5 Examples of Marketing with Subliminal Messages


Our sub conscious mind may be more powerful than you think and what you perceive through the conscious mind is only the tip of the iceberg. Marketing uses subliminal messages in many ways to get their message across their targeted audience. Many psychologists also believe that we make many decisions through our sub conscious minds and at some level our sub conscious is involved in most of our decisions-directly or indirectly.

Even if you don’t agree with this analysis, you will still agree that finding a hidden message in any ad, movie or song always generates a degree of intrigue. We also tend to talk more about a certain ad that has a hidden message. There are many examples on how companies use hidden messages or subliminal messages to make their product stand out. We are going to give you some examples how they do the same.

  1. In case of Animation through Futurama

Sound too can be used to create a subliminal message and the animated series Futurama is one of the best examples of the same. This cartoon is still around and is currently being broadcasted in Spain. One episode of the series featured a scene where Bender, who is the main character, hums a popular song. The episode’s original version had Bender humming a song related to the USA’s Republican Party. When the episode was translated to English, the makers kept the original song to sound politically right.

  1. Oscar Selfie

Ellen DeGeneres broke the internet when she tweeted a selfie straight from the Oscars. The Oscar selfie became one of the most retweeted picture ever and got everyone talking.  The picture was taken on a Samsung phone, who was also the official sponsor of the award ceremony. When the selfie became popular, it gave Samsung enough exposure and attention. This was a brilliant subtle product placement even when the product was not in the picture.

  1. Company Logos

There are many company logos that have used a subliminal message in their icons for unconscious mind programming. The list here includes the name of many famous brands like FedEx, Tostitos and many more similar brands. Subliminal messages in iconography are common phenomena in the present times and can be found in many icons. Snooty Peacocks plays with optical illusion to give double message to the viewer. It tells the name and the purpose in the icon itself and oozes elegance from the first glance itself.

  1. Marlboro’s Attempt for Subtle Marketing

Marlboro found a way to get past the strict laws surrounding cigarette advertising. It had used subliminal ads before but the best attempt was the way it advertised its brand in F1 cars. It converted its cigarette packet in a barcode design and placed those in formula racing cars. It was a simple barcode with no relevance at first but when the cars were moving in a high speed, the barcode design was recognizable as the logo.

  1. Political Advertisements

A campaign ran by George W Bush ran a subliminal message that was visible for only a fraction of second. The word read ‘Rats’ in capital bold letters against a white background. The political ad was attacking the healthcare policies of Al Gore who was running for President against the Republicans. George W Bush was severely criticized but he claimed to have no knowledge of the message and insisted it was not intentional.

Many countries ban the use of subliminal messages but the US does not follow a specific law when it comes to the use of subliminal messages in different forms of marketing. Their usage does fall under the jurisdiction of federal law. Nevertheless, they are used widely in marketing—sometimes intentionally. Their use may be controversial at times when they read out a misleading or explicit message but their usefulness in the world of advertising is something we can all agree on. They have been used in marketing in the past and are still used extensively in the present times.

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