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The Ultimate Guide to Subliminal Marketing

Subliminal marketing has been around for a long time. But what does it really mean, and what strategies are used for effective subliminal marketing? In this blog post, we take a close look at it all.   

What is Subliminal Marketing?  

Subliminal marketing is a form of advertising that uses hidden or suggestive messaging to influence people’s behaviour without them even realizing it. It’s a powerful tool that can be used to tap into people’s subconscious desires and drive them to take specific actions, such as buying a product or service.  

Now, let’s take a look at some of the key strategies used in subliminal marketing:  

Key Strategies Used in Subliminal Marketing  

Here are some key strategies used by marketers to send messages to the subconscious mind of their target audience:  

Hidden Messages   

One of the most common tactics used in subliminal marketing is the use of hidden messages. These messages are often embedded in images or sounds that are presented to the viewer or listener at a level below their conscious awareness. For example, a fast food chain might use the letters “B” and “Q” in their advertising to subconsciously suggest barbecue.  However, this could be considered unethical and even illegal in different countries. 

Colour Psychology  

Another important aspect of subliminal marketing is the use of colour psychology. Different colours have been shown to have different effects on people’s emotions and behaviour, and savvy marketers use this knowledge to their advantage. For example, red is often associated with passion and excitement, while blue is associated with trust and reliability.  

Music and Sound Effects  

 Music and sound effects can also be used to influence people’s behaviour in subliminal marketing. For example, a car company might use the sound of a revving engine in their advertising to subconsciously suggest speed and power.  


Repetition is a powerful tool in subliminal marketing. By repeating a message or image over and over again, marketers can increase the likelihood that it will be stored in people’s subconscious minds and influence their behaviour. For example, a soft drink company might use a catchy jingle in their advertising to make their brand stick in people’s minds.  

Real-World Examples of Subliminal Marketing:  

Here are some examples of real brands that use subliminal marketing in different ways:  


Coca-Cola is a master of subliminal marketing. Their iconic red and white branding is instantly recognizable around the world, and their advertising campaigns often use subtle cues to suggest happiness, friendship, and togetherness.  


Marlboro is another brand that has used subliminal marketing to great effect. In their advertising campaigns, they use rugged images of cowboys and open spaces to suggest a sense of freedom and adventure. The brand has become so strongly associated with this image that it’s often referred to as the “Marlboro Man.”  


McDonald’s is another brand that uses subliminal messaging. Their iconic golden arches are instantly recognizable around the world, and their advertising campaigns often use bright colours and upbeat music to suggest happiness and fun.   

Controversial Use of Subliminal Marketing  

The use of subliminal marketing is a controversial issue, and there are legal restrictions in some countries that limit its use, especially when it comes to flashing messages on screens. In the United States, for example, the use of subliminal advertising is not illegal, but it is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC requires that broadcasters disclose the use of subliminal techniques in their programming and advertising.  

Additionally, the use of subliminal advertising in the United Kingdom is prohibited by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) Code, which states that advertising must not use techniques that exploit consumers’ subconscious minds. It’s important for marketers to be aware of the legal restrictions in their countries and to ensure that their advertising campaigns comply with local regulations. Failure to do so can result in fines and other legal penalties.  

While there are no such laws specifically for social media, such techniques do go against the policies of different social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook.   

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