....Can any of these gimmicks really
work? "Absolutely," says Jagdish Sleth President of the American Psychological
Association's Division of consumer Psychology. "The controversy has always been
over changing people's attitudes. That you can't do! what you can do is
trigger a prior attitude or disposition."
....Buying popcorn and soda at a movie
theater is acceptable behavior, so a subliminal advertisement about products
should work well. Selling a refrigerator in a movie theater wouldn't work but
may trigger the name of the subliminal advertisement when you are shopping for
....Subliminal advertising won't make
Avis number one. A recent study found, for example, that showing the message
"Eat Beef" doesn't induce a craving for beef.
It did, however, increase sandwich consumption in general. A consumer's
"preference hierarchy" can't be changed by these methods. According to Del
Hawkins, dean at this University of Oregon's school of Business, instead, the
effect of subliminal programming will be spread over all similar products. Of
course that limitation doesn't render subliminal programming useless. In a
supposedly dog-eat-dog world, many corporate canines would rather form a pack so
that all might dine on a larger piece of consumer spending.
....Subliminal techniques were employed
in a major motion picture, The Exorcist. The producers were apparently
effective enough in inciting fear and terror that their use of subliminal
techniques is a major issue in a $350,000 law suite against Warner Brothers for
injuries sustained by one viewer, when he fainted and broke his jaw shortly
after seeing a subliminal death mask. Increasingly enough, William Blatty, the
author of the novel on which the Exorcist is based, is a former CIA operative
who served as the Policy Branch Chief of Psychological Warfare Division of the
United States Air Force.
....According to previously classified
documents, the CIA tested subliminal manipulation in movie theaters during the
late 1950's and a document on these studies speculated "that subliminal
projection can be utilized in such a way as to feature visual suggestion as
"obey (deleted)." The extent of the CIA research is unknown.
....Subliminals in marketing has taken on
a new interest in the potential of subliminal stimulation since science magazine
carried a report in 1980 by two respected investigators, R Zajonc and W.
Knust-Wilson. They reported that like/dislike rating ("affected reactions") can
be influenced by stimuli that are truly subliminal.