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Subliminal Advertising and the Perpetual Popularity of Playing to People’s Paranoia



Every 20 years, subliminal advertising pops back into popular culture. August Bullock (2004a) is the most recent “advocate” with his book The Secret Sales Pitch: An Overview of Subliminal Advertising. This paper reviews nearly 50 years of research on subliminal advertising and comments specifically about Bullock’s more recent publication. The literature repeatedly shows that most effects are only obtained in highly artificial situations, and no research has shown an effect that changed attitudes or impacted purchasing behavior.