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Volume 4 Issue 2 (Summer 1987), Pages fmi-fmi, iii-iii, 93-165

Why marketing should quit giving subliminal advertising the benefit of the doubt (pages 107-120)


The popular belief in subliminal advertising has remained robust in spite of the fact that advertising professionals almost universally discount it as a practical technique. The current psychological theories of Silverman [Silverman, L. H. (1976). Psychoanalytic theory: The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated. American Psychologist, 31 (Sept.), 621–637] and his colleagues provide a conceptual basis for how changes in behavior might result from subliminal stimulation. However, the theory specifies stimulus conditions which make it highly unlikely that successful use of subliminal messages could be achieved in a promotional context. In light of Silverman's theories, even two recent demonstrations of subliminal effects in the advertising literature fail to enhance the credibility of subliminal advertising as a professional tool.

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