By Phil Han
The use of forbidden advertising ‘brainwashing’ techniques by Network Ten in its Aria Awards coverage may go unpunished because Australia’s broadcasting watchdog has received no complaints about the incident.
The ABC’s Media Watch exposed Ten’s use of split-second subliminal sponsor logos during the music awards. The logos are not consciously perceived by most viewers and are banned under broadcasting laws.
The Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) have said that they have not received any formal complaints in regards to the subliminal ads, but did say that a complaint needs to be filed with Network Ten before ACMA can investigate.
But Network Ten says it has received no complaints.
Margaret Fearn, a spokesman for Network Ten, denied any wrongdoing, refused to acknowledge that there was any subliminal advertising involved and said no formal complaints have been received.
“Claims that our ARIA’s nominations packages included subliminal or near-subliminal advertising are incorrect,” Ms Fearn said.
During the October 28 telecast, advertisers received two award categories to sponsor, from which their logo would be featured at the start and end of each nominations package.
However, during the introduction of nominated artists, very quick bursts of the sponsor’s logo were shown several times.
After a closer analysis of the telecast, it was revealed that the subliminal advertisements ranged anywhere from one frame per second, to four frames per second.
That is .04 to .16 seconds, or considerably less time than the average eyeblink.
Media experts say viewers cannot consciously take in a shot that short and that it must be regarded as subliminal advertising.
“If we are being given little bursts of ads within our programs, it’s an attempt to condition us outside our right to resist it,” co-ordinator at UTS Insearch and media expert Dr Mike Minehan said.
“It is far too rapid for us to be conscience of an image, and I would say that it’s a deliberate attempt at subliminal advertising.”
Lucy Cochran, a senior strategist at advertising firm Saatchi and Saatchi says using subliminal messagining can more often than not backfire.
“If a brand tries to trick or fool consumers, watch out for the major backlash,” Ms Cochran said.
Network Ten continues to defend the advertising process, saying it was part of a method called ‘rapid cuts’ which is commonly used in music presentations.
Complaints can be made to ACMA at (02) 9334-7700