100% support for subliminal advertising

Picture_4 We should all become subminal advertising artists.  Every single one of us.

I don't care that in 1974 the FCC issued an order saying that anyone knowingly carry subliminal ads was operating "contrary to the public interest."

I don't care that they've proven that the infamous 1957 "drink Coke" movie theater story is a urban legend.

I don't care that some people allege that the Disney animation classic The Lion King has a seen where the word SEX is written in the clouds.  (Not sure who that's advertising for!)

I don't care that some people have seen the word RATS in a commercial George W. Bush ran during his campaign for President against Gore.

When a store owner makes a customer feel like they're the most important person in the room, that's subliminal advertising.  When an on-line help desk staffer takes an extra three minutes to write a personal comment in a "we've fixed your problem" e-mail, when a customer service rep hops in the car to hand deliver a part that a client desperately needs…that's subliminal advertising.

When a Disney cast member whose job is sweeping up popcorn stops to give a little boy a sticker…that's subliminal advertising.  When a lube drive through shop checks a worried woman's car, makes a minor repair and then refuses to charge her anything…that is subliminal advertising.

We can consciously deliver our brand through marketing messages, signage, and consistency.  But all of that pales in comparison to creating a customer experience that delights and surprises someone. 

That kind of subliminal advertising gets people to not only buy what you sell but to talk about their buying experience.  That kind of subliminal advertising transcends loyalty and moves to love.

We should all be that kind of advertiser.

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18 comments on “100% support for subliminal advertising

  1. I never thought about those little things as being subliminal, but they sure are. It would follow, then, that the opposite is also true. Things like a surly cashier and those damnable recorded “your call is important to us” messages also speak. If it isn’t already, this would make a great addition to Marketing and Business courses.

  2. Art Dinkin says:

    If that is subliminal advertising, then I am guilty of subliminal marketing. Please forgive me and may my business see perpetual triple digit growth…

  3. Chuck says:

    I never disagree with you but the problem with your analogy is that subliminal messages are only picked up by the subunconscious and they have been proven to not work. We are highly conscious of great customer service and we remember it and tell our friends.

  4. well, be polite and caring! this is subliminal advertising!!

  5. Loved the message and your post. I hate to say it, though–the times that I, personally, get excellent,note-worthy customer service are few and far between. And, when it happens, it’s noticeable. My mind, heart and wallet remember.

  6. Lewis,

    You know me….I love a twist at the end of a good story. I thought the headline might get a couple people’s goat.

    And I figured my ethical friend Lewis would be in the front of the line!


  7. Jody Johnston says:

    I can not agree more. Subliminal advertising= customer service.
    I work a job in retail right now and everyday the boss says “We’re here for customer serivce. Remember how you want to be treated when you are shopping, and treat the customer that way.” Good customer service makes a happy customer, which in turn brings in more customers from word of mouth. And in the long run that means more money. If your company makes more money, you make more money.

    If only more retail workers would do their jobs that way.

  8. Carolyn,

    It’s basically the same mindset as we all get into when we have company in our house. We put on the good manners. Shouldn’t we do the same when a potential customer or customer is in our “house” be that our store, website or on the phone?


  9. Hi Mike,

    It looks like your form is going to take some time to fill out. I want to give it the thought it deserves, so I will get to it soon, I promise.

    Thanks for inviting me.


  10. Art,

    I am sure it’s part of your success. With the subliminal advertising and the blog…you’re going to be making Buffet envious pretty soon! 🙂


  11. Chuck,

    Well you may be right, the anology may have some flaws. But I do believe if we treat someone well and go out of our way a little — that subtle message begins to influence their buying decision.


  12. Gia,

    Well, it is the Drew McLellan approved version of subliminal advertising any way!


  13. Freddie —

    Thank you. I hope you’ll stop back often and jump into the conversations. As you can see, lots of smart people to learn from here. I glean something new from them every day.


  14. Cam,

    Thanks! I figured [send Drew all your money] you’d have something [but not the kids or the dog] to say about it.


  15. Suzanne,

    Maybe that’s why it is so powerful — because we don’t see it very often. Sadly, if everyone treated their clients/customers like kings & queens, maybe it would get to be so routine we’d stop noticing.

    So shhh, don’t tell too many people!


  16. John,

    I agree. It speaks volumes to our customers. So why do you think most business owners/workers don’t get that?


  17. Jody,

    You have a very smart boss. Most retailers should probably take some lessons from you and your teammates!


  18. Patrik says:

    Drew your “article” above is one of the few truly ingenious posts I’ve read about “Subliminal Advertising”. In regards to the traditional folklore that so many people seem to believe in I’d like to add the following:

    The “Subliminal way” is but an illusion and is not supported in neither advertising research nor consumer decision making research. If you are interested in the subject you can read this post:

    Marketing has since long ago come to understand that there are way more efficient and liminal ways to influence consumers. Just like Drew is describing!
    Stockholm Institute of Communication Science

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