Priceless: Maddest of the “Mad Men”

by mort

It all began on the afternoon of September 12, 1957, in a small mid-Manhattan office. At Vicary's invitation, about fifty press people watched an underwater documentary, “Secrets of the Reef.” Hidden in the film were ads for Coca-Cola, flashed on the screen for 1/3000 of a second. For that Vicary used a tachistoscope, a high-speed slide projector widely used in post-war psychological experiments. Though the ads were inperceptible, Vicary claimed that they worked. He said he had done an experiment flashing similar split-second ads for Coca-Cola and popcorn at a regular movie theater in Fort Lee, New Jersey, showing the film Picnic. The ads boosted concession stand sales of Coke 18 percent, and popcorn 58 percent. Vicary had founded a Subliminal Projection Company to capitalize on the technique. He boasted, “This innocent little technique is going to sell a hell of a lot of goods.”

via Priceless: Maddest of the “Mad Men”.