The Truth of the Subliminal

Many of us will have heard of things such as subliminal messaging - many of us will likely have some notion as to how it is done, with secret messages being flashed in-between two frames of an image. If you have ever watched the movie Fight Club you will realise that this is in fact total nonsense, the human eye is more than capable of seeing in a single frame difference from the flow of the image. That being said there are many who think that there are people, groups or institutions that seek to control us through subversive messages such these but the truth of the matter is - they don't need to. For any media centric organisation be it the branding department of a company, an advertising company or any such similar, they are more than aware of what it takes to get you to buy their product - all they need is your ignorance.

What I mean by this is that whilst you are sat there watching television, once those adverts come on, if I sat there and said to you "Would you buy that product based upon it's advert", I imagine the common sense would kick in and you would say "probably not". Yet when you are nice and relaxed your brainwaves shift into what is called Alpha, a state of absorption. Your thoughts retract from an active into a passive and receptive state. Alpha is those times when you are slouched and gawking at your television - and this is the exact time in which an advertiser can do it's work. You see, when I said earlier that I would ask you if you wanted to buy something based on the advert, the fact you where directly addressed and I was expecting a response shifts you immediately into a state of Beta, active, logical thinking. In Alpha you don't think, you just passively take in and store.

Relatively harmless you might think but what is happening is not so passive. Your brain stores the information thrown at it by advertisers and, even weeks later, it is when you are doing some shopping and reach a point of choice that the advert goes to work, (please note this does not happen when we predetermine what product we would buy such as what polish or detergent, these often come from habits already formed from either this same process or from other social trends). So there you are, in an aisle in a supermarket faced with nothing short of a wall of different products from which you need to make a choice that you have not already predetermined, your brain enters a rigorous beta state trying to ascertain what to do and in so doing relies on the stored information it has on those products - so where does it turn? That nice big store of information constructed in a previous state of Alpha that was tucked away because your brain was in "I'm too tired to think now, i've had a hard day at work" mode. Now of course you will have seen multiple adverts for similar products and the way your mind narrows these down is very simple - colours, jingles, notable people - all the usual social elements that we use to decide whether we like something or not. This is what an advertiser specialises in - making your brain passively like something to increase its chances in the Alpha lottery.

All this though is secondary to the ultimate goal of any advertisers, of any branding for a product. They don't want you to "want" their product, they want you to "need" it - success stories of which include the mobile phone, where even pensioners have gone from "I don't want one", to "I need one" through that oh so familiar medium of fear. Our society is reaching that point of living in fear of being out of touch. We insure our insurance, we join social networks that update our other social networks so that we are connected.

This all stems from the media, from advertising and the pursuit of every growing profit and control of market share.

Want to stay connected? Then remember the basics and you can never go wrong. Hold a hand, give someone hug, accept a kiss, have sex or share some food.