Risks of Subliminal Messages


Subliminal messages are a marketing ploy used by companies in hopes to invoke consumers to purchase their products. Subliminal messages are found in the form of pictures and audio on billboards, newspaper and magazine ads, television and radio commercials, and in movies.


The purpose of subliminal messages is to hide images in ordinary advertising in hopes of reaching the subconscious mind and influencing consumers to purchase products.


There are two types of subliminal messages: direct and indirect messages. Direct messages have the intention to promote sales of the product advertised, while an indirect message is used in hopes of inspiring consumers to purchase other products offered by the same company.

Direct Examples

One KFC snacker commercial provides a subliminal message of a dollar bill hidden in the lettuce of a screen shot showing the sandwich. Coincidentally, one dollar is the advertised price of the snacker.

Indirect Example

An example of indirect subliminal messages involves sexual images that present in Disney movies. The suspected purpose of these messages is to promote the purchase of pornography.


A company takes a risk in using subliminal messages because there is no guarantee subliminal messages work.

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