Are Retailers Intentionally Advertising Subliminally?

In case you missed it, the title is a late night attempt at an acronym for the Australian Record Industry Association Awards (or ARIAS as they are known). The question of “Are Retailers Intentionally Advertising Subliminally?” should be raised after the airing of the 2007 Awards on the 28th of October.

Take a look at this footage as seen on Network Ten…



Notice anything?

Watch the clip again and you might see the logo of Olay splashed across the screen during several of the cuts between songs.

In Network Ten’s defence Olay was the sponsor of that particular award but similar tactics were also used by KFC, Big W, Toyota and possibly others in their own sponsored awards.

Subliminal advertising in Australia is illegal. Section 1.8 of the The Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice prohibits the use of “any technique which attempts to convey information to the viewer by transmitting messages below or near the threshold of normal awareness”.

Clever sponsorship or subliminal advertising?

No Comments
  • Julian Cole
    Posted at November 4, 2007 10:25pm, 04 November Reply

    mate this is an awesome pick up! how the hell did they get away with that?

  • simon oboler
    Posted at November 5, 2007 9:39am, 05 November Reply

    I have to say, i doubt that the companies had much of a say of how their products were advertised during the show in those type of things. They paid to sponser the award, and i imagine Channel 10 decided how they were going to advertise the company into the award. With the time limit on the show, if those were any longer it would have added maybe 10-20 minutes to the show with the amount of awards there were and the amount of times they were shown during each award.

  • Peter Wagstaff
    Posted at November 5, 2007 8:16pm, 05 November Reply

    Come on Simon… do you really think this was accidental? Brilliant work by the producers!

    Incidentally, as you guys probably now know after 13 weeks of Buyer Behaviour, there’s no proof that subliminal advertising messages actually influence behaviour… but the law still stands in Australia (not in the USA!).

  • simon oboler
    Posted at November 5, 2007 8:39pm, 05 November Reply

    i dont think it was accidental, but if they were doing it for every award, with every company, i doubt that all the companies got a say in how it was advertised, rather channel 10 was in control not the brands.

  • Peter Wagstaff
    Posted at November 5, 2007 9:14pm, 05 November Reply

    From my experience, brand managers hold on to control of their brand identities very closely… they are highly unlikely to leave anything to chance. Every use of their logo would be approved by the company, so Olay will have a tough time arguing that this was the “fault” of Channel 10.

  • Marty
    Posted at November 5, 2007 9:31pm, 05 November Reply

    The ABC just ran a story on this very matter.

    Interestingly Olay and KFC both blamed Network 10, and Network 10 called it “creative association to strengthen the link of the brand”.

  • simon oboler
    Posted at November 5, 2007 10:46pm, 05 November Reply

    That is what you are saying right Zac?

  • Marty
    Posted at November 5, 2007 11:04pm, 05 November Reply

    Not quite, I don’t believe these brands would give someone else control over their image.

  • Peter Wagstaff
    Posted at November 5, 2007 11:47pm, 05 November Reply

    Well of course they’ll blame someone else! I still find it very difficult to believe that they didn’t know how their name and logo were going to be used.

  • Marty
    Posted at November 6, 2007 9:11pm, 06 November Reply

    Anyone interested can check this footage by Media Watch on the ABC for more evidence.

  • tetrahedron
    Posted at December 8, 2008 8:03am, 08 December Reply

    Everybody reading this may be interested to know that all forms of subliminal advertising are permitted in Australia so long as the subliminal frame occurs in an advert.

    Free TV Australia created a loophole in its Code of Practice (Parts 1.8 and 1.8.4) that excludes advertising from the list of programming where subliminals are banned. As a result, advertisers can insert subliminal frames into their ads with impunity.

    You can confirm this by checking out the Code at:

    If you want to object to this unethical practice, the Code will be up for another public consultation next year.

    Alternatively, you may want to tell Free TV what you think now:

    Ph: (02) 8968 7100
    Email: [email protected]

Post A Comment