[LINK] Aussie TV network guilty of subliminal ads

David Lochrin dlochrin at d2.net.au
Wed Oct 15 11:58:16 EST 2008


On Wednesday 15 October 2008 09:37, Stilgherrian wrote:
> On 15/10/2008, at 11:24 AM, David Lochrin wrote:
> >> Why is "surreptitiousness", in and of itself, a problem?
> >
> >   Because it's intended to make the subject(s) perform actions they
> > may not otherwise do with a minimum of conscious prior evaluation
> > and contingent responsibility.
>
> You mean like say, putting the lollies next to the checkout at
> supermarkets to generate impulse buys?

   Putting the lollies next to the checkout is an exercise in attention-getting, the exact opposite of subliminal advertising.

> Why is "conscious" evaluation so special?

   Because conscious evaluation is the basis of responsibility.  For example, a person accused of murder may be acquitted on the grounds of mental incompetence, IOW inability to act responsibly.

> It's just a pretty skin on top of a very complex mechanism of mind.

   I'm not sure what that actually means, but it sounds good!

> I'm genuinely curious as to why this *specific* kind of "making the
> subject(s) perform actions they may not otherwise do" is different
> from any other kind, apart from the Twilight Zonesque scare-name
> "subliminal". A thousand different persuasion techniques are in use,
> why is this on so bad? (Particularly as there's no evidence that it IS
> any different...)

   The problem lies in the degree to which responsibility is diminished.  When it was still legal to advertise cigarettes on TV, would you have considered subliminal advertising of cigarettes which will kill some proportion of smokers to be acceptable?

David


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