us against our will and should be banned, while others believe it may be very useful. Martin Lindstrom, the author of “Buy.ology” uses the analogy of a hammer to argue the positives of neuromarketing stating “Yes—in the wrong hands a hammer can be used to bludgeon someone over the head, but that is not its purpose, and it doesn’t mean that hammers should be banned or seized, or embargoed.” (Lindstrom, 4) He argues that neuromarketing is merely just an instrument to help decode what we as consumers are already thinking. Yes, it is true that such a study may provide very valuable information that could potentially be used for harm if used by the wrong person; however this is not what it is intended for.

            Neuromarketing is done in two ways: Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fmri) and electroencephalography (EEG). FMRI is done by using a very strong magnet which can track the blood flow of the brain while subjects respond to various visual and audio cues, giving access to an area of the brain known as the “pleasure center.” EEG is done by using a cap of electrodes which are attached to the subjects scalp. The electrodes measure the electrical waves which are produces by the brain and can be used to track emotions based on the fluctuation of brain activity.

            In 2004, Martin Lindstrom conducted a $7 million study comprised of multiple experiments and thousands of subjects from all over the world resulting in findings that he claims will “transform the way you think about how and why you buy.” The main goal of the study was to “overturn some of the most long-held assumptions, myths and beliefs about what kinds of advertising, branding and packaging actually work to arouse our interest and encourage us to buy.”

            One of his subjects named Marlene was a smoker and had been smoking 15 years prior to the study. She was asked to fill out a questionnaire, one of the questions being “Are you affected by the warnings on cigarette packs?” her response was yes. 5 weeks later results shows that warning labels on cigarette packs had little to no effect on smokers. What was even more surprising is that informing smokers of the risks of contracting deadly diseases caused by smoking stimulated the area of the smoker’s brain that causes cravings. “In other words, overt, direct, and visually explicit antismoking messages did more to encourage smoking than any deliberate campaign Marlboro or Camel could have come up with.” (Lindstrom, 82)

            The commercials on television that promote living above the influence of smoking thus may have a traverse effects on the smoking habits of viewers. The surface intention of the commercial may have been to deter smoking, but instead it not only informs viewers of smoking, but it also stimulates ones craving to smoke. These commercials thus act as not only a marketing agent, but also a marketing tool. The intention of such commercials are not clear because they are often funded by companies that produce cigarettes. This scenario poses the question of whether or not these cigarette companies are aware of the subliminal messages to smoke in even commercials that may seem to have the intention of deterring smoking.

            The mind of a given viewer of an advertisement with subliminal messages is often not aware of the message being communicated to their unconscious mind. The mind is separated into two halves: the conscious mind, and the unconscious mind. There is a filter mechanism that separates them, and the understood balance between both is a person’s perception of reality. The filter mechanism operates without awareness, and it only allows small parts of information to enter one’s consciousness. This means that a bulk of information enters thoughts’ mind through their unconscious mind. Bullock, the author of “The Secret Sales Pitch” states “Subliminal advertisements are fascinating because they graphically reveal how twisted our perception really is.”

We often do not realize the true power our subconscious mind has. Our subconscious mind is targeted on a daily basis by millions of objects, images, sounds and smells. A majority of our actions are done subconsciously and has far greater impact than we notice. “In reality, the unconscious is often calling the shots…It makes the conscious think it is in charge, but the conscious by distorting and withholding information the conscious has access to.”

 

Is Subliminal messaging a thing of the past?

            The more research I came upon, I noticed that all the examples of the use of subliminal messaging in ads were dated back to the 50s-80s. The truth is, marketers and manufacturers finally figured out that the manipulation of consumers’ minds was unethical, as well as a waste of time. The key to the survival of a brand is consumer loyalty, being that 80% of a company’s profit comes from 20% of their customers. Subliminal manipulation may greaten the chances of a one-time purchase, but there is no guarantee for life long customer loyalty.

There are still many mental tricks that may be used by marketers and advertisers such as the use of particular colors and visuals; however this is simply putting public knowledge to use, and doing it on a conscious level. In fact, a lot of what advertisers believe to be effective drawing the attention of customers proves to be a complete waste of time when tested. Studies show that our visual sense is not as strong in terms of enticing our interests and persuading us to buy.

A company called Neuroco which specialized in brain scanning conducted a study for 20th Century Fox which tested how a player’s eyes and brain activity reacted to commercials placed in a video game. This study resulted in no increase of sales, only gazing eyes.

“Today we are more visually overstimulated than ever before. And in fact, studies have shown that the more stimulated we are, the harder it is to capture our attention.” (Lindstrom, 142)

There is a form of branding known as Sensory Branding™ which tests our sight and smell. This form of branding came about when scientists realized that visual images such as logos prove to be more effective when associated with another scent. Associating an image with a scent or sound allows for the image to stand our more in our minds and become more memorable thus helping us to notice it more when seen on other occasions. When an image is paired with the right fragrance, and a consumer likes it, the right medial otherwise known as the bio frontal cortex which is an area in our brain that is associated with our perception of something pleasing. This is also the reason we will remember it at a later stage. One of the most memorable and favorable labels is Johnson & Johnson’s. This is due to the association of the logo with their baby powder. Growing up, everyone has a memory of Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder which will ignite our senses and cause us to be fonder of it.

All in all, the purchasing decision is up to us, the consumers. It is the job of the advertisers to figure out what it is that we like and what will persuade us to purchase a product. After all, if we don’t spend there will be no economy. Only when it is taken past our conscious level that it then begins to be manipulation and deception. Subliminal messaging has proven to be a thing of the past, and will ultimately stay there due to how highly informed we the consumers are on the topic.

           

 

 

Draft 2

How subliminal messaging works:

 

The term “subliminal” is defined as “(of a stimulus or mental process) below the threshold of sensation or consciousness; perceived by or affecting someone’s mind without their being aware of it.” A subliminal message is an “affirmation or message either auditory or visual presented below the normal limits of 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.

 

A big question is: How is subliminal messaging effective if we do not notice it?

                Subliminal messaging works because our unconscious mind picks up on things that our conscious mind does not. For example, in 1976 the cigarette company “Benson Hedges” advertised their hard pack cigarettes in Times magazine. This ad demonstrated a man and a woman romantically hugging while the man looked away with a sly look on his face. At first glance this ad seems normal, but what we, the viewers do not notice is the airbrushed penis on the woman’s back. The message behind this ad was the male in the picture was clearly nervous about being with the woman, and to influence customers that if they are feeling nervous ‘grab a hard pack’ which would be their cigarette as well as a sexual innuendo. The reason things like this get overlooked so easily is because in our subconscious mind, it doesn’t make sense “The unconscious is also inclined to suppress awareness of discordant information” (Bullock, 29).  Due to this suppression, we easily do not pay attention to it but are still influenced “the repression of discordant information probably wasn’t real, and consciously processing it impaired survival.”

                Majority of what is called “hard knowledge” is acquired by our subconscious mind, unconsciously. “Psychologists have long been aware of the distinction between explicit and implicit learning” (Bullock, 68). Explicit learning is the knowledge we acquire consciously, and implicit learning is what we acquire unconsciously, and immediately. An example of this is our language. When we are babies, we automatically pick up on the language spoken to us and around us; this is implicit learning. When we as adults now try to learn a second language, it is far more difficult; this is explicit learning.  This is related to the idea of “unconscious conditioning.” Unconscious conditioning is “the assimilation of knowledge without awareness” (Bullock, 69)…………

 

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 it’s not,” in a jingle which can be heard when played backwards otherwise called “backward masking” which is a form of subliminal messaging.

 

After World War II ended, many of the United States’ factories were producing a surplus of goods which were going unused. People were being very frugal in spending due to the great depressions effects.  The United States was now in a post-war recovery, and needed consumers to purchase the goods being produced in order to rebuild the economy. Due to this lack of consumption, advertisers and manufactures created a field of science known as “motivational research.” Scientists and psychologists were asked to develop innovative psychological techniques that would coax people to purchase products.  This research led to the discovery that most of the time people bought products for reasons they were not aware of. Total, approximately 1 billion dollars was spent on this research by the end of the 1950’s.

 

In 1957 there was great concern about the use of subliminal messaging in movies. James Vicary conducted an experiment in a New Jersey movie theater using a device he invented called a “tachistoscope.” This device was created for the purpose of flashing words and/or images on a screen for a brief amount of time for as little time as 1/300 of a second. Though this time may seem too short for us to consciously notice them, our subconscious mind will notice and may be influenced. Vicary flashed the phrases “Drink Coca-Cola” and “Eat popcorn” during a movie which he claimed led to a 57% increase in the sale of popcorn and Coca-Cola. Later it was proven his claims were exaggerated, however his press conference drew a lot of attention to the ideas of subliminal messaging. Many radio stations began using “whisper ads” for marketing purposes which were played beneath the music being aired.

 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.

                Once the public became more aware of subliminal messaging, they took a stance against it claiming that minds were being “broken and entered”, and stating that it threatened personal liberties. This caused ad agencies and manufacturers to stop the use of subliminal messaging and even led to the introduction of national and state bills trying to make it illegal; however these bills were never passed because the FCC assured that subliminal messaging was not being used and there was no need to ban it.

Neuromarketing:

                Neuromarketing is the study of how the human brain responds to marketing stimuli.” This study is a very important aspect of marketing which provides all the answers as to why and how, we as consumers react the way we do to certain forms of marketing and advertising. Neuromarketing alone may be the answer to why marketers and advertisers turn to subliminal messaging to persuade us. Some people believe that neuromarketing is an evil tool used to persuade and subjugate us against our will and should be banned, while others believe it may be very useful. Martin Lindstrom, the author of “Buy.ology” uses the analogy of a hammer to argue the positives of neuromarketing stating “Yes—in the wrong hands a hammer can be used to bludgeon someone over the head, but that is not its purpose, and it doesn’t mean that hammers should be banned or seized, or embargoed.” (Lindstrom, 4) He argues that neuromarketing is merely just an instrument to help decode what we as consumers are already thinking. Yes, it is true that such a study may provide very valuable information that could potentially be used for harm if used by the wrong person; however this is not what it is intended for.

                Neuromarketing is done in two ways: Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fmri) and electroencephalography (EEG). FMRI is done by using a very strong magnet which can track the blood flow of the brain while subjects respond to various visual and audio cues, giving access to an area of the brain known as the “pleasure center.” EEG is done by using a cap of electrodes which are attached to the subjects scalp. The electrodes measure the electrical waves which are produces by the brain and can be used to track emotions based on the fluctuation of brain activity.

                In 2004, Martin Lindstrom conducted a $7 million study comprised of multiple experiments and thousands of subjects from all over the world resulting in findings that he claims will “transform the way you think about how and why you buy.” The main goal of the study was to “overturn some of the most long-held assumptions, myths and beliefs about what kinds of advertising, branding and packaging actually work to arouse our interest and encourage us to buy.”

                One of his subjects named Marlene was a smoker and had been smoking 15 years prior to the study. She was asked to fill out a questionnaire, one of the questions being “Are you affected by the warnings on cigarette packs?” her response was yes. 5 weeks later results shows that warning labels on cigarette packs had little to no effect on smokers. What was even more surprising is that informing smokers of the risks of contracting deadly diseases caused by smoking stimulated the area of the smoker’s brain that causes cravings.

                The commercials on television that promote living above the influence of smoking thus may have a traverse effects on the smoking habits of viewers. The surface intention of the commercial may have been to deter smoking, but instead it not only informs viewers of smoking, but it also stimulates ones craving to smoke. These commercials thus act as not only a marketing agent, but also a marketing tool. The intention of such commercials are not clear because they are often funded by companies that produce cigarettes. This scenario poses the question of whether or not these cigarette companies are aware of the subliminal messages to smoke in even commercials that may seem to have the intention of deterring smoking.

                The mind of a given viewer of an advertisement with subliminal messages is often not aware of the message being communicated to their unconscious mind. The mind is separated into two halves: the conscious mind, and the unconscious mind. There is a filter mechanism that separates them, and the understood balance between both is a person’s perception of reality. The filter mechanism operates without awareness, and it only allows small parts of information to enter one’s consciousness. This means that a bulk of information enters thoughts’ mind through their unconscious mind.

               

               

 

 

Subliminal Messaging: Draft 1

How subliminal messaging works:

 

The term “subliminal” is defined as “(of a stimulus or mental process) below the threshold of sensation or consciousness; perceived by or affecting someone’s mind without their being aware of it.” A subliminal message is an “affirmation or message either auditory or visual presented below the normal limits of 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 it’s 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.

 

Neuromarketing:

                Neuromarketing is the study of how the human brain responds to marketing stimuli.” This study is a very important aspect of marketing which provides all the answers as to why and how, we as consumers react the way we do to certain forms of marketing and advertising. Neuromarketing alone may be the answer to why marketers and advertisers turn to subliminal messaging to persuade us. Some people believe that neuromarketing is an evil tool used to persuade and subjugate us against our will and should be banned, while others believe it may be very useful. Martin Lindstrom, the author of “Buy.ology” uses the analogy of a hammer to argue the positives of neuromarketing stating “Yes—in the wrong hands a hammer can be used to bludgeon someone over the head, but that is not its purpose, and it doesn’t mean that hammers should be banned or seized, or embargoed.” (Lindstrom, 4) He argues that neuromarketing is merely just an instrument to help decode what we as consumers are already thinking. Yes, it is true that such a study may provide very valuable information that could potentially be used for harm if used by the wrong person; however this is not what it is intended for.

                Neuromarketing is done in two ways: Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fmri) and electroencephalography (EEG). FMRI is done by using a very strong magnet which can track the blood flow of the brain while subjects respond to various visual and audio cues, giving access to an area of the brain known as the “pleasure center.” EEG is done by using a cap of electrodes which are attached to the subjects scalp. The electrodes measure the electrical waves which are produces by the brain and can be used to track emotions based on the fluctuation of brain activity.

                In 2004, Martin Lindstrom conducted a $7 million study comprised of multiple experiments and thousands of subjects from all over the world resulting in findings that he claims will “transform the way you think about how and why you buy.” The main goal of the study was to “overturn some of the most long-held assumptions, myths and beliefs about what kinds of advertising, branding and packaging actually work to arouse our interest and encourage us to buy.”

                One of his subjects named Marlene was a smoker and had been smoking 15 years prior to the study. She was asked to fill out a questionnaire, one of the questions being “Are you affected by the warnings on cigarette packs?” her response was yes. 5 weeks later results shows that warning label on cigarette packs had little to no effect on smokers. What was even more surprising is that informing smokers of the risks of contracting deadly diseases caused by smoking stimulated the area of the smoker’s brain that causes cravings.

               

 

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.

 

Twitter Observation

Danielle Wisdom

English 201

February 20, 2014

                                                Twitter Observation

  As I browsed through twitter accounts of various public relations firms, and public relation gurus, I couldn’t help but notice the many similarities of the content within their tweets.  Many of the profiles had posts that shared links to useful Youtube videos which acts as a guide to one’s knowledge of marketing. The twitter account of Sparkah Media interacted back and forth with their followers, while other profiles such as PR News mostly posted helpful and promotional links. Admittedly, all the public relations related twitter profiles were rather lackluster, until I began viewing the Forbes.com embedded “Must-Follow Marketing Minds on Twitter 2014” profiles that I became interested. Again, some profiles only posted links, while the Forbes account interacted with users in the tweets connected to the links. One of my favorite profiles belonged to Joseph Jaffe (@jaffejuice). I found his tweets entertaining, even though they weren’t as informative regarding his discipline. His tweets gave an insight into his interests, strong opinions, and even his very snippy responses to ignorant followers.

                Viewing the profiles of these marketing minds acted as a window into the life and mind of these very successful, sought after marketing professionals. Though it may seem hard to get a lesson by simply viewing their tweets, it is also a great way to see the mindset and professionalism required to work in these fields. Many of these profiles are very active, which show that they understand the growing importance of social media and how effective a simple thought and/or opinion of 140 characters can be.  For example, the profile of Melissa Hoffmann, the senior editor of Ad Week’s bio states “Opinions are mine; don’t blame my employer.” I found this to be amusing, and it demonstrated her integrity as an individual, separate from her career. It teaches us that marketers and publicists realize the power of their words, and that what they say may be a direct reflection of their company, which can either greatly or negatively affect them. For example in the case of Justine Sacco, the former PR Director for InterActiveCorp in 2013, was everything but cautious when she tweeted a very ignorant comment stating “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m White!.” A comment like that, coming from a PR director of a very popular internet company was completely unprofessional. As soon as this comment occurred, the IAC released a public statement saying “This is an outrageous, offensive comment that does not reflect the views and values of IAC. Unfortunately, the employee in question is unreachable on an international flight, but this is a very serious matter and we are taking appropriate action.” 

                Although these professionals may lash out against rude responses of followers, and offer their controversial opinions, they are still nothing short of professional in the way they speak, and words they employ. It shows that it is very important to maintain a sense of professionalism, in and out of the workforce. Something as simple as twitter and other social networks can severely affect one’s life based on one tweet/post.  So the better question is: What is the standard of professionalism in the field of marketing? If you make the choice to use social media as a form of marketing and communication in the field you work, it seems the best choice is to keep it strictly business. It wasn’t hard to figure out exactly what these great marketing minds on twitter’s profiles represented because their bios gave it all away with short and simple wording, stating their job title, and/or the company they work for; and their tweets did just that. As I browsed from the profiles of Sarah Manley the CMO of Burberry, to Barbra Rechterman the CMO of GoDaddy.com, I found that everything was strictly business. They hold such important positions in their field of work that it would be unfortunate if anything they posted on their personal social media accounts had a negative impact on their job potential.

            Professionalism in the field of PR enables one to maintain a positive image at all times. It seems as though the best way to go about this, based on what you see as examples from these marketing professionals, is to relate everything back to the company and brand one works for. However; this may vary depending on if you work for TMZ or if you are the CMO of Walmart.

                The marketing field is far more lax than other fields in the business world, but even this field depends on the firm you work for. Being a “professional” is having the skills required to be engaged in a particular profession. A person working in the field of marketing must possess certain basic skills such as leadership qualities in order to drive a brand forward and manage a team, being business savvy, socially understanding, tech savvy, and having good writing skills; but simply having these skills may not be enough. A person working in this professional field must uphold the proper behavioral standards set by the company they work for and maintain proper, professional and ethical relationships with clientele and partners.

When learning about the marketing profession, and the necessary steps to become a force to be reckoned with in the marketing/advertising/public relations field, we learn the importance of maintaining good relationships with the brands with which you work. After all, marketing and public relations is all about a company’s effort to form good relationships with consumers, and having a good public image. This was clearly demonstrated with all the profiles I viewed. Whether it was a link to a news article, or a link to a Budweiser commercial; these professionals in some way were promoting these brands whilst offering their opinion at the same time and helped to draw the attention of their followers.

                Being a part of the marketing culture means that you become the driving force behind many major brands and industries in the world. A marketer can single-handedly be responsible for the success or failure of a company and/or brand. When one becomes a professional marketer they take on great responsibility, and at all times have to be on their A game in order to push the brand/company for which they work to the top.  

Rhetorical analysis

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.

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.

 

What can I do to present the arguments more clear?

Twitter observation draft 2

 

 

   As I browse through twitter accounts of various public relations firms, and public relation gurus, I can’t help but notice the many similarities of the content within their tweets.  Many of these profiles posted tweets sharing useful Youtube videos which aided in one’s knowledge of marketing, and many how to videos. Sparkah Media’s profile in particular interacted back and forth with their followers, while other profiles such as PR News mostly posted helpful and promotional links. I admit, all the public relations related twitter profiles I viewed absolutely bored me; it wasn’t until I began viewing the Forbes.com “Must-Follow Marketing Minds on Twitter 2014” profiles that I became interested. Again, some only posted links but there was far more life involved in the tweets connected to the links. One of my favorite profiles belonged to Joseph Jaffe (@jaffejuice). I found his tweets entertaining, even though they weren’t as informative regarding his discipline. His tweets gave an insight of his interests, his strong opinions and even very snippy responses to ignorant followers.

                Viewing the profiles of these marketing minds is literally a free invitation into the life, and mind of these very successful, sought after marketing professionals. Though it may seem hard to get a lesson by simply viewing their tweets, it is also a great way to see the mindset and professionalism required to work in these fields. Many of these profiles are very active, which shows that they understand the growing importance of social media and how effective a simple thought and/or opinion of 140 characters can be.  For example the profile of Melissa Hoffmann, the senior editor of Ad Week’s bio states “Opinions are mine; don’t blame my employer.” I found this to be amusing, and very real of her. It teaches us that marketers and publicists realize the power of their words, and what they say may be a direct reflection of their company which can either greatly or negatively affect them. For example in the case of Justine Sacco who was the former PR Director for InterActiveCorp in 2013 who had tweeted a very ignorant comment stating “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m White!.” A comment like this, coming from a PR director of a very popular internet company was completely unprofessional. As soon as this took place, IAC released a public statement saying “This is an outrageous, offensive comment that does not reflect the views and values of IAC. Unfortunately, the employee in question is unreachable on an international flight, but this is a very serious matter and we are taking appropriate action.” 

                Though these professionals may lash back at some rude responses of followers, and offer their controversial opinions, they are still nothing short of professional in the way the way they speak and word what they say. It shows that it very important to maintain a sense of professionalism in and out of the workforce. Something as simple as twitter and other social networks can severely affect your life based on one tweet/post.  So the better question is: What is the standard of professionalism in the field of marketing? If you make the choice to use social media as a form of marketing and communication as a professional in the field you work, it seems the best choice is to keep it strictly business. It wasn’t hard to figure out exactly what these great marketing minds on twitter’s profiles would be about because their bios gave it all away with short and simple wording stating their job title, and/or the company they work for. As I browsed the profiles of Sarah Manley the CMO of Burberry, to Barbra Rechterman the CMO of GoDaddy.com I found that everything was strictly business. They hold such important positions in their field of work that it would be unfortunate if anything they posted on their social media had a negative impact on their job performance.

                Professionalism in this field means to maintain a positive image at all times. It seems the best way to go about this, based on what you see as examples from these marketing professionals is to relate everything back to the company and brand you work for. However; this may vary depending if you work for TMZ or if you are the CMO of Walmart.

                The marketing field is far more lax than other fields in the business world, but this also depends on the firm you work for. Being a “professional” is having the skills required to be engaged in a particular profession. A person working in the field of marketing must possess certain basic skills such as leadership qualities in order to drive a brand forward and manage a team, business savvy, sociologically understanding, technology savvy, and have good writing skills; but simply having these skills may not be enough. A person working in this professional field must maintain the proper behavioral standards set by the company they work for and maintain proper, professional and ethical relationships with clientele and partners.

When learning about the marketing profession, and how to become a force to be reckoned with in the marketing/advertising/public relations field we learn the importance of maintaining good relationships with the brands with which you work. After all, marketing and public relations is all about a company’s effort to form good relationships with consumers, and having a good public image. This was clearly demonstrated with all the profiles I viewed. Whether it was a link to a news article, or a link to a Budweiser commercial; these professionals in some way were promoting these brands whilst offering their opinion at the same time and helped to draw the attention of their followers.

                Being a part of the marketing culture means that you become the driving force behind many major brands and industries in the world. A marketer can single-handedly be responsible for the success or failure of a company and brand. When one becomes a professional marketer they take on great responsibility, and at all times have to be on their A game in order to push the brand/company for which they work to the top.  

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