Well-designed ad copy is developed in order to be read without reading. To put another way, the engagement is secondary. The mind must engage in order for the image to be perceived. But it is the activity, the non-subliminal awareness that is neither present nor required.
And this is the act of reading. Not in the sense of the letter but in the basis of perception. The root of how we read messages is in consuming a visual or auditory stimulus, letting it pass through the mind’s filters, and responding to those points which are most critical.
There are two most important advertisement categories: the bold and the subliminal. Bold ads grab your attention. You are caught off guard, distracted, and focused all at once. These are the ads that are the cause of many potential accidents between vehicles and pedestrians. We see and feel and cannot look away.
But the subliminal are often more effective in that they penetrate aspects of our lives without our being aware. The message connects to a portion of our existing mental structure like a parasite. The association no longer becomes with the brand alone but rather with a memory, a sound, a feeling. The brand message works its way into the mind and becomes part of a much older, more developed structure.
And this is the way the mind works already. We build upon an existing infrastructure each time we add new memories, like a new building developed over an ancient cistern – or perhaps lofts built out of a dilapidated warehouse.
Reading is the active connection between these various connected ways. When we read we introduce new tenants into an existing structure. To read an ad subconsciously is to read in the purest sense: the participation in a dialogue that is separate from your conscious awareness.