Subliminal Messaging through Digital Marketing

Every day we consume a large amount of digital content in the form of articles, videos, social media posts etc. While it might sound surprising but a majority of it is exclusively created for marketing purposes.

In this content heavy digital space when most of the consumers are turning ‘blind’ to the advertisements and other campaigns, marketers are now resorting to subliminal messaging to promote their brands.

So the big question is..

What is a subliminal message?

A subliminal message is a signal or message designed to pass below (sub) the normal limits of perception. For example it might be inaudible to the conscious mind (but audible to the unconscious or deeper mind) or might be an image transmitted briefly and unperceived consciously and yet perceived unconsciously.

Subliminal Advertising and Social Media

When many experts are questioning the effectiveness of subliminal advertising, some companies have been subtly attempting to use this technique to their advantage.

Following are some of the techniques used in social media:

  1. Viral Videos

Levi’s used the following viral video to advertise their jeans. It has no advertising text. All we see is a man walking across the USA in a pair of jeans. However, towards the end of the video the focus is on the back pocket label on the jeans. Even if Levis is not visible, our subconscious mind will pick up the label on the jeans.

  1. Photo Product Placement

Celebrities post pictures of themselves using a particular brand of cell phone, computer etc. on social media. While the post may not have any direct sales pitch but on a subconscious level it might instigate the followers to try that product.


  1. Brand Wars

Pepsi released the image on the left and Coca-Cola responded with the image on the right.

In its original picture Pepsi subliminally suggested that getting a Coke when you wanted a Pepsi is scary. The response from Coca Cola that ‘Everyone wants to be a hero’ suggests that Pepsi wants to be Coke.


  1. Message in the Logo

The logos featured on the official social media pages have subliminal messages of their own.

If we look closely at the logo of Tostitos, we can see two people enjoying a bowl of salsa. It creates a feeling of togetherness and at times ends up making the viewer hungry.


The list is not exhaustive but it covers some of the most commonly used subliminal messaging techniques that companies resort to in order to communicate their message to the target audience.

Topic of the post inspired by the book ‘Buyology’ by Martin Lindstrom




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