The term subliminal advertising was coined some 50 years ago. The idea was controversial due to its implications.
It is believed that the CIA already conducted an extensive study on the subject.
It was only in the 1960s that independent researchers discovered the power of the subconscious mind. After that, it took but ten years for advertisers to spring on this ultimate selling weapon: the power to persuade without consumers being aware that they are being influenced. A hidden message was 'fed' to people watching a movie, then during the intermission people went to buy the product.
However, go back a further 50 years and you will see that this type of advertising was being employed by John Mackintosh, albeit in a more innocent way. Before the Great War certain cryptic signs found alongside every main railway line in the British Isles mystified many travellers. John Mackintosh called them 'Symbol Signs.'
The letters "M's", "T" and "de L" appeared without any explanation on an upright pillar in the middle of some corn-field or by the side of a wood. Ten of these small symbol signs follow one another then a large sign was seen bearing the names in full, Mackintosh's Toffee DeLuxe.
These advertisements had their amusing side. The cattle in the fields, on hot summer days, found them useful as rubbing posts, the farmers dressed them up during seed-time to act as scarecrows and at the beginning of the war, over anxious patriots, mostly Boy Scouts, mistook them for German Secret Service signs placed there for the guidance of airships and promptly reported the matter to the police.
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