posted on Dec, 12 2005 @ 03:23 PM
Driving down the highway, walking through any major population hub, you see them. Billboards, posters, magazines, t-shirts, all medium on which our
language is printed, all prominantly displayed to get your attention. The coporate ad mongers call our excessive use of advertising "clutter",
it's this clutter that they seek to break through, each product fighting for your attention. This is a theory I've been mulling over in my head,
that printed words, such as those on a billboard, are in fact subliminal messages.
The classic image of a subliminal message is a few frames of video or film in which a message is displayed. The classic example is that of the
concession stand advertising hidden in movies. However, we as humans are trained to recognise order amid disorder. We can pick out our friend's
faces from a crowd of strangers, we can recognise our familiy's voices in a noisy room. These recognitions are so instantanous that we hardly notice
them happening yet they are a complex subconscious equation that, mrore often than not, illicits some form of conscious reaction.
One day I found myself walking through the streets of Manhatten when I noticed that my eyes would naturally gravitate to the words on awnings, posters
and people's clothing. I also noticed that I need only look at the poster for a split second before I comprehended, and formulated a reaction to,
whatever words were displayed. It was then that I realized that the enitre process had been subconcious, despite whatever conscious reaction they may
This may not seem like a very though provoking theory until you take into account the massive amount of printed words you see in your everyday life.
When I speak of printed words I don't mean a newspaper or book you may be reading since reading is an active conscious action. As far as I can tell
my theory only holds to a small amount of words, maybe one to three words, that your subconcious can process like an image. When these words are
placed over a picture, take for example a sexy, half naked model, we are more inclined to process the slogan because the words have become part of the
over all picture.
Take this for example, you find yourself in a major city, standing on the corner waiting for the Don't Walk sign to change in your favor. The light
changes and you step into the street, you look to your right to check for on coming traffic. In that one second you turned your head you saw three or
four billboards and posters. Even though you may not have thought about them your subconcious mind has already processed them. The speed with which
you turned your head created a subliminal message by displaying the slogan for a split second. This is almost how speed reading works, by training
yourself to look at the words on the page and allow your subconcious brain to process them you retain the general idea but lose the specifics. In
this example it would be akin to forgetting the color of the model's hair but still remembering what company the ad was for. Coincidentally this is
known as "product recognition" by the ad agencies.
Granted, my theory is anything but scientific but I do believe it's sound and holds true at least for myself. I'm still unsure of the
implications, I suppose there is fairly little harm in someone shopping at the Gap and not knowing why. Unless you value your control over your own
mental faculty. Regardless of how you react to the message, someone else has caused you to think somthing, in many cases, whitout you realizing it.
That is the deffinition of a subliminal message.
Well, that's one of many theories that spill from my over-active brain, I'd love to hear what others think of my theory.