Have you ever looked at the Amazon logo and thought it looked like a smile? A lot of us don’t really notice the arrow that stretches from A to Z. However, this arrow is not just randomly made, it is away showing that amazon sells everything from A to Z. Now, these subtle hints are subliminal messages.
Not a lot of people will notice it unless they sit and focus their complete attention. Therefore, It is very subtle and passes your mind without any second thought. In fact, it is exactly like the smart marketing plug-ins in movies. Small subtle things like an actor drinking a cola. The normal audience doesn’t take much notice of it. However, it may somehow impact the mind.
Subliminal messages are in fact banned in a lot of countries. People link its origin back to the words “Drink Coca-cola” being in a movie. It appeared for a short amount of time but may be enough to influence. However, these messages in advertisements have not proven so effective. Some people claim that it might make a little impact while some don’t. Sometimes, one doesn’t even realize if the message is inserted for a purpose or we simply overthink it.
In pochi punti:
What Are Subliminal Messages?
Subliminal messages are those messages which are so hidden that you may not take notice of them. However, this is a marketing technique used in advertising. The subliminal messages could be in the form of an image or a certain section of a video or text. You might wonder what’s the point of it though? The goal of these messages is to influence minds without making it very clear. A customer might end up thinking about something without even knowing how it began.
For instance, imagine sitting for a movie. An ad begins right before the movie starts. The ad is a simple fragrance ad which shows a couple sharing a RedBull. This entire ad is all about the fragrance. However, that two seconds of Redbull on-screen can impact some minds. It can make people crave a Redbull while watching the movie. Therefore, subliminal messages are really subtle. Their impact mostly depends on the viewers and their perceptions. Some part of your customer base may identify while some may clearly ignore it. This form of advertising is often seen as a grey area. People don’t enjoy manipulation.
The Importance and Benefits of Subliminal Messages in Advertising
Subliminal messages are not always noticeable. However, it has its own benefits. Some of those benefits are:
- Persuasive: These messages are persuasive. They have a certain effect on the mind that can make a customer want to buy it. Despite the mind’s exposure to the message being very short. A subliminal message can help increase sales.
- High brand recall: After seeing subliminal messages, a customer can actually remember the brand longer. It depends on how iconic and subtle your hint is. However, these messages do leave a lasting impression on the mind.
- Stimulates emotions: These messages are also good at stimulating emotions. Why would any company waste time add subtle hints? There has to be a reason behind doing so. The primary reason is this. These messages somehow are able to guide a buyer’s decision without actually making them realise it.
- Budget-friendly: Adding subtle hints doesn’t really cost much. On the other hand, if it is really helping engagement. Where’s the harm?
- Engaging: These small and subtle messages that run in ads are meant to engage people subconsciously. These ads use a variety of ways to keep that mind subconsciously thinking. It could be just letters or even shapes. These ads are extremely clever and cunning ads. It is not just ads which can be engaging, but logos too!
Pros and Cons
Subliminal messages come with both advantages and disadvantages. However, Their pros and cons are highly subjective. The advantages of subliminal messages are:
- Easy to process: These messages don’t dump a lot of information on their viewer. They are very subtle and short. This is the reason why they might have more impact than a long detailed advertisement. People who are able to recognise these hidden messages can actually remember a brand longer.
- Uses emotions: These messages tap into your customer’s emotions. They are meant to affect that aspect of your mind. Therefore, they resonate better too.
- Leaves an impact: These messages may actually leave a customer with a huge impact. For instance, now that you know about Amazon’s smile, you will remember it every time you look at the logo, right?
On the other hand, the disadvantages of subliminal messages are:
- Uncontrolled: you cannot control how who among your audience receives it. Your target audience may not even be able to perceive it like you want to.
- Open to misinterpretation: these hints are very open to being misunderstood. Therefore, they must be carefully crafted. Some people may actually think of a different meaning than intended. On the other hand, some may find meaning was not intended.
- Not directly persuasive: These messages do not directly persuade or convince any audience. They completely depend on your audience taking that hint. They also depend on your hint’s influence on the customer.
Top 3 Strategies to Create Subliminal Messages
Honestly, subliminal messages have a lot to do with creativity and what you wish to convey. However, there are some ways you can use it really well. Some of them are:
- Logo: Lots of companies find creative ways to make their logo do much more. It is actually best to use your logo. This is because this will remain constant throughout. The logo actually appears everywhere when it comes to branding. Be it your ads or even social media posts, a logo is a must. Therefore, a logo with a hidden subliminal message can work the best.
- Smart ad copy: As a company, your goal is to have more conversions. To do so, you must focus on using words or images that will most likely get you those numbers. For instance, when companies use offers to bring customers. Although these offers look very enticing, they really cost the customer the same. This is a tactic. Paying 899 is equal to paying 900. However, despite a customer knowing that the 899 feels good to pay.
- Communicate your brand value: Your subliminal message must be able to showcase your brand value. You cannot throw in hints without any purpose. Those subtle messages must have a purpose. They must somehow make the customer buy your product. Be it your use of colours or even certain audios. Nowadays, even sounds, especially sub-audible sounds can have a little influence on someone’s mind.
Top 5 Subliminal Messages Examples
Here are some examples of good subliminal messages:
This tortilla chip brand’s logo is pretty famous. However, it took some time before people noticed two people in its logo holding chips and sharing a salsa. The two t’s in the Centre are the people while the dot of the i is the salsa. This not only makes the logo look very interesting but also adds to the feel of the brand in general.
Have you ever noticed the FedEx logo clearly? It still doesn’t look any different right? The logo looks very normal to the naked eye. However, the FedEx logo has an arrow within it. That arrow is formed by the whitespace in between E and X. It obviously shows FedEx’s high speed.
- Baskin Robbins
Ever wondered why are just two parts of two alphabets in a different colour? Well, don’t they look like number 31! This is because Baskin Robbin houses 31 flavours of ice cream. The pink and blue also go with the entire look and feel of the brand.
- The SFX magazine
This sci-fi magazine tries to play it smart when featuring women on its cover. They cover the F part of their logo with the illustration making it seem like an E. Although the logo is still the same. However, many would immediately perceive it as the word “SEX.”
Everyone knows this famous chocolate brand. However, how many of us actually know the different elements in its logo? People often think the logo has a mountain in it. Yes, it does. Although, if you look clearly, it also has a bear. The bear signifies its origin town – Berna.
All in all, this form of advertising feels baseless. However, it can prove really impactful if played well. This form of messaging is also heavily dependent on its audience. If your audio is able to take notice of those subtle cues, it becomes perfect. However, complete ignorance from the audience’s end can result in a total flop. It is also very difficult to determine the impact of such advertising. This is due to how subjective it is.
One cannot really objectively know if there has been any effect on a customer. For instance, how would you know if seeing the logo of Tostitos actually made you crave chips with some salsa? It’s all a mind game.
Do you know of any such subliminal messages in ads? Do you think they really have an impact? Let us know in the comments section below.