Can advertisers really use subliminal messaging to control our behaviors? What about those flashing messages within videos used to manipulate us?
I recently wrote a short story for a competition that had to include a paranormal element. I’m not so much into creepy phantoms and evil sorcery. So, I started lightly researching phenomenon that could be perceived as paranormal for my short story. In that exploration, I hit on the concept of subliminal messaging (we can’t see or hear it, even if we are looking for it). Hysteria started because James Vicary, in the 1950s, claimed to boost concession sales at a movie theater by flashing “Eat Popcorn” and “Drink Coke” during a movie. But his claim was a hoax. Despite his confession, people were convinced. Mind control by advertisers became a real concern.
Long story, with lots of research, made short: Subliminal or supraliminal (we can see it or hear it, even if we don’t consciously notice it) can’t dictate our behavior but if we have a need, it may influence our decision making. This is how mind-reading magicians get us to think of certain numbers or words. For example, by conversing with a participant before the set-up and using words such as bark, best friend, pat, stay – it’s no surprise that the person is thinking about a dog. Supraliminal influencing was illustrated when researchers (North, Hargreaves, & McKendrick, 1999) played music in a grocery store. German music on some days, French on others. The influence on wine sales? You guessed it. Purchasing trends between the varietals followed the music. Keeping this in mind next time I need to inspire myself to get the work done. Sing it Dolly. Speak it Solomon in Proverbs 14:23.
Do you have music or messaging that influences you? Please comment below.
So, what about my short story with a paranormal element? Did I mention it was a romance? I let my mind wander. What if our mind created their own influencing messages? I wrote Glimpse of Lace. I recently found out it is a finalist for the Cascade Awards, winner announced in August, and it won first place in The Erdel Family Memorial Award 2021 for short stories. So excited. Shocked, actually.
Please go to my Contact page and let me know you’d like to read Glimpse of Lace.
10 thoughts on “Why did I buy that?”
Congrats Kristine! I’d like to read your short story. Paranormal, interesting.
I personally like Sam Cooke’s Chain Gang to get me thinking about a hard job.
Great song! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBn5aIfZElE
Thanks for the reminder. Strange juxtaposition of smooth, groovy, rich music with lyrics of the work of the chain gang.
Congratulations!! Can’t wait to read it. Thank you so sending it by email.
I wonder about all the advertisers do to get us to buy stuff. Good to know it’s not mind control but too much influence, I think. Got the 9 to 5 song in my head now!
Thank you. Hope you like the story!
Once, when I was sleep-deprived, lonely, and feeling fat, I ordered Zumba tapes after watching their infomercial at 2 am. I’m just glad the infomercial wasn’t for an expensive home gym. (I watched the first Zumba VHS tape, then gave the set away.)
Right now, my husband are I are moving our feet to “Hey, dirty, baby I’ve got your laundry” LG commercials, but we have NOT placed an order for any LG appliances.
“Glimpse of Lace” is indeed prize-worthy. Congratulations!
Ha! I’m texting my sister about your comment. She has her own stories to tell about infomercials but I am thankful as I have been the recipient of her influenced shopping. In fact Henry is so good on a leash because of the inspired collar she bought.
All started in the 80s with “amazing Lee press on nails….they press on in seconds”
Gets in your head, never purchased those but I’m a sucker for a good vacuum , skin care and a promising workout video/dvd lol
Been purposefully staying in my lane recently!!!!
Lee press on nails! Ha! Thanks Cindy.
Oh, if only those press on nails stayed on!
I can relate!
Love your stories. Kristine! I just finished “Carousel Ride”. You have a way of telling many stories in one! So poignant. Keep up the good work!
Was at a friend’s house on Wednesday. She had awesome flag-decorated nails. Perfectly manicured. She said they were “polish stickers.” I’ve got to get the brand – I’m terrible at painting my own nails.
Thanks for the feedback on “Carousel Ride.” I love little Brea.