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Lecture

SOCIO 2172A - Lecture 4: Subliminal Advertising

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Department
Sociology
Course
Sociology 2172A/B
Professor
Gale Cassidy
Semester
Fall

Description
SUBLIMINAL ADVERTISING • origin of term – *James Vicary (1957) ◦ showed during film “Picnic” with stills of image with text flashing throughout the film-->“eat popcorn” and “drink coca-cola” ◦ 57% popcorn and 18% coca-cola increase profits 6 weeks after ◦ never been any independent evidence to show this is a fact ◦ 5 yrs later he admitted that he made it up • *Wilson Bryan Key (1970s) ◦ looked more at hidden/embedded images ◦ books: Subliminal Seduction and Media Sexploitation ◦ images embedded in advertising ◦ use of subliminal sexual symbols or objects ◦ idea is you see this sexual image in whatever the ad is, it makes you feel good, then that makes you feel better about the product, buy the product thinking it'll make you feel better ◦ Ritz Crackers – famous claim is that the word “sex” is written on Ritz Crackers ◦ images in ice cubes is another claim Subliminal Perception • Pratkanic and Greenwald (1998) 1. Sub-threshold Stimuli • images you don't perceive on a conscious level • difficult to pin down whether it's there or if it has an impact 2. Masked Stimuli • hidden from audience by some overriding stimuli such as a bright light 3. Unattended Stimuli • imbedded image isn't separated out from the other image • ex. Ritz Crackers, ice cubes 4. Figurally Transformed Stimuli • ex. playing a record backwards and it has a hidden message ABC rejected KFC's hidden message ad because of policy against subliminal advertising. • They played what seemed like a normal commercial, but there was a message at the end of the ad that said if you played the commercial backwards there would be a message to go on the KFC website for a coupon • “I would think the networks would look to partner and encourage experimentation with techniques that involve the viewer and discourage them to skip the commercials” • “Broadcasters need to recognize that their role in a marketer's media mix is going to evolve. They should evolve their point of views” • more than 70 thousand people followed the commercial's instruction and got the coupon • traffic to the website increased by 60% Controversy for Decades • inconsistent use of the term subliminal • lack of precise and standardized processes • lack of adequate conception of unconscious processes • despite overall lack of empirical evidence that subliminal advertising exists and works, a large percentage of people believe that companies use subliminal messaging and that it works Product Placement • American Idol won the award for the most product placement one year for their use of Coca-Cola cups every week • An advertising technique used by companies to subtly promote their products through a non-traditional advertising technique, usuall
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