Dear readers, with this paper I have set myself the objective of examining in depth an entity that has aroused curiosity from time immemorial and has been the long-standing theme of the Medical Sciences and Fine Arts: the Dream. In this case I was interested in the osmotic relationship that exists between dream and day, catalysis that from and to sleep, acts as an exogenous and endogenous force that influences our mind on cognitive and behavioral aspects in the Decision Marketing process. In addition to a purely scientific analysis, scanning the knowledge handed down so far about the nature of the dream, I wanted to examine a whole series of possible scenarios, always aimed at the resolution and control of a topic probably still quite obscure in the world of Marketing.
(I suggest to accompany the reading of this my writing with listening to the following music, in this sequence: 1) “Rocky mountains”, by Wendy Carlos, song belonging to the soundtrack of the film “The Shining”; 2) “Piano Concerto No.1 in D minor BWV 1052” by Johann Sebastian Bach; 3) “Requiem – Affirming” from the album “Love Cannot Bear (Soundscapes – Live In The USA)” by Robert Fripp)
Suddenly everything is clear, we are awake. The world, reality, this reality, this earthly but at the same time abstract dimension due to its eschatological / temporal inviolability, is reformed around us, from where we left it the day before. We are probably actors and creators of our reality, but there are forces beyond our control, such as consciousness, fate, and dream. One day after another, the circadian cycle establishes that from sleep and dream life is born, which is entrusted to them at night, it is therefore plausible a certain veracity of a dream reality, which is parallel but detached from reality presumably true, that of the day. I found myself thinking several times in this life of mine, that I was actually already dead, and simply being reminded, in the eternal dream of an infinite afterlife, of the days of my past earthly life, as if I leafing through a book or a photo album.
(Gunnar Fischer – A frame from Wild Strawberries, a film directed by Ingmar Bergman, 1957)
So what is true reality? That of a movie? That of a dream? That of the day? You will realize, in the supposed real life, that we all play a part, like in a movie, and that instead we are really ourselves in the dream. We are guided by it, in our subconscious (attention to the difference between the unconscious and the subconscious, the first much less accessible and less controllable, the second – a discovery by the Austrian psychoanalysis father Sigmund Freud, neurologist, psychoanalyst and philosopher – much closer to the layer of conscious although not fully demonstrated on an empirical / scientific level), is a belief that has taken root on me over the years, although we do not often remember the dreams we have (the hippocampi turn off in the REM phase of sleep, elements described below in this article, determines the fact of not remembering if not the last part of the dream just before awakening where the reactivation of the hippocampus occurs; whereas if the individual wakes up in the NREM phase – also later described – there will be no memory whatsoever of dreams had).
“The only truth is to learn to free ourselves from the insane passion for the truth.” (Umberto Eco)
Oniro (in archaic Greek mythology, the personification of the dream) is a force that goes to amalgamate with the essence of our mind built brick by brick, over time, in matter, in space. The dreamlike reappears in the form of a flash in many moments of our vigil, Morpheus with a bunch of poppies touches our eyelids, awakening the illusions of the dream from which we come, and influencing our perception of everyday life, of people and objects. We use our mind, our dreams, and our illusions, forming a perceptual amalgam that is detached from any universe, or even will live beyond death and infinity.
(Robby Müller – A frame from Until the End of the World, film directed by Wim Wenders, 1991)
Is there therefore a way, a tool, to act on this perceptive mixture of Man? Is there a way of interacting not only with the neuronal mechanisms of a waking mind, but also of a dreamy mind, in order to conduct a marketing strategy that also acts on our dreams and our illusions? Something that therefore acts on the unavoidable aspects of our everyday life, such as the proliferation of dreamlike labyrinths that, as circular shapes, refer to one’s own beginning and to one’s incessantly extinction.
(John Alcott – Jack Nicholson / Jack Torrance, in a frame from The Shining, philosophical masterpiece of Stanley Kubrick’s cinema, 1980)
It would be applicable to everyone. A message, long or short, passes through us, colors us with its color, illuminates us with its light, makes us ill of its darkness, makes us vibrate with its musicality, and we, at the level of the conscious, place protective barriers or not.
But even those who are clinging to simple concepts, to tangible thematic spheres on which the foundations of daily life are placed and proclaim themselves unassailable to the needs induced by the marketing offer, are actually unconsciously receptor (probably even at the level of the unconscious not removed – concept introduced by Mauro Mancia, psychoanalyst and professor of human physiology – in close correlation with implicit, procedural memory. Indeed, the existence of a repressed unconscious is difficult to prove, because often the energy, the force necessary to keep the event hidden and the excitement is of such intensity to press anyway somewhere, causing physical or behavioral symptoms in the long run sources of great discomfort in living. Freud spoke of “the return of the repressed”) of ephemeral messages, very short, coming from the forces of a perimetric I, unrecognized but omnipresent, so also towards these people it makes sense a marketing strategy that fixes short-term images (about half a second, so I’m not talking about subliminal images, a technique that I believe is outdated and unethical) that can be absorbed by the visual associative area placed in the occipital lobe of the brain, an image that is then transmitted to five other areas, that is the unconscious one placed on the hemisphere right, that of implicit memory placed on striated amygdala and cerebellum, that of explicit short-term memory (prefrontal associative cortex, where the conscious part resides according to Eric Kandel, US neurologist, psychiatrist and neuroscientist) and – but in a second passage – a long term (hippocampus); and, in the form of oneiric matter, that of dreams, that is, the hot zone – posterior cortical hot zone – placed just above the nape of the neck (this is a recent discovery, previously it was believed that dreams were generated by the rhomboid head).
Basically, an image, even if observed for a very short instant without paying attention to it, triggers the visual perception and recognition section, after which it is fixed in the unconscious and in the conscious, and can in all likelihood reappear in sleep due to activation of brain hot zone (according to the Swiss psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and anthropologist Carl Gustav Jung, the part of us that dreams is the soul, whose language is of symbolic essence and transcends, for its universality, all the languages of the Earth), or during waking in the form of dreamlike flashes (for activation of the hippocampus and perception nervous circuits) – also at the level of internal voices (coming from the Area of Broca, cortical area positioned in the left frontal lobe, deputed to articulated language, and discovered by Paul Pierre Broca, French anthropologist, neurologist and surgeon) – or simply subconsciously, to then inspire us and influence us in our choices. In particular, the “Lucid Dreams” or “Onironautica“, that is dreams where one is conscious and aware that one is dreaming (they are typical of REM sleep. Our I uses lucid dreams to face and overcome one’s fears, enhance one’s qualities or create new ones), constitute a sort of general test that will then bring the results into our day life; the awareness of being in front of a lucid dream is determined by the evidently incongruent details typical of the dream.
(Raphael – Vision of a Knight, probably part of a diptych together with the Three Graces, and datable to 1503-1504, oil on panel – London, National Gallery)
It should be kept in mind that all people dream, even if they are deprived of the REM phase (an acronym for “Rapid Eye Movement”, called the “paradoxical sleep” phase, which is rapid and desynchronized because it contrasts a brain activity equal to that of the vigil, to some immobility of the body according to some scientists due to an instinct of protection from the actions of our dreams – there are exceptions, about the bodily immobility, due to the parasomnias in the REM phase – the REM phase is repeated, as indeed all stages at each cycle, several times during sleep, and it is the phase that normally precedes our natural awakening – a condition for which we easily remember the last dream made -, a phase also where the brain waves have a high frequency in terms of Hertz, they are called Theta), as it is demonstrated on an empirical and scientific level that we dream during the entire span of sleep, therefore during all its subsets – “essential sleep” (determined by deep sleep and REM sleep), whole cycles, stages, and even in the NREM phases (“Non-Rapid Eye Movement”, called “Orthodox dream” slow and synchronized phase, which includes the “Deep effective dream” stage characterized by Delta brain waves, rather slow; during the NREM phases the muscles are not paralyzed. In Phase 2 NREM there may be persistent nightmares of the PTSD type, which stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; the other types of nightmares are experienced in the REM phase).
(Rio Caño Cristales – Commonly called “the river of the five colors” or “the liquid rainbow”, it flows through the mountainous complex of the Serranía de la Macarena, Colombia, and flows into the Guayabero river)
The persuasive ability of such ephemeral images discussed a little earlier, and which obviously do not go too far into loading the storyboard of the film of images that we look at every day, is potentially perhaps even superior to those images long observed, or long imposed on our eyes. But why does this happen? The question is that we are led to discover, more or less deeply (it is obviously subjective), things, to avoid that state of discomfort and insecurity deriving from the fact of being put in the dark about a fact. Not seeing induced is something unacceptable, terribly distressing but at the same time intriguing.
(Giorgio De Chirico – Mystery and Melancholy of a Street, 1914, oil on canvas – New Canaan, USA, Resor Collection)
So the fact that an image is immediately submitted to us, but without giving us the time to fully metabolize it, puts our subconscious in the condition of having to re-face that image, for example by repeating it during sleep. We will then have the effect of a repeated dissimulated message, an almost – but not entirely – phantom image that returns to corroborated intermittence, to become the generator of a scrutinizing motion towards the unconscious in order to appropriate ourselves in conclusion of the object entity of that image. In this sense we are a sort of Argo Panoptes, giant with 100 eyes of Greek mythology. Be careful not to confuse “not see induced” (from an external will), “perceptual blindness” (it occurs when a stimulus that enters our visual field is not processed by the brain and, therefore, is missing the perception of what we should have seen) and “attentional blindness” (the inability to notice an unexpected stimulus present in the visual field when we are busy with other tasks that require attention); I am of the opinion that none of these three blindness preclude the storage and / or formation of images and sounds in our mind, at least at the level of the unconscious.
The materialisation of an object three-dimensionally in our hands, starting from an image imprinted in the unconscious by a short time of exposure, is certainly an interesting goal, both for us actors of this metamorphic material journey, and for who is the generating counterpart supply.
I firmly believe in the fact that the human brain sees and hears more than the consciousness registers, and is therefore able to store and process, without our knowledge, even the messages revealed in short fractions of time (I speak of a time of about half a second). Wanting to exemplify, the spot of a car of a certain brand (which I call “X”) filmed along an extra-urban road, where in the frame of a turn circumnavigating the branches of an oak we can glimpse in the distance, for half a second, a station of service of a specific brand (called “Y”), and after that, at the end of the spot, the information on the date on which it will be possible to go to the dealership to test the car (call-to-action number 1) is well highlighted.
The illuminated sign, the bright, almost psychedelic, almost disturbing colors, in contrast with the silhouette of a shadow man, the telescopic flags bearing payoffs and imperative slogans (call-to-action number 2, to construct a rationality fraught with inferences logical-consequential for which a premise leads to a conclusion, the latter which becomes the premise of a further conclusion, on the model of the geometry of Euclid, ancient Greek mathematician, model taken up later by the scheme of the deductive syllogism of Aristotle, philosopher, scientist and ancient Greek logic), of that station of service (therefore a strongly contrasting image with respect to the tenuous and sober tones of the spot of X), even if not even metabolized by the conscience of the user in target (of X) watching the spot, have been recorded by his brain species at the level of the unconscious, and the image will recur to him in various forms and at various moments of waking and sleeping, as it were the intermittent concentric appearance of a Jakov Petrovič Goljadkin minor (literary topos of the double) by Fėdor Dostoevsky’s The Double, or, to paraphrase, a figure absolutely to be identified before its turning into a negative alien metamorphic Kafkaesque entity that requires mirroring and to see the ruinous state of his own identity (a force therefore inverse to that of the portrait of Dorian Gray by Wilde who in his ruinous metamorphosis pushed the protagonist away from being observed).
(Egon Schiele – Self-portrait, 1912, oil on canvas – Vienna, Leopold Museum)
The day that user goes to try the réclame car, X, if he meets a Y distributor on the road, will most likely be subconsciously forced to make a refueling stop there.
The perceptual phenomenon described above can be defined by an acronym that I personally coin as “TLS“, “Threshold Level Stimuli“, literally “stimulus on the threshold level” or at the level of the threshold between the conscious and the unconscious; while Cross-Branding is the name of the academic marketing strategy, which combines two different but complementary types of products/services, of two different brands. I believe that the combination of these two techniques is very effective, but even more profitable if the procedure is two-way, that is, taking up the spot described earlier, reversing the parts and weights, we would obtain the following result: publicity of the service station, starting frame of the whole, from above to descend diagonally (following the diagonal of the service area) zooming, and once the camera has landed it gives a quick 180° overview of customers and cars, and among these, for a short instant (always about half a second), here is the image of that X of the spot described above, in this case having as its shape the large effigy of the brand and the written test drive (call-to action number 2) on the whole bodywork. The spot then continues by making appear in overlay the Y point collection gifts, and concludes by informing about the conditions and expiry date of the promotion (call-to action number 1).
Now the association between the two brands at the level of unconscious is concrete, it is complete. If then the hypothesis is verified so, in the same detachment of advertising on TV, or in related videos and in sequence eg. on Youtube, the target user (of X and / or Y) has the opportunity to see first one, and then the other spot mentioned above, it is crystal clear that in his perceptual amalgam the binary message will be received with total success. There will therefore be a concrete possibility that the person, if a frequent visitor to the Y, evaluates or even chooses X as the next car, or as said if X’s loyal customer, or anyway already an estimator and next to purchase, chooses Y for refueling.
Scenario number 1 can be enclosed in this conceptual cognitive equation:
Reading of the equation: spot 1, that is Human (summation brand χ + brand y) to Human (during summation vigil and sleep cyclic infinity) in relation to cross-branding marketing technique (summation brand χ + brand y) for call-to- action 1 + Threshold Level Stimuli of call-to-action 2, which generate intermittent concentric wavelength of brand y; bidirectional relationship with spot 2, that is Human (summation brand y + brand χ) to Human (during summation vigil and sleep cyclic infinity) in relation to cross-branding marketing technique (summation brand y + brand χ) for call-to-action 1 + Threshold Level Stimuli of call-to-action 2, which generate intermittent concentric wavelength of brand χ
Of course, the audio component also has its not negligible importance. A sound, even if transient and faint, reaches the most distracted of people and, although it is not conscious of it, it reaches the right and left auditory cortex, placed on the temporal lobes of the brain, after which the information is transmitted to the motor cortex placed on the right parietal lobe, and simultaneously to the area of the unconscious, to the area of implicit memory, to that of explicit memory in the short term and – in a second step – in the long term, and is also transmitted to the hot zone of the dream. So, as with images, even a sound, or a music, can reappear in a more or less amplified way one or more times in the moments of sleep, or of waking.
I think the sound can go where the image cannot, depends on the sensitivity of a person, it probably also originates from how efficient our sensory capabilities are, but it is not just this. I am convinced that there is a 6th, a 7th and an 8th sense (going beyond the 12 senses of Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian esotericist and theosophist). The 6th sense, is the sense of intuition, especially on the presence of something, or of someone; also defined as the meaning of the omen, probably more developed by anxious people. The 7th sense, is the ability to see even in conditions of blindness, for a refinement of sensory perception: to feel an image. The 8th sense, is being able to hear in the condition of deafness, also in this case for a sensory acuity: to see a sound. Think for example of Ludwig Van Beethoven, he became completely deaf in the last years of his life, but nonetheless he was able to write the Ninth Symphony (Choral Symphony) in D major for Soli, Chorus and Orchestra Op. 125.
(Andy Warhol – Beethoven, serigraphy, one of the last works of the father of Pop Art, 1987 – Private collection)
Depending on our life history (even in terms of physical and anamnestic inheritance) and habits learned, combined with our “vocation” (we are born poets, we are born scientists, we are born composers, we are born photographers, we do not learn to be: either there is, or it does not exist. This concept is naturally the basis, academic studies are still a necessary step, I would not want tomorrow to be all mobile cell phone poets/photographers, or composers through some free software downloaded on the internet), we have developed more a specific hemisphere of our brain and therefore more specific brain capacity, while we could even show difficulties (even dyslexic) in the brain functions of the opposite hemisphere.
A good interaction between the two hemispheres through the nerve bundles of the corpus callosum then determines a correct balance and a widening of the cerebral capacities therefore a greater exploitation of the potentialities of the brain; this is the case of people with creative thinking. I also add that our inheritance, our life lived, our identity have determined the intensification of certain senses with respect to others, that is the greater sensitivity of certain sensory receptors (the classification based on the type of stimulus distinguishes them in Chemioceptors – connected to olfactory cortex and gustatory cortex of the temporal lobe -, Meccanoceptors – connected to primary Somatosensory Cortex, S1, areas 3,2,1 of Brodmann, and to Secondary Somatosensory Cortex, S2 parietal lobe -, Thermoceptors – connected to Brodmann area 3b -, Photocectors – connected to visual associative area, occipital lobe of the brain -, Acoustics – connected to right and left auditory cortex, temporal lobes of the brain).
It is therefore true that each of us, by means of what has just been expressed, is the receiver and in turn the vehicle of the incoming messages, in a personal, unique way, which reworks the information received, shaping them on his own perception, on his own type of metabolization/generation emotions, on his own intellectual characteristics, on his own know-how, on his own cultural drivers, on his own history, and on his own lineage; here an objective difficulty emerges, an imperishable concept of marketing, that is the inhomogeneity of use by users, which underlies a special afflatus in combining texts, sounds/music, images/videos, to seal a correct transmission of one or more concepts towards the perceptive human amalgam of each individual, not therefore exclusively but inclusive towards the entire target thought.
There are elements that take particular hold as they are parallel, they are “self-sufficient organisms” that open and close a concept, a form; this allows them to coexist with advertising messages and be easily accessible to everyone, without exception. An example: comedy, especially if level, is an art that passes through, gives life to, and lives if we want, the user, who does not oppose a barrier and receives it, even if he is depressed. A spot that contains some comedy of a certain quality, as well as producing beneficial effects on physical and mental health (the pituitary gland produces beta-endorphins – a neurotransmitter similar in shape and function to opiates – while the pineal gland, or epiphysis, secretes serotonin, the trypamine that improves mood), probably consequently remains effectively impressed in the explicit short and long term memory.
But let’s move on to another scenario: first I exemplified a Decision Marketing process starting from a cross-branding action that used the technique I coined as TLS (Threshold Level Stimuli).
Now let’s see if it is possible to think of a marketing strategy that goes to act directly during sleep and the person’s dream. The dream selects perceptions according to a message addressed to the dreamer, and can be auditory, olfactory, gustatory, tactile or chironomic and visual.
Regardless of the fact that the anomaly of the lagophthalmos, or sleep with eyelids not tightened, personally gives me an opening to the possibility that at the level of the unconscious are recorded images as if you were awake, we have more certainty that sounds, smells, heat/cold, the touch, lights/darkness, and any other external agent that “crosses” the sleeping individual, influence the composition of the dream in real time, especially during REM sleep. Not only: according to the researcher Anat Arzi, neurobiologist of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, during sleep we can receive, store information, through the sensory receptors and the related annexed areas of the brain they trigger. Information that at the unconscious level is reworked and used subconsciously during the waking state.
People are so tormented by information, often futile, during the day, that at the level of the conscious they create a protective barrier that eliminates them from explicit memory in the short and long term. It is very probable that if on one side an image, a sound, a concept, of little interest and that they are voluntarily discarded consciously by the individual – and therefore relegated to the part of the unconscious removed – they will hardly recur to him (not even subconsciously), on the other hand it is possible to claim that some visual, sound, tactile, gustatory information etc. of quality, which act (during waking or during sleep) directly on the unconscious not removed, especially if the person is on target they will take much more hold on him or they will be stored, reworked, and subconsciously used during the vigil (probably also during lucid dreams).
The theory of Hypnopedia (also called Sleep-learning) must therefore be re-evaluated, that is the ability that our brain has to learn even during sleep, if stimulated. This theory was pioneered by Lawrence Leshan, an American psychologist. Transcranial magnetic stimulation is not necessarily obligatory: our normal sensory perceptions during sleep cause the brain to register any exogenous information. A transcranial magnetic stimulation with electrodes allows to stimulate the patient’s brain during certain phases of sleep where parasomnias and nightmares (REM phase) and PTSD persistent nightmares (phase 2 NREM) occur, of which I have previously spoken in my paper, as therapy able to interrupt this type of negative flow and bring the individual back on brain waves that allow him to have no nightmares and other sleep disorders.
At the same time, it is possible to draw the following inference, namely that an individual, regardless of whether he needs it to alleviate sleep disorders or not, may request, therefore on demand, to receive exogenous stimulations from humans or devices in order to obtain the following results: make sleep more enjoyable, learn certain information, receive advertising suggestions that his unconscious registers, processes, and reproposes in the form of a subconscious guide to the decision marketing process. As I have argued, there will be a certain conviction in people that information transiting through the conscious layer (TLS) and stored by the unconscious not removed is good information, which can guide us subconsciously in a profitable way.
(George Frederic Watts – Endymion, 1872 – Private Collection)
Clearly, the type of stresses during sleep must be controlled, as intensity, with respect to those that we are able to have when awake, as it is vital to avoid a negative effect, or even the awakening of the individual. Wanting to exemplify, an individual asks on demand through the new generation Human Neurosensory App that I call “W”, to receive exogenous stimulations during sleep, through activation of digital hub and home automation (interconnection therefore of more devices). The person wants to decide what kind of vacation he wants to do in the near summer holidays; a half propensity is present, towards a spa-resort package, but at this point the name of the spa chosen in relation to what place, what services, what budget, and in relation to the person’s cultural drivers is needed.
The Human neurosensorial app W, recorded this information from the profile previously filled in by the user, will propose during his sleep, a certain type of vibrations, a certain type of sounds / music / speech, a certain type of lights and colors, according to a certain type of flow, intermittently reproducing a language that can be for example the Morse alphabet (CTA). The association of our brain, between certain perceptive stimulations received, according to a certain intermittence and a certain wavelength, will have the effect of a certain type of message that pertains to a particular type of possible choice then on the subconscious side during the wake.
I coin this type of stimulation with this acronym, “BTLS” (“Below the Threshold Level Stimuli“, literally “stimulus below the threshold level”, that is below the level of conscious), and the conceptual cognitive equation is the following:
Reading of the equation: Human (human neurosensorial app W) to Human (during summation vigil and sleep cyclic infinite) in relation to source (regular expression of “any”) for Below the Threshold Level Stimuli of Call-to-action, which generates intermittent concentric wavelength of information that may contain brands (summation of brand and not brand, regular expression of “any letter from a to z, for one or more times”).
Our thoughts, our memories, our shining illusions, our dreams, our subconscious. Emotion, this is us, and also this evening, we will wait for the night, and the sunrise of a new day.