Advertisements bombard every minute of our lives. The advertising industry has penetrated into every aspect our this society. When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I hear is my radio blaring out the latest ad for Sears or the Penn State Bookstore. At night, the last thing I see is the latest peroxide innovation on the toothpaste tube. Most of us ignore these ads as we drive by the Marlboro billboard on the way to work or to the countryside on a lovely day. However, most of us do not realize the mind games the advertisers has been playing on our subconscious minds for the past half century. It's a scary thought, really, when you realize the advertisers has gained control of our lives without us even knowing it.
I stumbled onto this topic of subliminal messages in advertisements accidentally. Before I became familiar with this subject, I have heard of naked women in ice cubes floating on soft drinks. I have also heard of subliminal messages being flashed in theaters telling people to drink soda and eat popcorn. In fact, I have experimented with flashing messages on the computer screen using a program I made at the beginning of my senior year in computer science class. The subject of a subconscious mind being influenced without a person's knowledge greatly intrigues me. At a science symposium I have attended to present a research poster, I have listened to another presentation about the effects of subliminal stimuli on the left (logical) side of the brain. The presenter was off topic and was consequently marked by the judges. However, she has given me the impulse to further dwell on this topic. Some questions I have asked as I entered this research was, "Are there really naked women in ice cubes?" "If so, are they effective in influencing people?" And finally, "How do the advertisers put these subliminal messages into their ads?" With these objectives in mind, I have discovered the breadth of background knowledge I had to gather before I even attempt to analyze the ads. I had to learn about human perception, subconscious processing, advertising strategies, depth interviews, graphic design, and a plethora of sub-topics. Nonetheless, I have thoroughly enjoyed this research project.
In My Defense
As I read through several of Dr. Wilson Bryan Key's books on subliminal advertising, I was amazed and shocked at the amount of filth and porn in the advertisements. If they were targeted for the conscious mind, the collection of these ads would turn into your average amateur hard-core. As I tried to show and explain some of these advertisements to my colleagues, the first and predominant response I got was "You have a sick mind." In defense of myself and all of the researchers who have studied these ads, I must point out that it is the advertisers who printed the ads. These researchers and I are simply bringing into your consciousness mind what your unconscious mind has absorbed already. It is easy to hide away and reject what we don't understand, as the Roman Catholic Church did to Galileo's theory of the universe. All that I ask is that you look into these ads and explanation with an open, even if skeptical mind.
The existence of a...