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In Seducing the Subconscious, Robert Heath argues that existing models of how advertising works are misguided, mistaken and misleading, especially about the role that attention, liking and persuasion play in influencing customer behaviour.
Robert Heath argues that  this shows that advertising does not work because we like it or because it contains new and interesting information, but often works through subconscious priming. Ehrenberg used a consumer panel to show that most markets have few 100% loyal buyers and that most people buy more than one brand. This thinking is dangerous for research agencies as it suggests that typical measures of advertising performance have no real basis in how advertising actually works. The advertiser ignored the advice and ran the ad, which became the most liked ad among teenagers (93% liked the ad very much) and the brand took a substantial share of the market.
Robert Heath argues that we simply do not pay attention to advertising, and that learning from nearly all advertising is passive with little or no cognitive resource deployed.
Robert Heath points out that leveraging more senses can strengthen the influence of advertising, as in British Airways used of music from the opera Lakme by Delibes. The work of Robert Zajonc and also that of Antonio Damasio shows that emotions do not follow our thoughts but rather that they prime our thoughts and are the first aspect of a memory or experience to emerge, before we begin to reflect on what we are experiencing.
Emotions are vital for our survival, directing our attention to those things around us which are important to achieving our goals.
Emotions build salience, but they do not necessarily drive engagement, and Robert Heath discusses evidence of the opposite. Emotions are important markers for the brain, but are processed at an unconscious level, using implicit knowledge to tell us the relevance and importance of information.
One of the final examples in Seducing the Subconscious is the textbook example of Marlboro’s use of cowboy imagery to build the emotional salience of their cigarette brand to male consumers.
The key to effective advertising is to trigger emotional associations which are relevant to the motivations and goals of the audience. Resources, Tools and Basic Information for Engineering and Design of Technical Applications!

A career in music wouldn't be possible without fans - so thanks to everyone who shows their support! Note: map does not cover the North Las Vegas airport which is located at Rancho and Cheyenne. Seducing the Subconscious draws on many well known examples of advertising as well as the work of Robert Zajonc, Herb Krugman, Antonio Damasio, Joseph LeDoux and others.
Typical models of advertising, and most especially St Elmo Lewis’ AIDA model (standing for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) which was the basis of the first advertising model and is still often invoked, cannot explain the impact of the Gio Compario and O2 campaigns.
He determined that brand users did hold different attitudes to non-users, but there was no evidence of how attitudes were changed, and Ehrenberg concluded that behaviour was driving attitudes and not the other (traditional and intuitive) model that awareness leads to attitudes which leads to behaviour.
Take the example of Telma Noodles, cited by Robert Heath, whose ad agency developed a commercial involving a pop song with meaningless lyrics and a series of surrealistic scenes including people consuming the product. The ad was liked, although this was not necessarily clear from the research, but there was no message. This does not mean that we buy popcorn at the cinema because of a subliminal message on the screen (as suggested by Vance Packard in The Hidden Persuaders), but it does mean that over time our exposure to brands does subtly influence our behaviour by making things more familiar and more salient in our minds. They are also socially important, with facial expressions and body language helping us to understand the feelings of others and react appropriately.Emotions have an adaptive evolutionary purpose, directing us to behave in ways that will maximise our outcomes. When we see Papa and Nicole flirting next to their Renault Clio’s, we are quite literally experiencing the emotions that they portray.
As Robert Heath points out, no one would ever admit that they buy Andrex because of the puppy, but the brand outsold Kleenex by 3 to 1 at one time. That is, we actually pay less attention to emotional advertising and not more, and this is why it is so effective. The example demonstrates all the main lessons of this fascinating, well argued book which is supported by many examples and case studies. As we have often argued, the most successful brands have clear and consistent archetypal stories that connect emotionally with their customers.

The evidence from one year later was that Gio Compario had built Go Compare into a leadership position in their category, despite the strong dislike for the character and the advertising. This extraordinary growth was not based on special features, lower pricing, promotions or any other activities apart from advertising with blue bubbles. He developed an alternative ATR model (awareness, trial, reinforcement), suggesting that advertising could create, reawaken or strengthen brand awareness and that the main purpose of repetitive advertising is to reinforce habits. When we pay less attention, we are less able to counter the messages with reasoning and simply soak it up. Colours, shapes, sounds, smells (among other stimuli) all help us to reference relevant memories from which we can extract emotional markers of salience. Well make a special bee-line towards these fruitful blends of tropical fruit juice and special tonic mixtures.
For example, liking for something increases even when we are unaware of seeing it, meaning that processing of the stimulus is outside conscious attention and awareness. Emotions in advertising might work precisely because we do not think such messages are important. Although we look at the screen, we are not paying active attention, and this helps the message to get through uncontested. Peripheral exposure, where the priming happens through our peripheral vision has also been demonstrated. In the work of Joseph LeDoux, and the language of Daniel Kahneman, these are the differences between fast thinking and slow thinking.

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