I just read Seducing the Subconscious (by Robert Heath) which is an excellent perspective on the mysterious way advertising works. He avoids the word “subliminal” in the title to avoid comparison or even linkage to the controversial topic of last century.
Instead, it is a well-reasoned argument about the long-term impact advertising can have without conscious awareness or retrieval of messages conveyed. I found it persuasive, albeit a bit overreaching in its sweeping application.
Particularly interesting to me is the assertion that BMW targets six year olds (as allegedly reported to the author). While I think that could be a smart maneuver (and I am a believer that BMW Films did target teenage boys), I doubt it, if only because no marketers I know ever have the luxury to invest today for rewards in 30 years.
Nonetheless, it is amazing how many tunes and tag lines from commercials of my youth are still somewhere in my brain.