Back in the 1950s subliminal advertising caused fear among people. But does it actually work? The BBC devised its own experiment to see test it out.
Hidden messages that promote products in films once caused a moral panic. But is the much-feared technique really effective? The BBC’s Phil Tinline helped devise an experiment to find out.
On 12 September, 1957, at a studio in New York, a market researcher in the Mad Men mould called a press conference.
James Vicary astonished the assembled reporters by announcing that he’d repeatedly flashed the slogans “Drink Coca-Cola” and “Eat popcorn” throughout a movie, too fast for conscious perception. As a result, he claimed, sales of popcorn had risen 18.1% – and Coke by 57.7%. This, he declared, was “subliminal advertising”.
Vicary thought his fellow Americans would cheer this prospect – annoying cinema and TV ads could now be replaced with his imperceptible flashes. But on both sides of the Atlantic, his announcement sparked fear and outrage. “Welcome,” cried one American magazine, “to 1984.”
His story took a more serious blow when the manager of the cinema involved told Motion Picture Daily that the experiment had had no impact. In 1962, Vicary finally confessed that he hadn’t done enough research to go public and that he regretted the whole thing.
Read the full experiment here.
The Monkeys has been named Effective Agency of the Year at the 2020 Australian Effie Awards, scooping four Golds, two Silvers and one Bronze across three clients, Beam Suntory, NRMA Insurance and Telstra. One Gold was awarded to BMF for ALDI Australia for ‘ALDI Good Different’, which also went on to win the coveted Grand […]
Inner Health has revolutionised its famous blue bugs as part of a new brand platform launching this week. Developed by VMLY&R, the new platform ‘Listen to your Gut’ re-introduces the bugs in a whole new environment. VMLY&R Client Service Director Jo Millington said the new platform aimed to reposition Inner Health as an overall health […]
Insight-led communications consultancy, The Mint Partners has expanded its technology portfolio with the addition of luxury audio lifestyle brand Bang & Olufsen. Founded in 1925 in Struer, Denmark, Bang & Olufsen has pushed the boundaries of audio technology for almost a century. The company continues to be at the forefront of acoustic innovation with its […]
WA car and home insurer, RAC has launched a new campaign to show locals that they understand the priceless relationship members have with their belongings. Created by Wunderman Thompson Perth, the campaign titled ‘We See What You See’ uses computer generated imagery (CGI) to depict the unique relationship a family has with their insured items – […]
Paper Moose has created a campaign for the recently announced carbon-neutral telco brand, felix, due to go to market towards the end of the year. This is the first work from Paper Moose since winning a competitive pitch for the new TPG Telecom brand. The teaser campaign raises awareness of the nearly 1 million tonnes […]