For this week's Scribblings, we're asked to consider liminal space. I segued to subliminal space, which is a long-ago interest of mine. Forgive me for offering verbose prose, but it's what came to mind for this challenge! Submitted to Poets & Storytellers United, April 28, 2021
When I saw the topic for this week's Scribblings, it triggered the archives in the attic of my brain, and I remembered an interest of mine from around 1960 ---subliminal advertising--so my mind leaped from liminal space to subliminal space Advertisers have been experimenting with subliminal messaging -- either auditory or visual stimuli given at a level the conscious mind cannot perceive. An early example was by a man named Vicary who claimed an experiment by placing subliminal messages of "Drink Coca-Cola" and "Eat popcorn" in the screening of the movie "Picnic" in a Fort Lee, New Jersey theater. He claimed the hidden phrases, flashed at 13/1000 of a second at intervals increased the sale of Coca-Cola and popcorn exponentially. While his experiment was later found to be a hoax, subliminal advertising continues to this day by such entities as, for example, Marlboro, Benson and Hedges, KFC, and McDonalds, and in-store music. When researchers played music in a liquor store, they found a startling result. On days when German music was played, German wine outsold French wine. However, the reverse happened when French music was played--this from a study in 1999.
Today, the use of subliminal messaging is banned in many countries. Unsurprisingly, the United States does not expressly forbid the use of subliminal messages in advertisements, though their use does fall under federal law enforcement jurisdiction So, next time you're grocery shopping or in an elevator, pay attention to the music. You may be receiving messages unaware! If you'd like to know more, check out "Hidden Persuaders" by Vance Packard, published l957, the book that sparked my interest.