Messing with your mind: Why there’s more to adverts than meets the eye

Wherever you are and wherever you travel, in any town in any city in the whole of the the world, you will find one thing in common: advertising. It’s everywhere, and it’s on everything – from posters and billboards to the images sprawled across the bus or displayed in magazines. The ones that really grab your attention are the most successful ones, while some of them will pass you by without a second glance. What’s interesting about all these adverts is that they are not as one dimensional as they might at first appear. Often adverts contain subliminal messages which speak to your subconscious mind without you even realizing it.

Some visuals hide subtle messages which your conscious brain cannot tap into. Often graphic adverts can endorse an idea, like sex, through their imagery. Whatever subliminal image is being conveyed is overshadowed by a bigger picture that dominates the conscious mind, but the subliminal message will still be working.

Audio adverts can also use subliminal messages through what is called of back masking. This is not thought to be as effective as visual subliminal messages, but evidence is scarce about this theory.

Even pop culture is involved with subliminal messaging. Conspiracy theories about Lady Gaga and a connection to Satanic and cult practices is a classic example, and it is easy to see the disturbing images which appear in many of her videos.

The video for Bad Romance portrays Lady Gaga as a symbol of the frailty of purity. The video also contains many demonic images. An expert on subliminal advertising Wilson Bryan Key, claims that Subliminal perception is something that people do not want to believe in, and something that they do not think applies to them even if it does exist. He argues that the media and advertising agencies, and even the government all use subliminal techniques and that we should be increasingly aware of this and cautious about the advertisements that we watch and listen to. Perhaps our subconscious is being sent messages about enjoying an ostentatious lifestyle that our rational conscious mind would only entertain as frivolousness.