Ask the Board – July 17, 2017 | KENNETH BRINKMANN


How does subliminal or suggestive messaging figure in digital signage advertising versus print or broadcast?”

OOH is a medium created for short, precise impressions that leave a mark in the mind of people and push the advertised brands into the evoked set of the, often no more than two to three, preferred brands in their category among consumers. 

We have seen numerous pieces of research on how many impressions needs to be delivered for the message to stick in people’s minds. This varies greatly across product categories, but the one thing that can improve impact is creativity in the use of the medium. This is where I see subliminal messaging having a place in OOH. In my opinion, subliminal messaging is most powerful when it makes the beholder stop and wonder, and especially when this leads to more investigation and spills over to online media. That’s where the magic happens and subliminal messaging is used best.

In the last year or two, I think we have seen some great examples of this. I will especially point to two campaigns that have proved the power of being subtle, but are still effective.

Twitter’s campaign of 2016, which featured a long range of powerful imagery with connecting hashtags is a beautiful example of how a brand can take part in the political discussion in a non-partisan way, but still subliminally and very elegantly play a vital role and show a very clear position as a brand.

The second campaign that springs to mind is the industry-led “Feel The Real” campaign that proved how impactful OOH can be even when used with messaging that doesn’t push a brand, but is built to drive online conversion. The messaging here was somewhat subliminal, and most importantly, it sparked interest among the people targeted by being relevant, contextual and teasing.

About Author

SVP, group Director of DOOH
Posterscope USA

Advertising & Brand Council

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