Are we all brainwashed? Or have we lost our minds? The History of Subliminal Messaging in America


jeff Warrick, director


As a kid in the mid-1970's, I remember my father having read the book, "Subliminal Seduction" by Wilson Bryan Key. He told me how they were flashing brief messages in theaters during films, (which I loved watching on the big screen), and that subconsciously they could make us hungrier and thirstier for popcorn and soda.

In the mid-80's as a teenager, a youth pastor at the church I attended often spoke about how subliminal messages in rock-and-roll were guilty of influencing listeners to take drugs, worship Satan, and commit suicide.

I believed these stories to be "fact" for many years. It also got me thinking about what other messages "they" – or anyone – might be sending us. Could such techniques impact consumption of other products, lifestyle and political opinions, or even self-esteem?

In 2000 upon graduating from UCSC with a double major in Film and Literature, I spent the next 5 years working in advertising sales, graphic design, web design and digital media. I became aware of the numerous stories and allegations of subliminal messaging that ad agencies were using to motivate us unconsciously. I always wondered if such techniques were really closer to folklore than fact?

After 9/11, when "Conspiracy Theorists" and "9/11 Truthers" exclaimed that the corporate media and Bush Administration were beating the drums for war, I started questioning if a systematic and potentially subliminal attempt was taking place to program the nation. Eventually, public consensus was gained, followed by the House and Senate resolution allowing Bush the authority to invade Iraq.

Since then, nearly 6,000 U.S. Servicemen have lost their lives in the "war on terror," along with almost 3,500 others, including civilian contractors, journalists, academics, and other coalition troops, ( Over 100,000 Iraqi civilians have also died, ( The financial cost of this now totals over $1.1 Trillion, (

However, no weapons of mass destruction have ever been discovered in Iraq, Osama bin Laden has not yet been found in Afghanistan, and the United States is now in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

It was the culmination of all this, that finally sparked enough curiosity in me to spend the past 6 years of my life researching, writing, and conducting interviews for the production of this documentary.

My goal was not just to create the first comprehensive project on subliminal messaging in America. But, to also gather the facts and decide for myself if advertisers, pop-culture and the government have succeeded in "Programming the Nation?"

Now, I'm excited to offer you the opportunity to take this journey with me and judge for yourself. One thing I'll promise, is that no matter what verdict you reach, you'll never look at mass-media the same way again.

view the trailer
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