Seducing the Subconscious: The Psychology of Emotional Influence in Advertising
April 2012, Wiley-Blackwell
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Whether it’s on TV or billboards, mobile phones or in magazines, advertising is part of our everyday life. But, while we are all aware of it, and may even secretly admire a particular campaign, most of us would likely say that we don’t pay much attention to it when it comes to making a decision. But, is this really the case, or are we being influenced without even knowing it? In his absorbing and highly-readable new book, Dr. Robert Heath, a pioneer in the field of brand communications, explains the hidden power of advertising and how by choosing to ignore it we may be lending it greater power.
Drawing on a range of successful advertising campaigns (including Nike, Coca-Cola and Budweiser’s “Whassup?”), the works of key thinkers, and the latest research in experimental psychology and cognitive neuroscience, Seducing the Subconscious is a fascinating exploration of the ways in which we process advertising – at both a subconscious and semiconscious level. We discover how and why the most successful advertising campaigns are not those we love or hate or those with messages that are new or interesting but those that are “able to effortlessly slip under our radar and influence our behaviour without us ever really knowing that they have done so…” We find out how to spot when we are being subconsciously seduced and see how new media has made us even more susceptible to the subconscious influence of advertising.
And the best way of avoiding advertising affecting us this way? Heath offers two fool-proof ways. The first is to avoid it altogether (pretty much impossible!). The second is to embrace it. As he concludes, “the more you attend, the more you can counter-argue what you see and hear, and the less it will affect you. It may be tedious, it may be annoying, and it may make your life a bit uncomfortable. But at least you’ll know you haven’t been subconsciously seduced.”
A real eye-opener of a book, Seducing the Subconscious will leave most of us astonished by how much advertising affects our everyday behaviour - and perhaps even more astonished by how little we realize this is going on!
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