Advertising claims to enhance our choice, but it offers us little choice about whether we see and hear it, and ever less choice about whether we respond to it. Since Edward Bernays began to apply the findings of his uncle Sigmund Freud, advertisers have been developing sophisticated means of overcoming our defences. In public they insist that if we become informed consumers and school our children in media literacy we have nothing to fear from their attempts at persuasion. In private they employ neurobiologists to find ingenious methods of bypassing the conscious mind.
The notion that subliminal directives can influence motives or actions is contradicted by a large body of research evidence and is incompatible with theoretical conceptions of perception and motivation
Conducted a meta-analysis to demonstrate the ineffectiveness of subliminal advertising in influencing the consumer's decision between alternatives. A review of narrative reviews is provided to illustrate that sample size and effect size are seldom used as the basis for evaluating whether subliminal marketing stimuli are an effective means for influencing consumer choice behavior. The results of the meta-analysis of 23 studies indicate that there is very little effect.
The first time we see an advertisement, we are likely to be aware of what it's telling us and what it is encouraging us to buy. From then on, we process it passively, absorbing its imagery and messages without contesting them, as we are no longer fully switched on. Brands and memes then become linked in ways our conscious minds fail to detect.
People who watch a lot of advertisements appear to save less, spend more and use more of their time working to meet their rising material aspirations. All three outcomes can have terrible impacts on family life. They also change the character of the nation. Burdened by debt, without savings, we are less free, less resilient, less able to stand up to those who bully us.