information loss due to attention-based limitations to awareness. More information can be gained with each successive viewing, and the subtleties inserted by advertising creatives can eventually be uncovered. An important question for each and every advertisement is, how much repetition is needed to “get”the whole message? Another pertinent question is, how much repetition do modern consumers actually receive and tolerate? With far greater choice in their sources of entertainment (more magazines, more channels, video games, the Internet, books), it may be less likely that consumers will be exposed repeatedly to the same ad in the same form. By being aware of the sources of visual processing limitations, designers of advertisements may be skilled at enabling consumers to acquire the advertising message, at least in broad strokes, with a single viewing.
Another issue that needs exploring is whether exposing consumers to information without awareness might be advantageous. Studies of the mere exposure effect indeed suggest an increase in liking for otherwise affectively neutral objects that are viewed subliminally (Kunst-Wilson & Zajonc, 1980). However, such studies show relatively small effects and are typically conducted without reference to the visual context or attentional load given to competing objects in a scene or with very rapid successive stimuli. Certainly more research is needed to evaluate the possible gains in presenting information during, for example an attentional blink, or as secondary items in a change blindness experiment. These are exciting questions for further research and underscore the need for better understanding of human visual processing and attention and how these brain system interact in complex dynamic environments like those present in modern advertisements.