Projecting after images and conscious perception (The logo that wasn’t really there!)

August 17, 2012

Our look into Neuromarketing continues with some spooky mind trickery!

An afterimage – the ghostly remains of a visual image that persists after the visual stimulus causing it has ceased to act – can be much more interesting than a mere bright spot in your field of vision. Here’s a demonstration of a color afterimage:

In that illusion, the black-and-white picture appears in color for a few seconds due to the afterimage from looking at the initial reverse-color screen.

So, given that creating an afterimage is an interesting way to trick our brain into seeing something that isn’t there, why haven’t marketers exploited this in some way?

Part of the issue is that it’s not so easy to create the image. Few consumers will want to stare at a meaningless image or a blue dot for a long time in order to see some kind of commercial message.  Building an afterimage doesn’t have to take that long, though, if the light is bright enough. Old-fashioned flash bulbs, for example, created powerful (and annoying) afterimages because of their combination of intensity and duration (long when compared to a typical strobe).  Recognizing this, BMW created this example of afterimage branding using a flash projection technique: Some people consider this “subliminal,” though since the viewer eventually sees the “BMW” ,the ad doesn’t really bypass conscious perception.

What do you think about this – fun and clever, or a little too sneaky?

marketing – design – web – pr – social media


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