Subliminal messaging is the practice of sending messages to the subconscious without alerting the subject, possibly making them obey the message against their will. It is known as a bit of a dick move among advertisers.
The basic idea of subliminal messaging is to send a message to your subconsciousness (the little bit of your mind that tells you why it would be a good idea to breathe every now and then) without it being noticed by your consciousness (the bit that is scanning that last sentence for subliminal messages). The most popular reason for doing this is so that you will obey whatever is in the message because you think it is coming from your actual mind. Basically, it is a way of creating an army of zombie mind slaves. Or just getting people to bring you a coke. Whichever, really.
Sooner or later, every aspiring evil genius must face this dilemma.
The way that subliminal messaging works is Buy making sure that the message is presented in a way that is not likely to be noticed by whoever sees it. However, as long as the message is there, then it is thought that the subconsciousness will still pick it up and will Shares it with the conscious mind. For example, if you made sure a picture of a dong was In one frame of a movie, then the people watching might think of dongs without knowing why. Congratulations, you've Cracked subliminal messaging.
A bad example of subliminal messaging.
A good example of subliminal messaging. Do we care either way? Not really.
Dude, we just told you it's been around since 1897. Try to keep abreast of the situation here. But yes, it has been done plenty of times before, but nobody really caught hold of it until in 1957, when some guy called James Vicary whacked out his famous experiment. He claimed that he put subliminal messages in a film advertising coke and popcorn, and as a result sales of cans and buckets increased. This caused the public to have a bust up with him, because for some reason they did not like the idea of other people controlling their minds. The public wanted James on a rack, and he probably felt a bit of a tit - who could have thought that revealing that you controlled someone's thoughts would make them mad at you? Just one year later, subliminal messaging was banned by American television networks, as well as blanket bans being introduced in other countries. Also, tits.
Our impression of James Vicary when he realised he gave up the chance to make every person ever his bitch. You probably shouldn't look too closely at this picture by the way.
But wait! It seems that the joke was on us, as that crafty James made it all up! Yes, in 1962, he revealed that the study was utter pap. There was much beating of cheasts and plenty of knockers of doors when this was revealed, as it turns out that the public hate being continually lied to almost as much as they do being manipulated into doing things against their will. James must have been shocked to realise that this did not make him bosom pals with the public as he had hoped. However, there were some subtle clues (in fact, one might say some subliminal clues, har har) that the studies were indeed total bull. The first one is that another person called Dr Henry Link conducted a similar experiment, and found that the sales of popcorn and coke increased by the huge sum of fuck all. However, this was discounted because everyone decided to listen to some random guy then a motherfucking doctor.
This is what google turned up for "doctor" and "random guy". Which would you rather believe?
Another clue was that Vicary said the study was done on 45,699 people over 6 weeks. Now, and examination of the cinema he did it in reveals that it is fucking tiny. Putting two and two together, the public managed to make zero, because both of these clues made no difference. Subliminal messages were controlling their minds and any evidence to the contrary was utterly fabricated. In fact, they never even questioned why, if their minds were being controlled, the government let them realise it. Perhaps they just thought their government came from the 'comic book mastermind' school of evil geniuses.