Subliminal means below the level of the conscious mind. The brain perceives the information in theory, but the mind does not interpret the information for meaning. A lot of studies indicate that we do perceive information at the subliminal level. A good example is if a person drove to work today, how many cars did the person pass? What makes and models were they? The only ones the parson paid particular attention to were probably the really neat cars or those driven by people the person recognizes.
If something is noticed consciously, then it is not subliminal or at least not subliminal anymore. A common Bacardi ad shows a woman in a red dress, holding a drink and a cigar. People can't miss the cigar. The meaning of the cigar may be innuendo, but it is not subliminal.
Some methods of subliminal persuasion include
1. Smell. Disney World puts vanilla on cookie sheets and heats it in an oven. People smell "cookies baking" and come to the cookie shop for fresh cookies. In reality, the cookies were baked someplace else. The smell of vanilla reminds us of cookies.
Several studies suggest that men are much more attracted to a woman when her body is releasing pheromones. Men don't consciously smell her, but still smell tells them that she is in the most fertile part of her cycle.
2. Sight. Usually images are hidden within images. They can be upside down or distorted or appear so commonplace that we miss it. Film and television can also be used as subliminal media. Most subliminal messages appeal to sex. Sex is used because companies want consumers to feel sexy about buying alcohol, clothing, or cigarettes.
3. Sound. Sound can be played at a level that is higher or lower than the range of conscious human hearing. Sound can be back masked, meaning the subliminal message is laid down on one track and then other tracks of sound are placed over the top of it.
Some stores back mask subliminal messages to try to control shoplifting. Some motivation tapes also use subliminal
A subliminal signifier is still going to be interpreted by a schema (an organised pattern of though and behaviour), which includes all the signified of the receiver's experiences. Subliminal will not be more effective or less effective than other persuasion techniques.