I’ve been wanting to write this post for some years. Ever since I heard the song “When you were young” by The Killers. Whoever wrote that song is an absolute genius of hypnotic messaging.
Does Hypnotism work? Of course.
Does subliminal marketing work? Of course.
Years ago I pulled up two dozen research papers on suggestions and subliminal advertising. Back when I still had access to Elsevier and all the academic stuff. My quick summary: Amazed. Mostly amazed how this research isn’t more widely used.
The key element of marketing – of any kind – is understanding how ideas work in the brain. Creating an effective simplified model so you know what the heck you’re doing.
I’ll give you the two keys of my model:
1 – The core mind only works by increasing degrees of association. To make you like ice cream, I put an image/text/idea of something you ALREADY like next to it. Net result: You like ice cream a bit more and whatever I showed you a bit less. To make you hate ice cream, I put something you already hate next to it. Net result: You like ice cream less and the thing you hate you like a tiny bit more. Picking the concepts carefully you can manipulate the ideas in your audience – pick weakly anchored ideas or just plain wrong ones and it can backfire.
2 – The core mind does not understand negatives. This is ESSENTIAL. Saying “This doesn’t taste like ice cream” is the same as “This tastes like ice cream”. The mind will only really get “Taste Ice Cream”
Back to the motivation of this post… Every time I hear “When you were young” by The Killers I remember I want to write about its lyrics and how they are a PERFECT example of hypnosis. The song is like a full hypnosis session crammed into three and a half minutes. Really, brilliant. Here is a table with the original lyrics on the left side and what your mind interprets when listening to the song. Really amazing. The song basically tells you to remember when you were young, the place you used to live, and imagine a boy that looks like Jesus.
|Original lyrics||What your mind understands|
|You sit there in your heartache
Waiting on some beautiful boy to
To save you from your old ways
You play forgiveness
Watch him now, here he come
Can we climb this mountain? I don’t know
We’re burning down the highway skyline
And sometimes you close your eyes
They say the Devil’s water it ain’t so sweet
You sit there in your heartache
He doesn’t look a thing like Jesus
I said he doesn’t look a thing like Jesus
Watch him now / Here comes
Burning highway skyline
Close your eyes
The Devil’s water so sweet
Looks like Jesus
Looks like Jesus