Join Jason Hartman and film director, Jeff Warrick as they discuss subliminal messaging in our culture. Are we really brainwashed? Many, of course, call this a conspiracy theory, but Jeff feels the real conspiracy is in how nearly all of the media outlets are owned by five companies, who all seem to work in conjunction with one another and all share board of directors. Visit: www.HolisticSurvival.com. There is a lot of potential for influence, including subliminal influence, with the consolidation of mass media.
Jeff’s research for the documentary, “Programming the Nation?” found many instances of subliminal messaging, including in a presidential campaign ad in 2000 for George W. Bush, and Disney films and marketing ads, just to name a few. To learn more, listen at: www.HolisticSurvival.com/podcast. Jeff Warrick talks about how subliminal messaging is clearly being used in many ways. The U.S. Army has psychological operations units that have the capability of broadcasting such messages from a plane to influence people’s behavior. According to the late Wilson Bryan Key, this happened in Waco and was also used to force Manuel Noriega out of the Vatican compound in Panama City. Influencing behaviors can also be done by planting false stories, innocuous words in ads, music, and other propaganda. The documentary doesn’t explore why subliminal messaging is used, but it explores how it has been purportedly used throughout the years and sheds some light on the amount of misinformation out there today regarding this subject, based on recent studies that prove subliminal messaging is effective at least to a small extent.
Jeff Warrick founded Ignite Productions in 2002 to create revolutionary and thought provoking entertainment. He graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 2000 with a double major in Film and Literature, and his screenwriting accomplishments include two original scripts that advanced to the top 5% in the Nicholl Fellowships in 2003 and 2005. With over 10 years of experience with print and web-related media, he is also responsible for dozens of successful marketing, graphic design, multi-media, and technical support related campaigns. He directed “Programming the Nation?” as his personal mission to determine if these manipulative tactics have succeeded, or if subliminal programming belongs in the category of urban legend.
Narrator: Welcome to the Holistic Survival Show with Jason Hartman. The economic storm brewing around the world is set to spill into all aspects of our lives. Are you prepared? Where are you going to turn for the critical life skills necessary to survive and prosper? The Holistic Survival Show is your family’s insurance for a better life. Jason will teach you to think independently, to understand threats, and how to create the ultimate action plan. Sudden change or worst case scenario, you’ll be ready. Welcome to Holistic Survival, your key resource for protecting the people, places, and profits you care about in uncertain times. Ladies and gentlemen, your host, Jason Hartman.
Jason Hartman: Welcome to The Holistic Survival Show. This is your host, Jason Hartman, where we talk about protecting the people, places and profits you care about in these uncertain times. We have a great interview for you today and we will be back with that in less than 60 seconds on The Holistic Survival Show. And, by the way, be sure to visit our website at HolisticSurvival.com. You can subscribe to our blog which is totally free, has loads of great information, and there’s just a lot of good content for you on the site. So make sure you take advantage of that at HolisticSurvival.com. We’ll be right back.
Narrator: Now is your opportunity to get the Financial Freedom Report. The Financial Freedom Report provides financial self-defense in uncertain times and it’s your source for innovative forward-thinking investment property strategies and advice. Get your newsletter subscription today. You get a digital download and even more. The price, only $197. Go to JasonHartman.com to get yours today.
Start of Interview with Jeff Warrick
Jason Hartman: It’s my pleasure to welcome Jeff Warrick to the show. He is the filmmaker behind Programming the Nation which is about the history of subliminal messaging in America. And I remember in high school we were talking in class one day about a book. And on the cover of the book, and I’m sure we’re gonna cover that in this interview with Jeff, was a picture of an alcoholic drink – I think maybe it was vodka, I’m not sure – and in the ice cubes you saw the letters S-E-X, and I’m sure all of you listening have probably seen this very famous example of subliminal messaging. But after watching the film just a few days ago myself, I learned that there’s a lot more to subliminal messaging than just putting it in print ads or flicking the word “Coke” or “Popcorn” on the movie screen real fast. So we’re gonna learn about that today with Jeff and I think you’ll find this interview very interesting. Jeff, welcome. How are you?
Jeff Warrick: Good, thanks. Thanks for having me, Jason. I appreciate it.
Jason Hartman: My pleasure. So you are in the southern California area because you are premiering in Los Angeles right about now for the film and then you also I believe done New York and San Francisco’s next? Is that how it’s going?
Jeff Warrick: Yes, exactly. New York premiered in August last month and LA is at the Laemmle Sunset 5 in West Hollywood, so we’re really excited about that, followed by San Francisco.
Jason Hartman: Fantastic. Tell us what is subliminal? Maybe let’s start with kind of the basics. What is subliminal messaging or subliminal advertising?
Jeff Warrick: Well, I think for most people the term subliminal most people think of what you described, the sex in the ice cubes, phalluses hidden in tobacco and alcohol ads and things like that as well as the blinking of popcorn or coke on theater screens. Our film takes kind of a much wider, more broad approach to explore kind of the history of this in a wide variety of areas. I mean it covers the alleged history of some of these things that we just discussed, and there’s some validity to it and a lot of examples of that, but it goes much further exploring things like subliminals in motion pictures for example and rock music. Advertising is covered very, very thoroughly by a lot of experts as well as politics, government political propaganda that uses subliminal techniques and kind of advanced weapons technologies. So we cover a lot of territory.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, and when you talk about advanced weapons, we recently had Nick Baggage on the show and I know he was in your film as well. So we talked about HAARP and all that stuff, so the listeners heard about that. But tell us more. First of all, you probably believe this is being used on the population. There are some who don’t, some who think this is just a coincidence. It’s kind of like in the film I know you covered the part about playing the music backwards and so forth. A lot of people think oh that’s just…come on. It’s just a big coincidence.
What are your thoughts? Can we know definitively if these images and so forth are really being placed in advertising and this is really happening or is it really subject to debate?
Jeff Warrick: Well, I think it is very debatable. Let me start by saying I went into this as a skeptic myself. I actually thought it would be kind of fun to debunk the whole subliminal messaging theory, and when I started interviewing similar experts I found out my own predisposed notions were kind of flipped upside down and started doing a complete 180 on my philosophy and my belief on this stuff. Clearly, there’s plenty of examples that it’s being used. I don’t think that’s even a doubt, in my mind, at all anymore. How it gets inserted, why it’s inserted, those are still questions that I still have that I did not walk away with in the production of the documentary.
For example, in Disney films, there’s a lot of examples of this. Why is it put there? I mean I don’t think Walt Disney sent the commanding order down to his graphic designers and his artists to insert this stuff. Maybe it’s disgruntled artists that are doing it. But it’s clearly there.
Jason Hartman: Maybe it’s like a computer hacker who’s just playing a joke or something like that?
Jeff Warrick: Absolutely. I mean there could be a variety of reasons. But when it comes to music, there’s clear examples of it being used, as well as in advertising and in government, in politics, and by our military. So it’s clearly being used. I’ve seen more than enough evidence and give plenty of examples of ways that it’s being used in all these areas. The question is really still for me what effect does this have on people? And so that’s kind of what we try to explore in the film.
Jason Hartman: Before you go to what effect it has on people, which we definitely want to talk about that, give us some examples of maybe some more specific examples – I gave some general ones and so did you – of where it’s being used or where you think it’s most likely true and maybe less subject to debate whether it’s there or not.
Jeff Warrick: Well, one of the most eye-opening sessions for me in the film and information that I learned was the fact that it was at one point being used in department stores as an anti-theft technique, using it as what was called a black box. I mean there was a Time Magazine article that was written in 1979 about an inventor by the name of Hal C. Becker who invented this black box that basically uses subliminal messaging in department stores, whispered messages below the threshold of consciousness saying things like “I am honest – I do not steal” repetitively, over and over again, while people are shopping. And the article actually goes on to explain how it significantly reduced shop lifting rates in a number of department stores that it was being tested it. So since then it’s kind of gone underground. I did attempt to try to go into a few stores to see if it’s being used and kind of some humorous moments in the film with me trying to explore that, but I could not get any answers on it. So that’s just one area that people are totally unaware of. And, if you think about it, a lot of people might be “Well, big deal”. So I’ll walk into a store and they’re whispering these messages.
Jason Hartman: That’s a good thing that people aren’t stealing, right, or shoplifting?
Jeff Warrick: It’s a good thing. But, at the same time, I mean let’s face it – the effects of subliminal messaging are really vast. It really varies I think from person to person and what type of effect it has could be all over the map. I mean our minds are very unexplored areas, just like the universe in a lot of ways. How much do we know about that? Our minds are kind of very similar to that. I like making that comparison because people kind of get it. But I think if you’re walking into a department store and they’re using messages without your knowledge, there should be some kind of a disclaimer on the window that at least lets you know, hey, they’re using these kind of techniques. And if you think about what other messages could they be sending us, I mean they could just as easily insert messages like buy more, shop more, there’s an excellent sale going on at aisle 11. So those are things that I would be concerned about with that kind of technology.
Jason Hartman: The government using it, that’s interesting. What is the government doing?
Jeff Warrick: Well, I think with government propaganda in general, a lot of it happens at a subconscious level, but we found some really clear examples of subliminal messaging in some ads that were run in the 2000 election for example. There was an ad by the Republican National Committee for George W. Bush, his campaign, which blipped the word “rats”. It was actually using the end of the word bureaucrats, but it was discussing the difference in philosophies between the health care plans that the democrats and republicans had, and it was on stream for about, I don’t know, 1/30th of a second, and it was outrage when people saw this. It actually ran for about 1 ½ news cycles and Bush actually had to step forward and defend himself on these claims.
Jason Hartman: And then he couldn’t say the word subliminal properly when he tried.
Jeff Warrick: Which actually is an excellent way of no plausibility or how could he have been involved if he can’t even pronounce the word, right?
Jason Hartman: Yeah, he seemed too dumb to understand the concept. So, yeah, it was kind of funny. It really was. So maybe this stuff is being used. What was interesting that I learned from the film is about the history of it when I guess the first example, if I recall correctly, was the movie theater example in the 50’s, right? And a lot of people have heard about this.
Jeff Warrick: Yeah, the Vickery experiment.
Jason Hartman: The Vickery experiment. Okay, and a lot of people have heard about this at one time or another. But, just in case they haven’t or to refresh their memory, why don’t you tell them what happened?
Jeff Warrick: Well, in 1957, a marketing researcher by the name of James Vickery claimed to have done this elaborate experiment where he brought people to, while they’re watching the movie Picnic with Kim Novak at a New Jersey movie theater, he claimed to have inserted the words “Hungry”, “Eat popcorn”, and “Drink Coca-Cola” during the movie at something like 1/3000 of a second, using a device known as what’s called a tachistoscope. So it’s completely separate from the projector that they’re using to display the movie. And he claimed that he increased the consumption of these products enormously. So this really outraged people. I mean at the time it caused a huge fuss. The government started looking into it. The public demanded to know to what extent it was being used and so on and so forth. Well, 5 years later actually Vickery admitted that he falsified a lot of the information in that experiment and it’s become questionable to what extent it even took place at all.
Now, there have been other experiments following that, and I mean it is possible. I mean a lot of these other experiments have shown that you can increase in consumption with innocuous words like “Drink Coca-Cola” and “Eat popcorn” but definitely not to the extent that he claimed based on these newer experiments. So that’s kind of one of the urban legends that we explore.
I mean there’s a lot of misinformation and disinformation out there on the subject matter, so that’s kind of why I thought this would be an interesting topic to explore in a film-like media because it’s so visual and a lot of it’s auditory – perfect medium for exploring this in depth and kind of clearing up some of these misconceptions of the technology.
Jason Hartman: What was really interesting to me is what happened after the Vickery experiment where Congress started I guess worrying about the impact of this and basically I guess they were thinking of passing laws against it and then all of the big media organizations rushed in and said that they would self-regulate, right?
Jeff Warrick: That’s exactly what happened, and the National Association of Broadcasters was created as a result to some of this. So if you look at the NAB now, they are clearly one of the largest lobbyists to media groups. All the major conglomerates that own mass media, they’re one of the biggest lobbyists to these groups. So it seems to me like they’re more working in conjunction with one another than they are self-regulating. But, yeah, it’s very fascinating how Congress did step in and it’s caused a huge outrage.
Well, it kind of quelled down in the 60s and in the 70s it resurfaced again with a book by an author by the name of Wilson Brian Key who we were actually lucky enough to get in our film. He’s passed away since then. But Wilson Brian Key’s book, Subliminal Seduction, really kind of brought this subject back into the forefront of American public. So I think that’s definitely something that we explore in the film and the book is really fascinating for people who haven’t read it. He has written a series of books on the subject matter. And then after the books in the 70s, it kind of died down again. So I think, once again, there’s a lot of misinformation out there that we hope to shed some light on with our documentary.
Jason Hartman: Well, going back to kind of the government concept of it, certainly there are many conspiracy theorists out there, but there are also conspiracy facts – actually conspiracies. I mean all it takes is more than one person, that’s the definition, two or more people, right, wanting to make something happen. I mean the formation of The United States was a conspiracy. There were a lot of conspiracies out there. But is it possible there are subliminal messaging campaigns going on as part of a large global conspiracy to influence the population? I mean you just look at how we are just bathed in this world of media nowadays and it is so powerful. And I have traveled all around the world and I’ve been to 64 countries and his is not subliminal I guess, but it’s just amazing to me how the reach of American media, it is in every part of the globe, young kids dressed like the kids on MTV. It is mindboggling the power behind it. But what do you think about sort of the darker side of this? The possible conspiratorial side?
Jeff Warrick: Well, I definitely think that there is a lot of possibility that it’s going on in much larger ways than any of us has any idea of. We talk about conspiracy theories and I get labeled that sometimes. And the film kind of has been mentioned as being in that category by certain people. I think really in the same way that the film tries to expand on the notion of the term subliminal, we really need to, as a society, expand on what a conspiracy is. I mean when you look at mass media like you’re describing – and really there’s only about 4 or 5 companies now that own these huge media conglomerates and they’re global – I mean, they’re in every continent on the planet now – they pretty much own virtually everything that we see, hear, read in newspapers and magazines, at the radio stations, and all the television channels are all owned by several companies. Now, that’s a conspiracy in my opinion. How we let it get to that point in the FCC with you regulating all of this, allowed this to happen, is that’s where the conspiracy’s at.
Jason Hartman: Just to be clear there, what you’re talking about is media consolidation, right?
Jeff Warrick: Yeah, the consolidation of mass media. And so when you look at these 5 companies and they all work in conjunction with one another and they all share boards of directors, so yeah I definitely think there’s huge potential when you have such power amassed in such a small group of companies for a lot of things to be going on and subliminal messages is one of them. But, I mean there are a lot of other examples of how mass media has affected us as a society. And then you described a few just with the way people dressed. I mean there used to be that art imitated life, right? But I think it’s done a 180 where now life much more imitates art than the other way around.
Jason Hartman: And the reason for that I would say is because art now is so much more powerful but also so much more pervasive. It’s just everywhere. I mean when that saying came up, it was probably art was a few things hanging on your wall or a performance you would see, but nowadays we’re just bathed in it, we’re drenched in it really all the time, 24/7.
So talk to us about some of the more evil kind of weaponized things. I just find it interesting and I think it was Manuel Noriega if I’m not mistaken. I believe he was in Panama – this was years ago – at the time. And the US military was trying to get him to come out and they were playing country music he didn’t like through loudspeakers.
Jeff Warrick: Well, the same thing happened in Waco, Texas during the David Koresh Branch Dividian standoff back in ‘93. But, yeah, a lot of people don’t realize there’s other branches of our military within The United States army that are called psychological operations units that their mission is to go in and influence people and ultimately change their behavior so that – obviously, we just shared a couple of examples of the Noreaga thing where they used music. They did this, like I said, in Waco with the Branch Davidians and the messages they were sending to David Koresh. And a lot of them were whispered messages coming from different people and family members and things like that that they were not aware of consciously that were being sent through these. And I have credible sources that have shared this information with me. So it’s definitely much more pervasive and it’s happening on a much broader level than people would realize.
Jason Hartman: What other kinds of weaponry are we talking about here in terms of influencing populations or opponents and so forth?
Jeff Warrick: I mean, they use a lot of techniques and the psychological operations is typically used against warring nations, right? Well, they have C-130s, for example, which are these enormous airplanes that they fly over targeted areas that from way up high they can broadcast the message down to influence whatever audience that they’re targeting. And they can also piggyback subliminal signals on the carrier and subliminally translate other information. So if we’re speaking of Iraq or in the middle east how this is being applied, you have all the people that are on the battlefield or in a population that are, for example, listening to the music, mosque and prayers that are going on on a station. So then you can have these messages broadcast to them that create fear and anxiety on a subconscious level. So that’s one way that they do it. They also plant false stories and they pay journalists to plant fake stories in their newspapers. And when you think about it, how we live in a globalized society today, it has a very severe blowback effect where you plant a story there and it gets quoted back here.
Jason Hartman: Yeah. So, for example, it’s part of I guess we’ll call it a public relations campaign in Iraq or Afghanistan, for example, or Libya. Everyone seems to forget that we’re at war in Libya. And we’re still in Gitmo too, which was another big promise we heard would go away, right? But let’s not go there. So plant a story in the news media over there and with the idea that it will just simply blow back to the US and other countries rather than planting it over here where it may be tougher to get it into the media and through credible sources. So that’s interesting. They’re reverse engineering it, huh?
Jeff Warrick: Exactly. And I mean they do plant fake stories here as well. I mean we explore that in our documentary as well with things like news releases or VNRs is their fault. I mean, this is nothing new. They’ve been using him since World War II, pretty much since the advent of television. Presidents, all the different branches of the government and administrations within the government used basically what are PR campaigns that are produced by public relations organizations. And then they’re sent out in various ways to broadcasters all across the country, all over the world in fact. And a lot of these smaller stations are short on staff, they’re short on funding. So to fill a news hour, they’ll grab some new stories and they’ll insert them into the 6 o’clock news and they’ll present them as new stories, cuz they look just like a reporter doing a segment on whatever it may be that they’re doing. But in reality, what is a PR campaign we’re really being propagandized through public relations media and planting of news stories like that all the time. And I think the Bush administration took this to levels that had never been seen before and all on the taxpayer dollars.
Jason Hartman: Well, how did they do that? What did they do?
Jeff Warrick: For example, they’ll have the flu and drug administration and they’ll go hire a PR company to produce this fake news story – looks like a news story – where they’re talking about something that has to do with the FDA’s agenda on a particular product or on a certain drug, for example, on their viewpoints with pharmaceutical companies, and then they’ll send them out to these news stations. They’ll pick them up. They’ll run them and usually people are sitting there watching this going “Hmm, maybe pharmaceutical companies really are looking after our best interest”.
Jason Hartman: Is that different than any president or any administration?
Jeff Warrick: No. But, I mean, the levels at which they were used far surpasses any other administration in the history of the usage of VNRs. So that’s documented.
Jason Hartman: But a VNR is just really another form of a news release or a press release. It’s just done with video so it’s more powerful because it’s got audio and images and so forth. But people put fake news releases out there and mislead with things and so forth. And it’s really just the same thing expanded to more media, right?
Jeff Warrick: Absolutely.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, interesting.
Jeff Warrick: No, absolutely. And it doesn’t exactly fall in the traditional term of subliminal either. I wouldn’t call that subliminal, but in the same way I mean it’s just the way in which media operates at such a subconscious level. This definitely falls into that category I think.
Jason Hartman: Right. And here’s one that is maybe more on the border of subliminal and advertising and you covered in the film which I thought was interesting because I’ve never really seen it covered in a documentary before, and that’s the concept of product placements in movies. So this isn’t subliminal per say by the definition of its hidden – it’s not hidden – but it definitely is not overt advertising. And you never know when it’s advertising or when it’s not. The movie, when the guy picks up a can of coke or drives a certain car or wears a certain watch or whatever, I mean the product placement business is expanded quite a bit over the last few decades, right?
Jeff Warrick: Oh my god, without a doubt, mostly, a lot of films that rely on funding specifically from product placement to produce their films. So, yeah, now it just shows you how you have mass media and companies that produce all the media, including Hollywood and all the studios that are tied into that system, in conjunction with the other corporations. It’s with all other products. I mean, when we think about conspiracies I think we really need to expand our notion of those things because obviously this is a conspiracy as well.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, we sure do. Well, what else would you like people to know about subliminal advertising and this kind of influence it has on us?
Jeff Warrick: Well, I think most of us have a tendency to think that we’re uninfluenced by advertising. We think, oh yeah, those dummies over there – it’s effecting them but either maybe I mute the commercials when they come on or I don’t pay attention to them. But studies have actually really shown that most of us do a lot of things – we think and have a lot of thoughts for reasons that we’re totally unaware of. And the impact of this stuff definitely reaches all of us. The only question is really to what extent. I mean – you think about it – researchers have shown that we only use 5% of our brains. So what’s the other 95% doing? I mean, it’s all probably working on a subconscious level. And so to target that area of the mind with things like this is pretty insidious. It really is something that we all need to question, we all need to become more aware of, and really I think that’s the goal of the film is to kind of create a heightened sense of alertness and raise that level of consciousness because when you do that it no longer really affects you on a subliminal level if you’re consciously aware of the techniques that they’re using.
Jason Hartman: Well, Jeff, can people buy the DVD at the website?
Jeff Warrick: It hasn’t been released officially yet, but we’re getting really close to where we’re gonna do that. So I’d say within the next month it definitely will be available for purchase on our website which is ProgrammingTheNation.com. And aside from that, there’s a whole host of other information on other screens that may be coming to your area. We’re planning a screening in Ashland, Oregon, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and little one night screenings all across the country. So definitely check out the site. There’s a blog, there’s other clips, there’s a ton of information there.
Jason Hartman: Fantastic. Well, Jeff Warrick, thank you so much for joining us and thank you for enlightening us on the programming of the nation that is going on and I urge everyone to go out and see the movie.
Jeff Warrick: Thanks, Jason. I appreciate it.
Announcer: What’s great about the shows you’ll find on JasonHartman.com is that if you want to learn how to finance your next big real estate deal, there’s a show for that. If you want to learn more about food storage and the best way to keep those onions from smelling up everything else, there’s a show for that. If you honestly want to know more about business ethics, there’s a show for that. And if you just want to get away from it all and need to know something about world travel, there’s even a show for that. Yep, there’s a show for just about anything, only from JasonHartman.com or type in “Jason Hartman” in the iTunes store.
Narrator: Thank you for joining us today for The Holistic Survival Show, protecting the people, places and profits you care about in uncertain times. Be sure to listen to our Creating Wealth Show which focuses on exploiting the financial and wealth creation opportunities in today’s economy. Learn more at www.JasonHartman.com or search “Jason Hartman” on iTunes. This show is produced by The Hartman Media Company, offering very general guidelines and information. Opinions of guests are their own and none of the content should be considered individual advice. If you require personalized advice, please consult an appropriate professional – information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. (Image: Flickr |avlyz)
Transcribed by Ralph
* Read more from Holistic Survival
The Holistic Survival Team