Subconscious Advertising: What Role Does Medium Play?

Although some may deny it the society we live in today is dominated by a very consumer based culture.  So much of what people see, hear and talk about consumer goods, everything from the newest snack food to hottest new car to sickest new pair of Nike shoes.  The medium that plays the biggest role in this consumer based society is advertisement.  Advertisement itself is not an incredibly new concept, people have been advertising the goods and services for quite some time now.  However advertisement used to be a very small slightly insignificant medium such as verbal advertising, billboards, and newspaper/magazine ads.  These mediums reach many people but nothing compared to the advertising mediums of today’s society.  In Marshall Mcluhan’s, The Medium Is The Message, one of the main points made is that the way information is portrayed is just as important if not more important than the actual content of the information itself.  I can’t hardly think of a technology that focuses on this ideal of the importance of the medium itself than modern day advertisement.  Today ads are everywhere we look, there are constant commercials on every television and radio station worldwide, every website anywhere on the internet has some form of advertisement, there is even ads on cars, trains, planes and busses.  This constant exposure to ads of such a variety of mediums raises questions such as, Are certain forms of ads more efficient than others?  Would more people call a number heard on a radio ad or click on a link in an online ad for the same product?

“Americans born since World War II have grown up in a media-saturated environment. From childhood, we have developed a sort of advertising literacy, which combines appreciation for technique with skepticism about motives. We respond to ads with at least as much rhetorical intelligence as we apply to any other form of persuasion.”(1)  Marketing and advertisement has become an entire field of study in today’s society devoted to answering questions like the ones above.  Almost every company now has some sort of a marketing team devoted to nothing but researching new ways to promote and advertise for the company.  Marketing teams put a lot of time, thought, and research into the little details such as color scheme, sounds, fonts and other things that some people would argue have nothing to do with the product/service the ad is representing.  The small things like color and font may not change the product itself but they may convey a certain subconscious emotional response in the consumer causing their perspective of the content of the ad to change.



8 thoughts on “Subconscious Advertising: What Role Does Medium Play?”

  1. I never looked at advertisements in particular as a medium of message but I completely agree that they are a daily norm for many people and that they do portray a certain message unlike other forms of media. An advertisement is something people will glance at when walking down the street or on an internet page, which means it must quickly give a memorable message compared to a book, where someone will read it for hours to get the message out of it.


    1. I think the psychology behind advertising is very interesting and agree that how a product is portrayed is just as important as the product itself. It feels like now, advertisements don’t even “advertise” the qualities or features of a product, but attempt to create a pleasing persona through humor, fantasy enactments, etc. Seems like creating that persona is just as, if not more important than just showing the product itself.


  2. I definitely think advertisements are huge in today’s world. You really can’t go anywhere or listen to the radio or anything without hearing an advertisement, and most of the time they’re really annoying and repetitive. I thought it was interesting how you brought up everything that goes into an ad like the small sounds in the background. That’s definitely something that is overlooked in an ad, but I also think those sounds make the ad more realistic at times and necessary.


  3. I found it very interesting how you mentioned that the subtle aspects of an advertisement can affect how we react to that advertisement. It is strange to think about how much money is spent on things that don’t actually impact the quality or usefulness of the object being advertised. Yet those small aspects still make such a large impact on the consumers.


  4. Great post on analyzing advertisements . I agree society is extremely saturated with advertisements from a daily basis. From watching YouTube videos , browsing websites, and just recently how we love watching the super bowl advertisements.All these ads definitely will have to lead in a some type of subconscious change. It’s a great post on a relevant medium of information an ad has.


  5. I agree, advertisement has become a huge element of today’s society. The incredible part of it is how the publicity companies have advertising down to a science. There is a great book called “Predictably Irrational” by Dan Ariely, which explains a lot of techniques used in marketing to implicitly make us choose the option they wanted us to choose.


  6. I agree. our consumer-based society has become so saturated with advertising. It’s almost not enough to simply advertise about what the product offers anymore. So many commercials subliminally promise a “better life” with the use of a product. Like in the axe body spray commercials, subliminally saying that wearing axe will make you more attractive. This was an incredibly successful advertising campaign simply through its subliminal message. Your blog communicates this well. Very good job.


  7. I think it was very smart to talk about advertisement as a whole! It is a topic that most people, including myself, break down into subcategories and do not explore at the broad sense.


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