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Between The Lines

You may be using subliminal advertising and not even know it.

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This story appears in the March 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

When President George W. Bush's campaign supporters created the now-infamous TV ad where the word "Democrats" morphed into the word "rats" for a split second onscreen, media headlines nationwide accused the W. camp of using subliminal advertising. Drew Eric Whitman, author of How to Create Power-Packed Ads, Brochures and Sales Letters that Make Money Now, (Whitman Strategic) disagrees, saying, subliminal advertising is something we're not consciously aware of by definition. Whitman, founder of Whitman Strategic, a Philadelphia firm that teaches businesses how to make their advertising more effective, debunks some common misconceptions about subliminal advertising-such as the much-publicized claims that hidden messages are embedded in everything from print ads to movies.

Beware bad buzz

In The Anatomy of Buzz (Doubleday), veteran marketing exec Emanuel Rosen warns that customers speak freely about bad buying experiences-telling an average of 10 people, depending on the company.

Subliminal advertising isn't as devious as that. In fact, Whitman says, some of the most common advertising techniques used by many businesses work subliminally.

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