Monday, 12 May 2008

McDonald's and Subliminal Advertising? Surely Not! You be the Judge

Last year McDonald's was accused of using subliminal advertising in one of the Food Network's most popular programs - Iron Chef.

The Food Network said it was a mistake and McDonald's, one of the sponsors of the program, said that it does not use subliminal advertising. You be the judge. Watch the YouTube video below.

McDonald's and Subliminal Advertising?

Click the link above if you cannot see YouTube video.

Now, just what are subliminal messages and why would an advertiser want to use them in the first place.

The word subliminal is derived from two Latin words - "sub" meaning under and "limen" meaning threshold. Hence subliminal literally means "below threshold" and subliminal messages are messages which are below the threshold of consciousness.

Subliminal messages are programmed or engineered in such a way as to by-pass your analytical, decision-making conscious mind. They directly target your more easily influenced and receptive sub-conscious mind.

Now, don't think for a minute that because the sub-conscious mind is easily influenced that it is weak - quite the opposite. It is all-powerful and it drives everything we do. Are you beginning to see the importance and potential impact of subliminal messages?

The use of subliminal messages was actually banned by the US Government in the 70s because of reports that they gave "individuals too much of an edge".

Subliminal messages can be in video or audio form. An image flashed on a screen for a fraction of a second will not be interpreted by the conscious mind but the sub-conscious mind processes millions of bits of data each second and the information contained within that quick flash is interpreted and recorded. This process repeated over time, even a short period of time can lead to behavioural changes as the following example illustrates.

Dr James Vicary conducted an experiment in a cinema. It involved flashing "I want popcorn" and "Drink more coke" on a movie screen for just 100-milliseconds.

No one in the movie audience consciously saw the messages but popcorn sales went up by 57.8% and coke sales increased by 18.1%. How do you like dem numbers?

We all use persuasion techniques. It's necessary for our personal and professional survival there is a difference between persuasion and manipulation as Persuasion Expert, Dave Lakhani, points out:

"There's only one true difference between true persuasion and manipulation…it's intent. If your intent is to harm someone, if your intent is inwardly focused and you only want to do something for your own personal gain regardless of the outcome for other people, regardless of what happens to other people then, you're being manipulative.

"If, on the other hand, you help lead people to their very own best conclusion using honour, integrity, ethically and appropriately leading them that way, then they persuade themselves. You don't have to use the puppy dog close, the sharp angled close or anything else. You help people through their experience with you to come to their very own best conclusion"

I use subliminal messages all the time to enhance my own personal development. I also create customised subliminal MP3s and CDs for my coaching clients.

I'm all for the use of subliminal messages when they are used for good and when they are used with an individual's consent. But I'm against the use of subliminal messages to manipulate another individual to do what you want.

Millions probably saw the Food Network show with this particular ad but very few were probably consciously aware that they saw the ad. And, of those that did literally see red, few were probably actually aware of its true significance.

Thanks to Dave Lakhani who drew my attention to this unethical use of subliminal programming. He has just published a new book called
Subliminal Persuasion: Influence & Marketing Secrets They Don't Want You To Know.

I haven't read the book yet and so cannot review it but I can say this. I regularly listen to Dave's teleseminars and interviews because they have such great content. Dave is extremely articulate and knowledgeable. I therefore have no qualms about recommending his book because I am confident that it will be a great read.

He is offering some very targeted bonuses for purchasing this book including a private teleseminar where he will reveal the latest subliminal persuasion techniques. You can discover more by reading his Subliminal Persuasion Blog.

So once you get the book forward a copy of your receipt to and you'll receive instructions for the teleseminar. If you've ALREADY purchased the book, and don't have your receipt just send an email that includes the first word on page 114 of the book.

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