The Shocking Drink And Incredible Coke History Of Subliminal Advertising

The Shocking Drink And Incredible Coke History Of Subliminal Advertising

Looking for a new way to publicize your product? Have you considered implanting suggestions in your current advertising that link your product to sex and power?

The birth of subliminal advertising as we know it dates to 1957 when a market researcher named James Vicary inserted the words “Eat Popcorn” and “Drink Coca-Cola” into a movie.

The words appeared for a single frame, allegedly long enough for the subconscious to pick up, but too short for the viewer to be aware of it. The subliminal ads supposedly created an 18.1% increase in Coke sales and a 57.8% increase in popcorn sales.

Vicary’s results turned out to be a hoax. But more recent experiments have shown that subliminal messages actually can affect behavior in small ways.

A Harvard study from 1999 employed a similar method to Vicary’s — subjects played a computer game in which a series of words flashed before them for a few thousandths of a second. One set got positive words like “wise,” “astute,” and “accomplished.” The other set got words like “senile,” “dependent,” and “diseased.”

Despite the fact that these words flashed far too quickly to be consciously perceived, those who received positive words exited the room significantly faster than those who got negative words.

However, William Peter Blatty, author of The Exorcist, prominently spoke out against subliminals when the movie adaptation of his book came under fire for including allegedly subliminal messaging. He said, “There are no subliminal images. If you can see it, it’s not subliminal.”

So do advertisers consciously choose to include subliminal messages in their ads? Can they harness subliminal power to associate their products with sex and power? If so, does it actually affect a consumer’s buying decisions? We’ve gathered several ads containing supposedly subliminal messages — you be the judge.

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Drink More Water, Says FLOTUS—But How Much?

Drink More Water, Says FLOTUS—But How Much?

A call for drinking more water is reason to consider the “eight glasses a day” dictum. Pssst: It’s not true!

“I’ve come to realize that if we were going to take just one step to make ourselves and our families healthier, probably the single best thing we could do is to simply drink more water,” first lady Michelle Obama said in a statement issued this week. She went on to recommend downing an additional glass a day.

Which raises the question: How many glasses of water a day should you drink?

It’s commonly believed that eight 8-ounce glasses of water should be guzzled each day. You sure won’t get any arguments about that from the bottled water industry. But hydration experts aren’t sure where the “8 x 8” rule came from—or whether it holds water.

Mike Sawka, a U.S. Army research scientist, thinks the origins lie in a 1933 study on rodent hydration. The research led to a recommendation of 2.5 liters a day, or 84.5 ounces of liquid, for a moderately active human to make up for water lost to sweat and excretions. He says that 20 percent of those ounces come from foods that contain a lot of water: soup, ice cream, celery. That leaves 67.6 ounces of water, or roughly “8 x 8.”

Only you don’t really need eight daily glasses. Other beverages count, even if they’re caffeinated. “The body’s need to keep fluid trumps the small influence caffeine might have on losing fluid,” says University of Connecticut exercise physiologist Douglas Casa.

Besides, it’s not like you need to line up eight glasses and down ’em or risk dehydration. The basic rule: Drink if you feel thirsty. If not, don’t. The exception would be folks about to embark on an intense workout. Drinking beforehand is helpful.

And if you’re worried that you’re not drinking enough, check your urine. Dark yellow, says University of Pennsylvania nutritionist Stella Volpe, is the color of dehydration.