A growing body of research examines the effect of advertising on implicit (unconscious or unintentional) forms of memory, in contrast with typical advertising research focusing on explicit (conscious or recollective) measures. This research primarily examines perceptual implicit memory, but conceptual implicit tests also have clear relevance for advertising research. The present experiments use a conceptual implicit test to determine if conceptual priming is obtained with brand materials and to assess the degree of explicit contamination (using a post-test awareness questionnaire). The experiments first demonstrated that awareness is a threat to conceptual implicit measures within the advertising context. Steps were taken to reduce awareness, which were successful. Results suggest that brands can be conceptually primed when presented as text or as images but that awareness has to be accounted for as aware participants did show significantly more priming than those who were unaware (Experiment 3). Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.