Entries are presented in reverse chronological order following this notice
17th November, 2002. The full version of the Subliminalworld content will be transferred to a new host company shortly. In the meantime the content of the Full Version of the subliminalworld site has been slightly truncated and various components removed. This should not affect the vast majority of the site content. The principal exception relates to The Basic Version of the Subliminalworld which is not available at present.
14th September, 2002 A request was received on this date from the Institute of Practioners in Advertising (IPA) to amend one of the pages (IPA.htm) on this site as it was deemed to contain wording that implied that the site was the property of the IPA. The letter threatened legal action if the page was not amended. The content of the page was temporarily removed to check the content and its legal status and will be replaced shortly with additional content. This will include the text of the IPA letter and the author's response. The author's response is lengthy and the second half of the letter details some of the key issues raised by the use of secondary (semi-subliminal) imagery within adverts and asks the IPA for some pertinent information regarding IPA policies and actions regarding this form of advertising in recent years. Check it out sometime after the 22nd September, by which time the author's response will have been delivered to the IPA. Follow the sequel, should the IPA respond with more than platitudes and statements of good intent.
9th August, 2002. Details of a conference paper reporting an experiment focusing on extracts from subliminal ads is reported on subexpt.htm. Links are provided to the ads from which the extracts have been taken and illustrations of the ad extracts are also provided. This, to the best of the authors knowledge, is the first such study in recent years to actually focus on a number of real ads, rather than simulations. The only exception is the work of Ahmed Channouf and this focussed on one brand. Links have also been provided from the ads commented upon when these have been presented elsewhere to the experimental report.
Also added this month is some commentary on the Bush RATS advert and the film Fight Club on flickers.htm
9th September, 2001.
The Download page is now active and various items will appear over the next few months. These include a Subliminal message programme and a Screensaver. Other freebies and download versions of recommended software will be added in due course.
18th March, 2001. Links within pages to sites with complementary sources of information began to be established. Links to date include skeptical articles on the CSICOP web site, Disney subliminals, Astrological commentary, Visual perception, The Subliminal Web and others. New hit counters added.
20th March, 2001. Index List of Ads and Contents (Page) List updated.
14th March, 2001. The Contents Index was updated and extended to include pages under construction and those currently inactive and awaiting implementation. A Download Accelerator was added to all pages to speed up downloading and enhance viewing. A small selection of classic games and game clones, including Breakout, PacMan, and Space Invaders were added to provide a distraction from weightier viewing. Other changes include changes in page counter management, site search engine, and other services with a transfer of these from MyComputer.com to Bravenet.com when the former withdrew their free service. Additional Coca Cola company labels come under the spotlight.
16th February, 2001. Some additional material added to the What is Subliminal Page? on the subject of Meta-subliminal ads i.e. those which take a tongue-in-cheek, self reflexive, knowing look at subliminal advertising techniques. They parody what are deemed to be 'old fashioned' techniques but often also ad a twist that makes many such ads deceptive and manipulative.
13th February, 2001. Dr Pepper label added. Additional information provided about one Marlboro ad.
28th January, 2001. Modifications have been made to the Overview page and a new Utilities page added.
Status of this site in December, 2000
This site was developed between December,1998 and Nov, 2000. Although accessible since October, 1999, no promotion on major search engines commenced until late November, 2000. Explore, learn and enjoy - and raise the relevant ethical, commercial, legal and political issues as you perceive them in the relevant quarters.
Additions and amendments since the principal framework was completed in October, 2000 include Robbie Williams magazine cover, News clippings, correspondence pages focussing on correspondence with the Advertising Standards Authority and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, additions to What is and what isn't subliminal advertising, and quite a few more Spanish/Mexican ads. None of the additions however change the basic premise of the site, nor the conclusions of the author.
The conclusions drawn by the author are:
That subliminal advertising, as considered by the general public, is misnamed and should be called semi-subliminal or (in some respects) marginally perceptible advertising.
Semi-subliminal advertising is just as unacceptable as subliminal advertising is/would be.
Semi-subliminal advertising is relatively common but nowhere near as widely used as indicated in the books of Wilson Keys.
Semi-subliminal ads would seem to be commercially effective and capable of influencing a commercially significant proportion of the population. That such ads may be commercially effective does not necessarily indicate that a large number of individuals are influenced - in fact, the numbers involved may be a relatively small percentage of overall viewers. The conclusion that 'subliminal' ads are commercially effective is based on the long-term usage by major companies, in particular US tobacco companies. Such companies would be expected to evaluate the techniques that they and their advertising agencies make use of and would be unlikely to fund ads that were not effective. To conclude that 'subliminal' ads are influential runs contrary to virtually all social science and business studies research/articles on the subject. But such studies, as noted elsewhere, rarely focus on Advertising.
If marketing data indicates semi subliminal advertising is effective, this indicates that all consumption is not a matter of free choice. This would therefore raise major issues with regard to certain product ranges e.g. cigarettes and alcoholic drinks. If semi-subliminal advertising does influence the purchasing or consumption behaviour of anyone using these products then these individuals who are influenced would seemingly have a justifiable legal claim against the relevant ad agencies and their clients. Effective advertising using manipulative means that cannot be determined by the lay person would seem to raise issues regarding breach of trust, exploitation, and infringement of their rights as determined by relevant legal statutes.
Given that semi subliminal advertising relies upon basic associative conditioning, priming, cueing and reinforcement techniques, familiar to psychologists, such ads could easily be examined in experimental conditions. Additionally, it is notable that the use of embedded elements in ads tends to follow a fairly restricted set of rules. Again this means that the use of semi-subliminal techniques are ripe for experimental investigation by interested parties. Suggestions for experiments and other studies will be provided on the experiment page in due course, when time permits. The author and a colleague began some studies along these lines in 2001. The images and conclusions from the first of these studies can be found on the subexpt.htm page. The study noted that when viewers were not aware of any 'subliminal' elements in extracts from ads presented on the subliminalworld web site they were, nevertheless, influenced by the elements that they did not notice. This finding is in line with studies of subliminal perception, where individuals can be influenced by 'unseen' content.
Last Revised: 3rd January, 2003