Chapter 4. Pardon me, is that a breast in your Coke?

Most marketers lose sleep about creating messages that their customers will notice as they compete with all the other things vying for their limited attention. Ironically, a good number of consumers appear to believe that marketers design many advertising messages, so the consumers perceive them unconsciously, or below the threshold of recognition. Another word for threshold is limen (just remember “the secret of Sprite”), and we call stimuli that fall below the limen subliminal. Subliminal perception occurs when the stimulus is below the level of the consumer’s awareness.

Subliminal perception is a topic that has captivated the public for more than 50 years, despite the fact that there is virtually ...

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