Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Amazing Display of Subliminal Advertising

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
I wouldn't exactly call the technique 'subliminal' since the images are clearly and consciously perceived. Nonetheless, the video demonstrates most effectively the way advertisers use the technique of association in order to foster a feeling of comfort and familiarity. In some cases, the technique is pretty overt - when an advertiser uses the music from a favorite song, for instance. But in other cases, as we see here, the advertiser uses things that are not part of traditional media at all - public art, graffiti, memes, and the rest. Much - probably most - of what we see is the result of a deliberate effort to model something they want us to associate favorably in their mind.

There's much more at work here. First, the model doesn't have to be an image - it can just as easily be an idea or even a way of speaking (I saw the word 'risable' in an edublog recently, a word that conservative bloggers use among each other to generate a sense of comfort and association). And second, self-promoters (you know who they are) use these models to pattern their own work, tapping into this advertising for their own benefit (think about how often you see this - the "Big Question", anyone?). This incidentally serves the purpose of reinforcing the original advertising campaign (and, not coincidentally, earning favour from the original sponsors).

I try to avoid this as much as possible, and no doubt it has an impact on my popularity. But I am not immune - note the design of this website. We humans are natural imitators, natural associators.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Jun 17, 2024 06:34 a.m.

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