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Subliminal Advertising: Forbidden Tricks to Sell

Updated on May 25, 2019
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A reader, researcher, and writer on human psychology and social behaviors

Subliminal Advertising
Subliminal Advertising

Subliminal Advertising

Subliminal advertising is a well-kept secret in the business world. For a long time, since the invention of television, corporations have been able to make people want to buy their products. The media has created a very powerful and subtle form of mind control over citizens. Most people fail to realize just how much they are controlled by the media and subliminal advertising. In today’s largely digital and globalized world, companies have even more advertising clout and more ability to reach millions of customers. Why should other companies have all of this power to themselves? Now it’s time for you to learn the secrets of subliminal advertising for yourself. You can win lots of customers and clients using subliminal psychology. Watch your sales skyrocket as you bite into the pie that other corporations have been hogging to themselves for generations. Whether you are running your own business, trying to make sales for a multi-level marketing company, or working in sales for a larger corporation, you can use these subliminal secrets to get customers to literally line up for your product.

What People Really Want

Before we dive in, you must understand what the key to good advertising is. Good advertising, subliminal advertising, makes someone want a product by promising that this product will deliver what they really want. Most people want one of three things: to be more attractive to a romantic partner, to satisfy a basic need, or to be better than someone else. Essentially, people want food, sex, health, money, and power. They want to beat their friends and neighbors and they want to get laid. Products have to provide one of these things to make people interested.

So to be successful at sales, you want to make sure that your advertising (Subliminal Advertising) hints at one of these things. It needs to suggest that people will beat their competitors; in other words, it needs to show that this product will make their house, car, children, or body better than everyone else’s. It needs to make someone feel like they will become more attractive somehow or that their lives will become envy-worthy.

For an example of this in action, take a look at liquor ads. They portray attractive people acting classy and having fun while looking sexy, suave, and cool. This makes others want to emulate the models in the ads, so they buy that brand of alcohol. They secretly hope to be as alluring to others as the models in the ad and they subconsciously associate that brand of liquor with the irresistible appearance they hope to have at parties.

Or look at ads for cleaning products. They show women with immaculate houses, smiling casually when their kids make a mess. They clean up the mess without any stress and then they are happy because their houses look like showcases and not real homes. Housewives see that and want their homes to look like that, so they think buying the product will help them achieve that level of cleanliness.

Car commercials show a manly macho man working on his car himself. His car looks pristine and powerful. Men want to buy the product to show off their vehicles and achieve that level of manliness and mechanical efficiency. Even commercials for products like oil use this subliminal imagery to make ordinary people feel like mechanic gods.

Keep in mind that people consciously know their lives will not mimic the commercials. But the commercials work subliminally, not rationally. They create positive associations between a product and a result. By showing an image of attractiveness or perfection, they make people subconsciously feel that they can achieve that perfect image themselves. They make people feel that they can be more attractive and beat the competition. Even if someone knows that they can’t really match the perfect image of a commercial, his or her subconscious mind likes the association made and drives someone to buy the product without question and that is Subliminal Advertising.

Appealing Colors and Designs

Certain colors and designs have an effect on people’s subconscious minds. This is why companies will design their logos or use certain colors and designs in their commercials. Consumer preference is a well-studied science that you should learn about if you are involved in sales at all. You will find that colors and designs have a huge impact on how people perceive your company and your product. You can boost sales simply by tweaking your website layout and logo. These tweaks are subliminal because people do not know why they find certain ads, logos, or websites appealing – they just do.

Let’s look at some of the secrets to subliminally appealing consumer color and design preference to explain Subliminal Advertising more explicitly:

  • Red is the color of power. Both sexes find it very appealing. Using red suggests power and makes people notice. Red can be used for excitement, or for sexuality. It is a bold color that stands out and grabs people’s attention.
  • Blue suggests professionalism and reliability. You will appear like a solid, trustworthy brand if you use blue. Blue is a great color for a website offering a professional service. Accents of gray or black can lend blue more power and give your ad a steely, strong aura. Light blues tend to appeal to people more than dark blues, possibly because it is less depressing and more empowering. Nevertheless, dark blue is a great power color and you might consider wearing it during a sales pitch or presentation.
  • Yellow is another power color that is very appealing to people seeking warmth. Use yellow to convey confidence and excitement. Use it minimally, however. Some people find yellow quite unattractive. Try applying pops of yellow or add it as an accent color to your ad. Smiley faces and sunshine can really help you boost your appeal to people who are looking for cheer and good vibes, but it can also demote your seriousness so avoid it in serious ads or professional service ads.
  • Green is ideal if you are trying to appeal to people who want to help the environment. It is great to use with food, health products, or other items that people want to be healthful. However, you also can use dark green to suggest wealth and put money on people’s minds. Green in relation to monetary services or financial services can make people think “Money, money, money!”
  • Purple is a great marketing color because of its subconscious connotation of regality and royalty. People like purple; they feel it is a strong color, the color a king or queen would wear. Putting purple in your ad can make your customers feel both powerful and attractive. It is an attractive accent color but also an excellent choice as the main color.
  • To really make people think of wealth and regality, use gold. Gold is a power color that really pops and appeals to people. People love gold packaging and gold cards and gold ads. Gold paired with purple creates a special allure. The two colors combine to inject the idea that this product or service will make someone feel like royalty. People searching for power will love this combination of colors.
  • Orange is not a color you see that often in advertising. You can really make use of orange to impart the idea that you have energy, cheer, and creative spunk. People will think, “Oh, this is different!” It will certainly grab their attention. However, it is not the most serious color, so avoid using it when you want to convey a serious tone in your ad’s message.
  • Try using brown for serious and calming ads. People find brown to be quite soothing and earthy, which certainly can relax customers. Use it for ads when you want to convince people that something will solve a problem or lend relaxation to their lives. It is also a great color to wear during presentations because it is both professional and calming.
  • Black is always a wonderful color for professionalism and power. But beware of overusing it. Too much black can be dark, threatening, and even forbidding. A bit of black can lend elegance and seriousness to your ad. Keep black to a safe minimum and use it to draw attention to your ad through accent bars.

The best thing you can do is find a color that stands out, matches your service or product, and is clear and easy to see on the ad. Before you simply select a color based on the advice above, ask yourself, “Does this color suit what I am trying to sell?” Selling a kid’s toy but making the packaging and advertising gold and black will not send the right message. People will get confused and skip over the product. So make sure you pick a color that fits the product or service you are selling and it stands out boldly.

So we covered colors. But what about designs? When it comes to design, people tend to prefer crisp, clear designs that stand out. Designing a logo that is geometric makes you look very serious and professional. It lends you credibility. If you want to use things like figures of people in your logo or web design, avoid cartoons. People tend to prefer more realistic and real-life images. Consider using real models or realistic drawings to make people feel more of a connection with your ad. Cartoons or unrealistic-looking art is known to turn people off.

The font you use on your subliminal advertising or presentation can make a huge difference in how people perceive you. Fonts like Comic Sans make you look less serious and can be great for fun products, toys, or crafting products. Get creative and weird with your fonts if you want to convey creativity, using things like Rosemary. A crisp font like Times New Roman or Georgia is ideal for conveying more serious tones and should be used for serious presentations. Bold will make people think that a message is important, so they will pay more attention to it. Italics can draw someone’s attention, but overusing italics can turn people off and annoy them.

Keeping your print limited to short blocks or clear sentence fragments will nab people’s attention. This is the secret behind copywriting: sharp, concise, attention-grabbing. No one wants to stand there reading blocks of dense text or confusing messages. They will lose interest in mere microseconds and completely skip over your ad or presentation. People feel overwhelmed very quickly in today’s busy world, so keeping words to a minimum makes people feel like they can handle the message your ad is trying to communicate, and thus the ad will hold their attention.

Clutter in ads can also make people feel iffy about the product. Your ad or presentation should always have minimal images and words. It should stand out with its simplicity and clarity. Making something intricate can seem cool…until you realize that people lose patience trying to make sense of the ad and skip over it without a second thought. A single picture and sentence or sentence fragment are usually ideal. Keep the clutter on a website to a minimum too and keep buttons in clear spots where people can easily see them and access them.

Subliminal Advertising: Appealing Colors
Subliminal Advertising: Appealing Colors


Showing that everyone else wants something is a good way to drive people to buy it. So if you show that something is a hot trend, you will encourage customers to want to buy it so that they are not left out. Using images of lots of happy people using your product or showing soaring market trends and positively skewed statistics are great ways to encourage others to buy your product. People operate on a herd mentality and they subconsciously want things that other people have. So if something is a hot trend, they will want to buy into it just to fit in with the herd.

Another twist to this is using an expert’s opinion. People love being told what to do and they love listening to authority figures. The best authority could be someone with a fancy title. Most people will not ignore the advice of an “expert.” They hear a title like a doctor or a scientist and they listen up. Without even questioning the source’s real authority, most people will listen to and even obey anyone who sounds like a true authority by title. So say you are selling a mattress. You can get some sort of doctor to endorse it. No one will bother to look up this doctor to see if he is a sleep specialist.

If you can get reviews or testimonials of real people, customers can relate to that. You would be surprised how people don’t even look into these testimonials or see if the testimonials are written by real users of the product. Just seeing a number of five-star reviews make people have more trust in the product; they will not ask too many questions. Customers feel that they can relate to real people just like them, which makes them trust in the product more when real people review it. This is why some companies will pay people to write fake reviews on their products on marketplaces like Amazon. These reviews are not verified but customers will still trust them. Seeing a large number of reviews and a high overall star rating is often enough to get them to buy the product. They may simply skim the reviews for positive words but they will not actually read them in depth; they will buy the product if they see a large number of positive terms included in the reviews that they skim.

Subliminal Advertising: Trends
Subliminal Advertising: Trends

Induce Urgency

“Act now before supplies run out!” “Hurry, sale ends soon.” You are familiar with these words already. And they work because they induce urgency. Giving someone the idea that a product or service is in limited supply drives them to make an impulse purchase. People hate being hurried. They also hate missing out. So when you hurry someone, you make them feel uncomfortable. They want to get out of the pressure. But they also feel that they might miss out soon if they do not jump on the purchase straight away. So you want to induce urgency to get people to feel that they must buy something before they miss out.

Subliminal Advertising: Induce Urgency
Subliminal Advertising: Induce Urgency

Consistency and Commitment

People love to be consistent. So if they are already committed to a cause or a brand, they will likely stay loyal to it. You want to play on this by offering them something similar to what they already have. Show them how they will get the same benefits and then some by switching to your brand. Or show them how they will get the same results and be supporting the same causes that they normally do by giving you their money. Offering some idea that they are going to get a dose of what they are used to will appeal to people.

Remember that people are often leery of change. They hate the unknown and the unexpected. So let them feel that things are going to stay similar to what they are used to. Having some images of a home environment might enhance your ad’s sense of familiarity and inject the idea into people’s minds that they will be getting something warm and familiar with your product.

Subliminal Advertising: Consistency and Commitment
Subliminal Advertising: Consistency and Commitment

Flashing Visuals

Flashing a visual in front of someone is the surest way to put an idea into his or her mind. Now flashing images on TV is now illegal. You cannot flash a picture of a Big Mac, for example. This type of subliminal advertising has been made illegal. But there is a loophole: What if you flash an image that is only related to your product in front of someone? Instead of flashing the actual image, you should flash something that makes people think of your product. For example, to sell food, flash an image of a hungry person. Then cut to your advertisement about food. Or to make people want to buy a self-protection device, flash an image of violence or a home invasion.

Playing on the sensations of fear, sex drive, or hunger are great ways to make people want something. These three sensations are powerful ones that people often cannot ignore. If you flash an image before someone that makes him or her horny, scared, or hungry, he or she will likely want to act on that. So flashing an image of an excited female orgasm face can put people in the mood to want sex. Or flashing the image of a pizza can make people suddenly hungry. Then when you reveal a product that will satisfy whatever urge you put in their mind with the subliminal image, they will think, “I want that. I don’t know why, but I feel I need that right now.” They will associate your product with their urge of wanting something like food or sex, and they will subconsciously think that buying your product will help them get what they want.

This principle is why some advertisers will sneak phallic symbols or other hidden symbols into their visual ads. Some people claim that Starbucks does this by putting a nude mermaid in their logo. You can use these subliminal visuals in logos, advertisements, or client presentations. Remember that subliminal psychology works on the subconscious mind, so an image does not have to be obvious or clearly visible in order to work.

This does not exclusively work with visuals. Scents are incredibly powerful too. Waving a scent around someone can make someone desire something. This is why realtors will often make a house they are selling smell like baking cookies. This scent makes the potential home buyers hungry and inspires them to want. It also makes home buyers think of home and baking, which makes them associate this house with that cozy act of baking cookies for the family on a cool winter afternoon.

An auditory stimulus can also work. Playing a sound that triggers a desire in someone is also effective. Putting subliminal auditory stimulus in your presentations or ads can invoke desire in somebody with incredible effectiveness. The more subtle the sound, the more it will work on someone’s subconscious.

Subliminal Advertising: Flashing Visuals
Subliminal Advertising: Flashing Visuals

Second Part of Article

This article consists of a series of parts next parts shall be published soon.


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