[LINK] Aussie TV network guilty of subliminal ads

Richard Chirgwin rchirgwin at ozemail.com.au
Tue Oct 14 18:54:28 EST 2008

David Boxall wrote:
> Richard Chirgwin wrote:
>> I love this! ... "subliminal advertising" is banned although it's an
>> urban myth, so Ten gets found guilty of doing something that doesn't
>> work, and then the report says "let it off lightly with just a stern
>> warning". I would have insisted it refund advertisers' dollars ...
>> http://www.snopes.com/business/hidden/popcorn.asp
> I reckon it doesn't matter if we don't believe it works - nor even if
> we believe it's been proven not to work.  What matters to me is that
> advertisers are trying to manipulate people's subconscious.  That sort
> or behaviour belongs in the "Don't even think about it" category.  If
> they find that one way doesn't work, then they're likely to try others
> - and there's a risk they'll eventually succeed.
> In part, section 1.8 of the Commercial Television Industry Code of
> Practice
> <http://www.freetv.com.au/media/Code_of_Practice/Revised_Code_of_Practice_(including%20amendment%20for%20election%20period)_060907.pdf>
> reads:
>> A licensee may not broadcast a program, program promotion, station
>> identification or community service announcement which is likely, in
>> all the circumstances, to:
>> ...
>> 1.8.3 be designed to induce a hypnotic state in viewers;
>> 1.8.4 use or involve any technique which attempts to convey
>> information to the viewer by transmitting messages below or near the
>> threshold of normal awareness;
> Whatever we believe, there's evidently concern that viewers might be
> subconsciously manipulated.  Whether any known technique works at all
> is not the point: a healthy society will not tolerate the attempt. 
> Come to think of it, I reckon a healthy society wouldn't spawn an
> industry that would make the attempt.
> Just what is subliminal?  ACMA has decreed a 2-frame flash to be in
> violation, but a 3-frame flash is permitted.  They're talking about
> fullscreen flashes, but what about smaller parts of the screen?  Last
> night's Media Watch
> <http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s2389916.htm> showed a
> scene from Channel Ten's "Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?" in which
> part of a graphic (to which viewers' attention was drawn by the
> commentator) flashed an ad for 12 frames.  The advertised product was
> Nintendo DS.  The title of the show gives an idea of the target audience.
> Though is seemed to amuse Jonathan Holmes, the 2-frame flash is
> apparently well established in the century-plus history of subliminal
> messaging <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subliminal_message>.  It seems
> questionable to me though, whether it adequately covers all the bases.
> For mine, anyone who tries this stuff outside a research lab should be
> burned at the stake.  But I was ever the traditionalist.
Well; for a start, the Wikipedia article simply assumes the positive
hypothesis ... but regardless; while I agree that Ten was in breach of
regulations, I personally don't believe that regulators should respond
to pseudo-science as if it were true!


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