Advertising Ethics: Subliminal Advertising
Subliminal advertising has been a much-debated topic when discussing the ethics behind the underlying effect advertising. This concept is based on the notion that a viewer of an advertisement can be manipulated by being exposed to messages and pictures in such a way that he or she is not even aware of them. In many instances, subliminal messages are known for being displayed over a short period of time that the conscious mind does not register it; the subconscious mind however does. (Course notes, 8). Subliminal advertising is a crafty theory because it prevents the conscious mind from building any arguments of its own against the message, and allows viewers to be more susceptible to following their subconscious intuition which has, unknowingly, been shaped by the advertisement. Subliminal advertising, when misused, is the unethical behaviour behind the exterior mind control that works below the threshold of human awareness.
What first needs to be asked is whether it is even possible that content messages can influence a person’s behaviour. If this were not the case, advertising would be an irrelevant concept as it would not matter what types of content or messages are relayed to people, as they simply would not buy into it. In any case, the advertising industry has been more than willing to put forth millions of dollars to discover whether or not this really is the case and if so, through what means is the message most likely to hit home and persuade the viewer to go out and buy their product. Subliminal advertising is one of many advertising techniques, however its main point of difference lies in the inability to pin point it directly. Advertisers who have decided to take the subliminal path have gone as far as embedding sexual imagery in advertisements, briefly flashing messages during films and sending out messages that are hardly heard in the background of popular music.
In The Ethics of Subliminal...