3 Ways Movies Use Subliminal Advertising

Watching live television has become about as obsolete as the typewriter. Everyone today enjoys the advantages of watching their favorite movies online or on their digital video recorder. The convenience of watching movies when the time is right for you allows more flexibility in your day to day life. Best of all, you can skip the commercials that add an extra 30 minutes to every movie viewing time. While consumers love skipping the commercials, manufacturers have had to get creative with how they advertise their products. Enter subliminal advertising.

What is it?

Subliminal advertising is a tactic used by producers to plant promotional information about a product into a movie. The typical trade-off is that a company will fund portions of production in exchange for their products being used. Sometimes advertising comes in the form of constantly seeing the product where as other times details of the product are written into a characters lines or their personality traits.


misscongenialityProduct Usage Problem Solving

The most popular way to advertise through movies is by using a product to solve a problem. For example, if we look at the movie Miss Congeniality with Sandra Bullock there is a scene where she undergoes the ultimate makeover from frumpy to fabulous. During this scene there are a variety of hair removal products used. When you see the end result, you think “Hey, I could totally use some No No Hair Removal too!” Before you know it, the sales of hair removal and other beauty products are skyrocketing simply because viewers want to experience the same “wow” makeover that they witnessed in the movie.


Embedded Reviews

Another option is when descriptions of products are embedded into the script. You might see a scene where there are two people in a car and one says “Wow, is the new Ford Fusion” and the other says “Yes, and it has all these great features [list features].” Without even realizing it, you have sat through a carefully crafted commercial.

Embedded reviews also work when one character in a movie tells the other about a product that changed their life for the better. For example, if one woman has undergone major weight loss in her self-improvement transformation then she will offer up a Wonderslim review to her friends. As a viewer who is interested in losing weight, you view this scenario and take up interest in the product.


General Product Usage

If you watch enough movies then you will notice that there is a commonly used beer named Hessler in the movie industry. This brand does not actually exist. But, because you are constantly seeing it, you take enough interest to try to find where you can get it locally. Now think about the cars that people drive in movies. The cell phones they use. The type of coffee that they drink. All of these details of your favorite characters are used to advertise to your subconscious!

Ted_01_movie_phoneThere were several years where nearly every character was using a Blackbeery; then the Apple iPhone; and now we see the Samsung Galaxy popping up on the big screen. How many times do characters stop at a Starbucks? How many times do you see the Harley-Davidson logo? All of these details are designed to appeal to the viewer.


Subliminal advertising in movies has become the best alternative to traditional advertising for big companies. The return on investment is higher than any other form of advertising at this time. As a movie viewer you are just subject to the uncontrollable inner workings of the human psyche. Love it or hate it; knowing the products that our favorite movie characters are using enhances the viewing experience.

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