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Are Subliminal Messages Humanely Ethical?

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For many years the subject of subliminal messages has been a matter of excessive controversy. For who would want their son or daughter to be manipulated into buying an offensive “toy” or be unconsciously conditioned into becoming sexually active? Subliminal messages have always been used by advertisers, for various reasons, to increase their sales and profit, or to imprint an idea into the minds of people, or to manipulate elections, or even push people into hating different races. Subliminal messages, in its essence, are meant to subconsciously plant an idea into your head, using either flashing images or constantly feeding images through innocent means like in your everyday magazine or newspaper or even your social media. Other methods include using an emotional stimulus by targeting the areas in which humans are more susceptible, like lust, fear, and joy. Of course another method is using simple targeting words that are specifically chosen to implant the idea, or product, or emotion into the consumers’ mind. However; is all that necessarily ethical, using subliminal messages as a means to manipulate the peoples’ minds, can advertisers rely on subliminally induced messages to convey their next product or to introduce the “next big thing”. That is the question.

At the movies, people generally buy soft drinks and popcorn during the intermission. The reason could be that subliminal messages had a play in this; in 1957 market specialist James Vicary conducted a daring test, and in one of the premiere films being presented Vicary placed flashing images of soft drinks and popcorn during the film. Rightly so, popcorn and soft drinks sales had an increase in that specific evening, as soon as word got out about this experiment people ...

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... rocketed all that was due to their slogan in the commercial. The slogan was "If you're too cheap to buy our milk, your child will die a horrible death." By scaring parents into believing that if they do not buy their chemical free milk and choose to buy another brand of chemically infested milk their children will die a horrible death.

Works cited

Motluk, Alison. "The Ads You Miss Will Still Get To You." New Scientist 190.2549 (2006): 16. Academic Search Complete. Web. 24 May 2014.

Ornes, Stephen. "Whatever Happened To … Subliminal Advertising?." Discover 29.2 (2008): 12. Academic Search Complete. Web. 24 May 2014.

von Hoffman, Constantine. "Ads Milk The Guilt Factor." Brandweek 47.40 (2006): 32. Academic Search Complete. Web. 24 May 2014.

Kiesel, Diane. "Subliminal Seduction." ABA Journal 70.7 (1984): 25. Academic Search Complete. Web. 24 May 2014.
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