Advertisers Might Literally Be Trying to Invade Our Dreams

Do you ever notice when using an internet device that the advertisers seem to know you? That the items advertised to you very tailored to your personal search history? Welcome to modern advertising!

Photo: Jon Tyson/Unsplash

It is intelligent, intrusive, and built on a slew of algorithms and more. It is designed so that you see the adverts that fit with what you have been searching for online, what you have bought recently, and, yes, what you have been speaking about with others. That is something that many feel deeply uncomfortable with, and it is easy to see why. With that being said, though, did you know that advertisers are trying to build a way to get into our dreams?

That’s right: companies want you going to be dreaming about buying their products and hiring their services. This is dystopian in the extreme, but it is something that is taking place in advertising today.

How are adverts aiming to influence our dreams?

Scientists are beginning to slowly but surely raise the alarm about this kind of intrusive advertising. Coors, the popular beer, used a form of advertising recently that was aimed at actually getting into your dreams. People would be ‘programmed’ into wanting to go to the store and buy some Coors beer. People were shown a short video before going to sleep, with the hope they would wake up desiring a Coors.

Photo: Nick Fewings/Unsplash

Now, ignoring the perils of sending people to bed dreaming about booze, this is insane. By playing a soundscape in the background that would last for around eight hours, too, this advertising campaign would make people more or less dream about that refreshing Coors taste.

The campaign has been warned by neuroscience experts like Bob Stickgold as dangerous and potentially damaging in the long term. This form of ‘dream manipulation’ might seem weird enough when aimed at getting you to buy beer; what about if it is used for manipulation of people in a political, religious, and/or cultural way? That would be terrifying.

As such, there are calls for more intense regulation to be brought in to help curb such advertising campaigns. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has made it clear that subliminal advertising will be watched, managed, and restricted accordingly.

Advertising is important for business revenue, we get that. But some advertising campaigns take liberties with morality. While the idea of literally invading a consumer's dreams might sound great to a business, for the people buying products it is a nightmare waiting to begin.