What is subliminal advertising?

What is subliminal advertising


ou might have heard a little about subliminal advertising, but I am sure you don’t know exactly what this is, or how to take benefit of it. If you are a small business owner or marketing professional you may learn a lot of things about subliminal advertising after reading this article.

This is a very rare topic and most do not discuss it in our daily life. Here in this post, I’ll try to describe subliminal advertising as much as I can, so that you can realize what is the subliminal advertising?. If you have great characteristics of an entrepreneur you should read what is subliminal advertising so your business can never be in trouble.

“Marketing is a fascinating world where you learn different things every day by practical approach. It is also a very important element of business education”.

Whenever you think you know everything about marketing, there’s always something new that will surprise you in any field. And that forces you to be alert all the time and consider different marketing training and programs as the best investments to follow current trends of the market.

One of the most undiscovered topics for most of the people who are in the marketing profession is subliminal advertising.

However, subliminal advertising has always been with us until it has been banned in many countries.

What is subliminal advertising?

According to the Cambridge dictionary “advertising that uses images and sounds that the conscious mind is not aware of, in order to influence people and make them attracted to a product”.

In simple terms, subliminal advertising plays with the unconscious minds of the consumer, therefore many marketing professionals believe that this is not a strategy that can bring the expected results, or this strategy may not be useful after spending a lot of money. Plenty of reputable brands have created several advertising campaigns of this model and they were successful, however, this type of promotion creates a lot of controversy between the marketing professionals. It should be noted that this type of promotion is illegal in some countries, for example, the UK.

Types Of Subliminal Advertising

The subliminal message in a logo

There are many examples available for subliminal logos throughout the business world. Many companies have secret or hidden messages in their logos. Toblerone is a bar of famous chocolate if you see its’ logo wants to take us to the Alps, the origin of their chocolate. If you take a deep look at the image of the mountain you will notice ‘A bear’. That is the animal that connects Toblerone with Berna, the town of its origin. Another good example is the Spartan Golf Club logo, it does not only showing the person playing golf the main business but also Spartan helmet which references the name of the club.

Subliminal Advertising Through Texts

Though it is hard to create a subliminal message because everything is clear and anyone can analyze the message’s contents, it is possible and for this, you may need a good copywriter to create subliminal content for your brand.

Subliminal Advertising Through Images

This is the easiest way for creating subliminal advertising and your brand can impact someone’s unconscious mind. The Marlboro strategy can be the classic example of subliminal advertising as we all know that cigarette advertising is prohibited in many countries

Marlboro has used their barcode in formula 1sports without openly showing their brand instead they used logo resembles barcode at Ferrari F1-”Scuderia Marlboro” racecar. However, European Public Health Commissioner later asked Marlboro to removed this barcode, and Marlboro protested but had no other choice than removing it. But in my opinion that advertising had already delivered the message to their consumer.

Subliminal advertising By Videos

When you produce subliminal advertising using videos, you’ll work with many elements that the user normally won’t consciously process.

There are various aspects that will be worked for creating a video, plus the utilization of sounds, colors, and suggestive environments for delivering special messages.

However, although the strategy has got to be more elaborate, it’s easier to use because it allows the chance of using brainstorming within several departments of companies and thus the strategy is often more productive.​ We see the examples of video subliminal advertising in male and female genital products especially in conservative societies where these product advertisements are banned with a direct message. These companies use this type of TV commercials to convey their message.


In 1999, Harvard University conducted a study about subliminal advertisement and they found that this can affect a consumers’ behavior but in a limited way. So my suggestion is that we should not invest in a limited way especially if we have a limited marketing budget.

There are other options that brands can use for subliminal advertising including audio or internet as a medium, but this is very controversial as the whole process. I would not recommend using this type of advertisement as most of the marketing professionals agree with me because it can be a very risky investment and most often the desired results cannot be achieved and sometimes brands can also enter legal issues with governments. This type can be ok with a logo but for promotions, it can be disastrous for brands.

Waqar Hussain is the founder of The Business Goals. He writes about entrepreneurial strategies and is an SEO consultant by profession. He is a B.Com, GDM, and an MBA from the Australian Institute of Business.



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