Part of the controversy of subliminal advertising concerns the misuse of the word.
Privacy advocates have suggested that subliminal advertising is used in profiling consumers (Simpson 1999).
What Gary Gray (2000) notes about the Bush "RATS" ads is true of many so-called subliminal examples: "If you can see it, it does not qualify as subliminal .
Haberstroh also points out that self-improvement subliminal behaviour modification tapes have also been found in study after study to have no behavioral impact, and he dismisses "backmasking", in which messages are inserted backwards into records, as ineffectual, although his explanation here is thin.
Third, is what Haberstroh calls the "devil made me do it" theory or what I would call the failure to accept responsibility for our own actions: if we feel uncomfortable about our consumption of certain products (many so-called subliminal ads are for "sin" products such as liquor and cigarettes) or otherwise experience cognitive dissonance, it is much more comfortable to blame certain mysterious forces beyond our control rather than blaming ourselves.
While the author seems to be a bit filled with himself and his mission to expose Key, and although perhaps he exaggerates the gravity of this issue, the harm that the media hucksters are doing to the image of advertising and business via their reporting on subliminal advertising does merit intelligent response on the part of both advertising practitioners and educators (the book would make an interesting supplemental read in an introductory advertising course).
While there is no apparent reason to suspect the accuracy of the Haberstroh findings, these two limitations--the limited sample and the climate of the advertising industry in the mid 1980s--leave the study open to criticism by skeptics who choose to believe in the widespread use of subliminal advertising by advertisers.
The purpose of this research study was to determine whether advertising agencies, media production companies, or their clients in the United States have purposely and consciously developed and used subliminal advertising in order to elicit a predictable response from their target consumer.
If subliminal advertising is used, any or all of these individuals may be in a position to know about it, and the inclusion of these different groups has the effect of casting the widest net in order to maximize the opportunity for a positive response.
Para la opinion publica, sin embargo, la estimulacion subliminal no seria conocida hasta que empezo a aplicarse en el campo de la publicidad.
Pero la publicidad subliminal adquiriria verdadera relevancia publica de la mano de James Vicary, investigador de mercado que ha pasado a la historia como el precursor de esta practica gracias al experimento que llevo a cabo en 1957 en un cine de Nueva Jersey en el que intercalo mensajes subliminales como <<Beba Coca-Cola>> y <<Coma palomitas>> y que, segun afirmo, sirvieron para aumentar significativamente las ventas de ambos productos (9).
El interes por el tema fue decayendo en los anos sesenta, pero en la decada siguiente tres autores volvieron a poner de actualidad la publicidad subliminal.