Are subliminal messages secretly embedded in advertisements?
Dear Cecil: I recently came across a book by researcher Wilson Bryan Key in which he claims to find subliminal images of sex, death, and the occult stuck into photos in print advertisements. They range from screaming skulls airbrushed into ice cubes to an orgy depicted in a plate of fried clams. My major impression is that Key is a crackpot (he can find the letters S-E-X spelled out anywhere there are squiggly lines), but some of his findings seem a little too real to be coincidental. What’s the truth, Cecil? Do advertisers really hide these images (while denying all, of course), or does Key just have an active imagination? — Jay S., Chicago Cecil replies: I won’t claim no eager beaver account executive ever slipped a subliminal message into an ad, Jayzie, but Wilson Bryan Key is the kind of guy who could find something suggestive in a dial tone. Revealing testimony on this score comes to us from the Skeptical Inquirer, one of the nation’s leading antifruitcake journals. Psychologist T