Subliminal Marketing: Can I plant My Idea To His Mind?

Posted on Sep 17 2012 - 5:30am by Fayaz

Dabangg releases in September. Munni badnaam hui becomes a rage. Zandu Balm doubles his sale. Hard to find the correlation between the three but the magic of Subliminal Marketing explains it all. Never for once did the movie tried to advertise Zandu as a product in film but the sub conscious mind of consumer catches all the action happening around him and later translates it into the physical requirements of the person.

Subliminal marketing first used by James Vicary, expresses messages which are hidden in the mode of communication used and those messages are then made to act on our subconscious mind. They are an attempt to make us think or want something without even realizing it. Max Sutherland says that about 1.5 seconds of the two seconds spent on the average ad is devoted to the picture, and only about 0.5 seconds to the copy. The book “How Customers Think” by Gerald Zaltman, states that studies have shown that 95% of our thinking is below the subconscious level.  If all this is true then information that our brains process subconsciously plays a significant role to our decisions and eventually affects our purchasing behavior.

Taking one more example of subliminal marketing. Have this question ever come to your mind that why the top three brands of Digital Camera viz. Nikon, Sony, Canon are being endorsed by leading ladies of industry as Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone and Anushka Chopra respectively. Behind all this lies the subliminal message of setting the proposition of respective company’s digital camera as product simplicity. Whenever we see these ads the message flashes through our brain wires, consciously or sub consciously, that when these bimbos can handle this camera so easily then why can’t I?

Coca Cola, Disney and Bacardi are known for using subliminal advertising for their products. Sex is something that interests everyone and therefore sexual images would have a subconscious influence on the consumer’s choice. Images given portraits how brands have used the subliminal effect into their marketing techniques.




The image of the dog in the print ad of Bacardi symbolizes that the just like dog is said to be the owner’s best friend, rum is also a drinker’s best friend, and remains faithful and loyal to it till the end. Also, the beer companies that target mainly poorer sections of society use the cobra, bull, dragon and tiger to convey their messages. The idea is to sell wildness and power to the powerless.


Subliminal messages are expressed not only with images but also through color, a shape, a sound, a smell and many such indirect signals, which tells a story about the brand – without having to show the logo.  A large mayonnaise manufacturer discovered in a market research that all diet conscious women preferred the bottle which was narrow around the middle and thicker at the top and on the bottom then the one which had a slender neck that tapered down into a fat bottom, like a genie bottle. Nike embeds implied messages in their famous slogans.  Their slogan “Just Do It” slogan may not seems so catchy at first yet it somehow make an strong buying appeal to most of us. When we read the slogan, the brain quickly makes an association and tells us that the message applies to that thing we really want to “just do”. This how Nike establishes itself as a brand which when taken together inspires people to “Just Do” the things they wanted to do earlier.

This kind of advertising has had his successful run around the global but in India it is catching up soon. Though in the past also we had seen an epic ad campaign of “pakde rehna chhodna nahi” by Fevicol where again nothing was claimed about the adhesive quality of Fevicol but the sheer imagination that by the virtue of a Fevicol kept upon the TV set the actor doesn’t slip off the bridge convinces consumer quite very well about the effectiveness of the product.

This kind of marketing is gaining momentum in India with the increasing involvement of brands in the movies being made these days. More and more brands are making it a point that they also share the celluloid with the protagonist and attempt that just by a bare minimum screen presence they are able to leave a mark on their prospective consumers. Product placement is being recognized as a huge opportunity in films and through merchandizing these brands attempt to involve themselves as much as possible into the plot and marking their impression in a subtle way to the consumer’s mind. But again India as a country where the people are accustomed to hearing everything loud and clear, subtle messages will take some time to establish their appeal to the target audiences.

Biggest advantage subliminal marketing carries with itself is its inherent scope to entertain its audiences to a larger degree than as compared with the direct marketing. The complete focus of the ad is to keep the viewer engaged in that slot of 30-45 seconds as the appeal to adopt the product is being registered sub consciously to his mind. Why subliminal marketing scores above traditional marketing is because we bring the consumer with us on a journey, engage him in figuring out who’s behind the message – and most importantly talk to his subconscious mind.

And surely it works better when you take the call on your inner self’s voice and fulfills his innate demands.


The article is authored by Gajendra Singh from GLIM. If you wish to write for us, then kindly check this.

About the Author

Fayaz is the founder of Marketing Bloggers. Apart from the jibber-jabber he is Human by birth, Engineer by mistake, Marketer by Choice.. That says it all :)

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