To U.S. News & World Report
About Subliminal Messages

David Bloomberg

May 16, 1997

Letters Editor
U.S. News & World Report
2400 N Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20037-1196

To the Editor:

Anna Mulrine’s article on subliminal messages ("’I will love this story,’" May 12) reports a well-known urban legend as fact. The legend is the one about the 1950 "Eat popcorn. Drink Coke" subliminal movie ad "study." Unfortunately, Ms. Mulrine apparently did not check on its accuracy. In fact, in a 1962 interview with Advertising Age, James Vicary, the advertising expert who claimed to have increased sales through those subliminal ads during movies, admitted that the original "study" was a fabrication (see also Skeptical Inquirer, Spring 1992), intended only to increase customers for his marketing business.

The fact of the matter is that there is no scientific evidence that subliminal messages work. The original "study" was a hoax, and nothing since then has indicated that they work at all. I urge Ms. Mulrine to check on these types of stories before presenting them as factual in the future.

David Bloomberg, Chairman
Rational Examination
Association of Lincoln Land

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