6 Ads with Subliminal Messages That Might Surprise You

Surprising Subliminal Messages

Ads with Subliminal Messages

Since a very long time, advertising has been using subliminal messages to engage its viewers. Many times the hidden messages advertisers use are hidden in plain sight but people still fail to interpret or see them. Finding hidden messages in a well-known advertisement makes people interested in the product more and also, therefore, makes an ad successful. You might have missed out some brilliant ads which have some hidden messages but don’t worry; we have six ads with subliminal messages.

1. Pepsi v/s Coca-Cola

To keep up with the spirit of Halloween, Pepsi took a jibe at its main competitor by running an ad where they dressed a Pepsi can with a Coca Cola’s cape. The idea was to impart how scary the thought of getting a Coca-Cola is when you really want a Pepsi. Coca-Cola responded by taking out the same Pepsi ad as it is and only replaced its competitor’s message by adding a caption that said that everyone wants to be a hero by wearing a Coca-Cola cape. The same print advertisement imparted two different messages even when they were the same visually.

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2. Pirates of Caribbean’s poster

The films in the Pirates of Caribbean series are not meant for children below a certain age. It may be produced by the Disney franchise who are known for their children-friendly films and endearing characters we love but we would all agree that Pirates of Caribbean is a league on its own and is meant for a certain age group—unlike most of Disney’s movies. This movie still pays a tribute to Disney through its main poster carrying a dead pirate’s skull. If you look closely, Mickey mouse can be superimposed on the skull.

3. SFX Magazine Main Covers

SFX magazine explores secret communication with its many magazine covers on a daily basis. The trick involves partially hiding ‘F’ by cover models in ‘SFX’ to give a different meaning to their logo. This is not exactly hidden and the viewer can easily decipher whenever SFX changes its name on its magazine covers—seemingly unintentionally to impart a different message entirely. It is not exactly the most subtle way to showcase subliminal message but it does manage to grab enough attention from almost everyone.

4. George W Bush Presidential Campaign

George W Bush’s presidential campaign ran into controversy after a subliminal message was discovered in one of the Republican ads. The ad targeted the healthcare policies of the then-Democratic nominee Al Gore. The word ‘Rats’ appears subliminally in the political broadcast that Republicans ran. Rats appear in a large font is white in color in front of a black background for a very short time (about 1/13th of a second). The message was noticed after four thousand four hundred screenings in about thirty-three regions.

5. Milwaukee Brewers

The logo of Milwaukee Brewers showcases one of the best uses of subliminal message. At first glance, you will see a catcher’s mitt with a baseball but if you look closely, you will also see the letters ‘M’ and ‘B’ peaking out. The logo is a clever example how subliminal messages can be used in a creative way. It was designed by Tom Meindel who was art education student at the University of Wisconsin.

6. Marlboro Advertising on Ferrari

Marlboro can’t advertise in many places because of restrictions on the products it manufactures. It decided to use subliminal messages to advertise their products by creating a tobacco packet disguised as a barcode. They used this image on Ferrari cars in Formula 1 to advertise their product.

These were the six ads that carried a subliminal message. Do search them and check their impact to gain a much deeper knowledge. Do you agree with our list? Or do you feel we could have added something more? Comment below to let us know!

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Written by Ozair Akhtar

I am an experienced Digital Marketing, Branding & Advertising professional having an expertise in SEO, SEM, Social Media, Blogging, Video-Visual Marketing, Content-Copy Writing, Online PR, Business Development, and Sales generation.