Oct 252009

hidden messages in advertisments

Welcome to our main subliminal advertising pictures collection.

Here you will find examples and explanations of various subliminal ads from across the decades.

These adverts are popular amongst advertisers as they give an extra depth to the picture. Often you are not aware of the hidden suggestion, however it is registered on an unconscious level in your mind. Other times you may look at a poster and wonder what isn’t quite right about it, or wonder why you are drawn to it, or even a little mesmerized…

The aim of these adverts is to draw you in, to grab your attention for a little longer than normal, and to make them more memorable. Often the easiest way to do this is to link the product in some way to sex – this is often as obvious as having a beautiful woman in some state of undress. However sometimes the message is better hidden, or more subliminal.

For instance this ad from Coca Cola contains a nude woman, however not in the conventional sense – the image is subliminal – the woman is lying on the top of the can, on her side, with her hair falling over the edge – she is made out of ice:


You do not recognize the image consciously, but unconsciously you acknowledge the female form – in some small way you are “attracted” to the poster, to the product, to the brand.

It helps to make Coca Cola a “sexy” product, a seductive product, a young, lively and energetic product. You may think that one poster like this won’t really do that much – and you are right..

.. However when these subliminal advertisement messages are included in all of Coca Cola’s adverts then they start to build up – they are overtly and subliminally linking their product to sex, and with such exposure there is no doubt that Coca Cola is a young, sexy brand, meant for beautiful people… this was an intentional suggestion, but take a look at the infamous coca cola subliminal advert to see something which was apparantly included by a disgruntled designer.

It is not just Coca Cola using subliminal messages, examples can be seen everywhere, from inserting a “phallic” symbol like this bread advert:

Bread suggesting a phallic symbol

To something more explicitly suggestive like this Candies advert:


Or perhaps taking a more intelligent approach like Palmolive:

subliminal-advertismentPalmolive shower advert, but it isn't her hand

I bet you didn’t spot it straight away – they have been quite clever with this one, but basically the hand is not hers – it is suggesting there is someone else in the shower with her 🙂

Here is another quite subtle subliminal suggestion in some marketing for a local cafe – can you spot it?

Cafe Subliminal Advert

Did you see it? Look closer at the shape of the steam from the coffee – it is once again in the shape of a nude woman. This is such a common suggestion to slip in, every brand wants to see its self as young, sexy, desirable, and including a silhouette of woman’s body is a universally recognized symbol and a simple way to get the message across.

Now back to something perhaps a little more intense.. what does this remind you of?

Subliminal Burrito Advert

We don’t know whether it was intentional to take representing the female form one step further here but imitating a woman’s private parts, maybe it was purely coincidence, but bare in mind sometimes the goal is to shock and cause controversy – it is free advertising and branding.. and maybe it worked? Their image ended up here and all over the Internet!

Now this one from Skittles goes back to the use of hidden text

Skittles packaging subliminally suggests "sex"

This is a super fun packaging design, does it go too far when a product tries to do this, yet it’s target market is children?

If so then somebody should tell Maoam as their packaging looks a little like weird Maoam creatures practising sex positions.. especially the bottom two:

Maoam packaging shows sex positions?

We hope you have enjoyed this subliminal advertisement article. We leave it open for you to decide, some are really obvious that the company had an ulterior motive to include some hidden meaning in their advertising, other times it could be coincidence, or even the act of a devious branding manager or designer – we just want to show you what is out there so you can see how subliminal messaging is being used.

To see MANY MORE adverts like these view our bigger post of visual examples of subliminal messages.


http://www.poleshift.org/sublim/ - A very old and well respected database of subliminal advertising, each discussed, and rated by difficulty of perception.
CBS News - a collection of the 10 best subliminal adverts ever.
Business Insider have an excellent post with a wide range of videos and subliminal ads.
The Telegraph - an article which cites new research claiming subliminal adverts do work.