HC Deb 06 November 1958 vol 594 c1094
28. Mr. Stonehouse

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the dangers of the use of subliminal techniques for advertising and other purposes; and if he will take steps to ban their use.

Sir D. Eccles

As I understand it, these techniques can be used in cinemas and on the television. Their use in cinemas would be subject to the local licensing authority, and as regards television. I would refer the hon. Member to the Answer given yesterday by my right hon. Friend the Postmaster-General to the right hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Ness Edwards).

Mr. Stonehouse

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the very welcome lead given by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, which has declared these sinister techniques professionally unacceptable? Will he follow that lead and ban these techniques from all kinds of communication? Further to that, can he say what is being done about the importation of American horror films which use these techniques?

Sir D. Eccles

It is really not the Board of Trade's responsibility to ban these techniques from all forms of communication. I think my responsibility rests probably on the second part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question, which referred to the import of films. If they contain these practices and they are found to be bad, we certainly shall see what can be done about it.

Mr. Jay

Are these subliminal techniques being used by the Prime Minister's personal advertising staff?

Sir D. Eccles

My right hon. Friend has no need of any extraordinary techniques.