Tagged: EPC

Subliminal Junk X

In his four books, written from 1973 to 1989, Wilson Bryan Key has discussed perhaps between 100 and 200 cases of subliminal advertising, for a research extending over 20-25 years. The other material he collected has not been published. What I am intending to demonstrate is that you can easily extract 100 cases from press publications over a three-months period. For the present issue, number X of my Subliminal Advertising (now Subliminal Junk) series, I keep extracting advertisements from the same magazines and newspapers I have been using for issues I-IX, namely fifteen issues altogether of various papers, dated March, April, or May 2015. In Subliminal Junk IX, I wrote that lack of time and patience prevented me from presenting more cases from the same papers. This is not good advertising of myself – if I have no time and patience to do something well enough, then I really should consider leaving it alone – and, besides, I have more patience than the average guy, so that is no good excuse either. In fact, what keeps me from showing all the subliminals I find is the redundancy and repetition in the technique; in many cases, adding examples would only be boring to the reader. In a way, I am doing honor to the advertisements I select. Many are discarded in the process, not on the ground, though, that they are devoid of subliminal junk, but because I do not find their junk exciting enough.

At the end of this post, the number of cases will be 79 – or 81 if you include the two first case studies, one on Microsoft (here) and the other on Peugeot (here), which I made before starting the Subliminal Advertising (now Subliminal Junk) series. The seven following cases are taken from: Vanity Fair from May 2015 (Case 74), Vanity Fair from April 2015 (75-7), and Vogue Italian Edition from May 2015 (78-9).

………………Case 74 Dom Perignon SEX

This one is from the same as Case 35 (here), to which I refer you for the whole picture and the word SEX embedded among the sea spray. (The whole picture, by the way, is topical: a phallic champagne bottle and explosive sea spray…) On the backward, towards the right, I have outlined a couple of interesting drawings that have been added to bolster the ad’s impact. Pictures 74-2 and 74-3 show the same part of the advert twice because the artist has used a technique known by those who are acquainted with Salvador Dali’s painting Slave Market With the Disappearing Bust of Voltaire. The technique consists in setting two different reality objects as one pictorial object; in Dali’s painting, a group of body shapes are Voltaire’s face at the same time.

On Picture 74-2, I show three faces. The face on the left is that of a half-conscious woman, sick because of alcohol consumption. I did the best I could in the outlining but I strongly advise you to look at the Picture 74, the bare one, to get a more appropriate idea of the artist’s rendition of a drunken woman falling out of consciousness or miserable with feelings of faintness. The second face, toward the right, is that of another woman. That one is in distress too, her black eyes wide open while she vomits. Close against her on the right is a man’s face, smiling, not disgusted at all by what is happening. He probably knows he will achieve his goal now, with this or both women. I can see a wig on his head, which would make him a fine eighteenth-century roué, very much in line, I guess, with what a Dom Perignon connoisseur is likely to admire.

On Picture 74-3, we come back to the first woman’s face, but this time it shows something different, albeit the idea is not so different. It shows a woman bent forward, hair falling down and almost touching the ground, hands pressed against the knees. She too is in a dejected state due to drinking. While she copes with her present misery, a smiling bearlike creature is gently grabbing at her. His face is against her buttocks, his paw clasping her thigh. The bear, although not altogether deprived of seeming benevolence, looks as if he were intent on taking advantage of the situation.

This is the message subliminally addressed to viewers: Intoxicate your preys with Dom Perignon and –voilà ! – it’s done.

This would be the male reader’s viewpoint. For the female reader, however, such an interpretation would make the advert repulsive, so there must be other possible interpretations available to her, or to both sexes for that matter. Woman number one, then, instead of fainting from intoxication, would be gently falling in a post-copulatory swoon, having just climaxed. As to woman number two, something would be forced into her mouth, namely a penis, and she would look distressed due to her fear that it may choke her, or because she is actually choking, to the great amusement of the roué looking at this rough scene of oral sex. Finally, the woman in Picture 74-3 would not be on the verge of vomiting, but simply waiting for the bear to mount her. Such scenes are probably repulsive to most men and women, and to many a Dom Perignon patron too, at conscious level — but on a subliminal plane that seems to be another story.

Subliminal Case 74

Subliminal Case 74

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…………….Case 75 Louis Vuitton SEX

This advertisement for Louis Vuitton is of the same series designed for the manufacturer as Case 33 (here). First of all, I would like to call your attention on the way the model is wearing her bag. Although we have the typical background of bright sky and blue sea so appealing to dejected employees, the woman is fearing something is going to happen to her. She is holding the bag against her chest, looking at a distance, as if she had been suddenly aware of a desperado’s presence. The scene, in fact, is mildly nerve-racking. It’s only because you do not expect such tone in a tropical advert for a handbag that you did not perceive it at first. Well, you did not perceive it, maybe, but your lizard brain has registered the model’s unquietness nevertheless – because it has no preconceived social expectations like yourself, I mean your conscious self, which is easily tricked by advertisers because of the preconceived notions we are all using as shortcuts to deal with the requirements of everyday life.

That lizard brain of yours may also have registered something else. On the turquoise waves a drawing has been embedded. It represents two kids and a man, all naked. One kid is leaning against the other’s shoulder. Maybe he’s tired, maybe he’s ashamed, maybe he’s crying. The other kid is masturbating the man’s penis. The man is lying on the back, both hands under his head. He’s enjoying. This is subliminal pedophilia, something we have already come across (Case 52 here). As a first guess, I’d say it will (discarding any sexual stimulation effect) contribute to heighten in the female viewer the anxiety produced by perceiving, unconsciously most of the time, the model’s apprehensiveness. Remember mirror cells in the brain tend to reproduce as yours the emotions you perceive: that is their function, and I suggest they will reproduce emotions even when you fail to interpret these emotions correctly at conscious level. Choosing a handbag is in itself an anxious experience – all choices imply some degree of anxiety – and here it is connected with status anxiety, like all fashion. Anxiety advertising is aimed at producing the right crisis in the mind.

One objection could be made by uninformed readers that mirror cells cannot be induced to react in the present case, as people know it is only an advertisement and the model is acting. In reality, our mirror cells can function as usual even when we know that the person we look at is simulating emotions. Without such a functioning in the face of all our knowledge, movie theaters would remain empty. It is because people let themselves be moved by acting that they enjoy cinema, and they can do that because even their knowledge of the whole stuff being acting and simulation does not prevent their mirror cells to function and induce in them the emotional states they perceive. Now the difference between a good actor and a bad one is that the former is capable of mimicking emotions most perfectly, whereas the latter is not and lets perceive a discrepancy between his behavior or attitude and the emotion he is supposed to be acting. Bad actors betray that their inner state is alien to their role, and such discrepancy makes them, and the whole scene, ridiculous. In spite of our willingness, our mirror cells cannot be fooled by bad actors, and we resent them for the poor performance.

These remarks allow one to describe the impact of advertising, even printed advertising, in terms of mirror cells. Advertising models are asked to express emotions, which the photographer will try to capture on the picture. In Case 75, I suggested that the model is expressing some feeling of anguish that would remain unperceived at conscious level insomuch as it makes no sense at all for the uninformed consumer that fear should be made use of in that kind of advertising, especially with a cliché bright sky, blue sea background. As it makes no sense, the stimuli that would allow the correct interpretation remain unattended.

One thing, however, must be added. The model here has not been asked to play genuine anguish. In fact, she was asked to look disquieted, with her gaze and her holding the bag against her chest, but not entirely so, in order to confuse the brain and prevent any possibility that the right interpretation be brought to consciousness. The way she is holding the bag against her chest is ambiguous, the gesture is soft, there is no muscular tension, no crispation as would be expected from true disquiet. So in a way this is a case of bad acting, some stimuli indicating one emotional state and some other stimuli from the same source indicating another emotional state. Except that the discrepancy here has been designed intentionally, so that the viewer will more easily discard the stimuli that make no sense, i.e. anguish or, more mildly, disquiet, since are also present the stimuli that make perfect sense to the conscious mind – a young woman strolling on a beach or a riviera by a fine summer day with her handbag, which she carries most gently, and why not against her chest, if she likes? Her looks seem a bit odd, for sure… but, wait, she’s so young and at that age one is easily troubled. So far so good. If the character is troubled, then there is something troubling about the advertisement. I just wanted to be sure you noticed. Finally, the discrepancy may serve the purpose of disquieting the unattending brain and thus remaining engraved inside as a puzzle, something unexplained and thus potentially threatening (despite the conscious interpretation of the ad as being innocuous, trite stuff). And then there is the subliminal drawing of pedophiliac erotica.

Case 75

Case 75

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……………..Case 76 Patek Philippe SEX

We have already seen this advert, Case 29 (here), where I show a sex embed. As with Case 74 above, the sex embed is not only a sex embed, no more than it is solely, it goes without saying, the shades of a coppice in the background. There is also present a half-erected penis. The testes have been painted prominent. It’s not so much about the penis, this time, as about the reproductive stamina. If you’re interested, you can find another sex embed stuck to the woman’s left shoulder. Above this embed are two faces, which I do not care to outline, but that you may find too. It’s the woman’s parents, the father on the left, with large whiskers, a Colonel Goodchild of sorts, the mother on the right, fateful and zombie-looking, with a face larger than her man’s.

Case 76

Case 76

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…………….Case 77 Elie Saab SEX

Same as Case 30 (here). Besides the sex embed in the model’s hair, the folds of her dress, nicely swollen by the wind, delineate a copulation. We see two bottoms and two backs. The woman’s pubis is concealed by the top of the perfume bottle but I have indicated the navel (though I’m not inventing it: it’s there) so you can orient yourselves in these folds. The woman is on her knees, the man on her, they’re making it more ferarum, which is the Latin for doggy-style, if you care to know. The man, though, is not well oriented on her mate’s back, he is bending toward the left, and I suggest this is toward another mate, which he is kissing or on whom he is performing a cuninlingus.

Case 77

Case 77

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…………….Case 78 Louis Vuitton SEX

From the same series as Cases 33 and 75. I have nothing to say about the picture itself. Please proceed directly to Pictures 78-2 and 78-3, and into the turquoise waters where strange Tritons and Nereids are having a subliminal orgy. On the left side, a woman is licking the testes of a half-erected penis bending toward the left. No doubt the penis will be full hard soon. Close against the woman on her right, we can see the back and buttocks of another woman, sat on a penis. A third woman, futher on the right and a little below, is also impaled on a penis, and smiles at you. (The smiling head could be that of a fourth woman, though, as it is separated from the bottom with the penis inside it, a bottom which can be completed instead by a female back and a black-haired head contiguous to it on the right side.) From this group further to the right and below, a woman is taken more ferarum by a crocodile or a doglike creature on her back. Her visage expresses intense contentment. (We have already come across subliminal bestiality, in Case 59 here.) In the space between these two lovers, another face is staring at you; it is a smiling death’s head, or just another Mister Grin.

From this case I conclude that women too like pornography, providing it be subliminal.

Case 78

Case 78

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……………..Case 79 QC Terme Spas and Resorts SEX

The model’s expression is well-being. On Picture 79-2, she is embraced by a subliminal man (à la Modigliani, not my favourite embeds: I prefer more realistic objects, more difficult to object to by opponents), and besides a little Death figure, very realistically drawn with skeleton and the customary cloak and hood, is staring at her with its typical grin. Please take a closer look at Picture 79-1 to appreciate the fine rendition of the skull. Health concerns are involved, as you have understood.

Pictures 79-3 and 79-4 display a fellatio, rather ethereal, admittedly, but it’s there nonetheless, and the white smears at the tip of the glans and further below indicate ejaculation. EPC (extra-pair copulation) prospects in spas and resorts have served as material for the advertiser.

Case 79

Case 79

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September 2015

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Subliminal Junk IX

In order to present a few more cases of subliminal techniques used, besides the pervasive sex embeds, in print advertising, I have selected other adverts from the same couple of magazines I have already being using so far, that is, from the months of March, April, and May 2015. The following titles, all women magazines, will provide the new cases: namely, the French magazine Elle from March 20 (Cases 66-7); Cosmopolitan UK Edition from May (68-9); Vogue from April (70-2); and the French magazine Le Figaro Madame from May 22 (Case 73).

Altogether, from no more than a dozen issues of various magazines and weekly newspapers on a three-month period, I have extracted over 70 ads to present my case on contemporary subliminal techniques – and the number would have been much greater had I only have more time and patience at my disposal. Because subliminals are everywhere. How could it be otherwise? Our social environment has become so saturated with advertising that no attention whatsoever is paid any longer to the huge majority of advertisements, and as a result advertisers must by necessity rely, to achieve any foreseeable impact, on mechanisms aimed at impressing so-called peripheral attention, i.e. subconscious mind processes, that is to say to rely on subliminal techniques.

In the subliminal world of the human mind, survival and sexual instincts reign supreme. There are no – how do you call it again? – checks and balances in this realm. Marketers and advertisers know it, and they manipulate these drives in order to channel them into specific consuming behaviors. We live in a society that has accumulated mountains of data from a hundred years of scientific management and scientific marketing, i.e. of the experimental method applied to human behavior on the workplace and the marketplace. Scientific management has put an end to anticapitalist, revolutionary movements; scientific marketing has been able to automatize, so to speak, consumption. It’s Galbraith’s “inverted sequence” running at full speed. This accumulated knowledge remains in large part proprietary, belonging to the corporations that financed the research from which they now derive huge benefits. With time, some of the results trickle down into the public domain, largely, however, via specialized books from insiders, at a pace dictated by the proprietors themselves. Employees from marketing departments as well as from advertising agencies are contractually committed not to disclose the content of their activities (cf. W.B. Key). However, it is not even likely that much concern would be stirred among the public, were unrestricted access to these proprietary data provided all of a sudden. As a matter of fact, the existence of alpha waves, for instance, is well known, as is the fact they are induced in the brain by watching television, along with a hypnoid state and increased suggestibility as a consequence. What concern does it raise? People, it seems, fail to understand what that implies.

…………….Case 66 Armani SEX

This advert is the same as in Case 15 (here). It’s a two-page ad, one page being presented on Case 15 (a sex embed among the reflections of the sunglasses), the other, here, showing what seems to be the same woman, body complete down to the knees (as opposed to the head only being pictured on the opposite page), without sunglasses, on a blue sky, blue sea background. In Case 15, the model has her shoulders covered; here, the model’s shoulders are not. Are there two different persons, and are our brains invited to imagine some story taking place before our eyes, speculating, unbeknownst to our consciousness, on such slight, even hard to notice discrepancies?

On the page here shown, the model is wearing some blue, satined sackcloth of a sort. There is something particularly odd with her left arm; the shape made by her hand in the pocket looks very awkward. Consider it for a moment. The shape looks awkward because it is, in fact, that of a penis. The bulging pocket provides the glans, the arm – her hand being entirely concealed – gives the shaft. Furthermore, the dress folds on the left-hand of the bulging pocket are vaginal folds, the darkened area outline a vaginal slit, so the subliminal penis points toward a subliminal vagina. There is, however, a discrepancy between the size of the penis and that of the vagina; the former is too small to be considered a suitable object.

I suggest that this picture is likely to provoke among its viewers, both male and female, unconscious feelings of sexual inadequacy, thus adding to current levels of anxiety and/or frustration. Anxiety is a primary trigger of compulsive buying. There is an endless supply of uncertainty in the domain of sex, and with uncertainty goes anxiety.

Subliminal Advertising Case 66

Subliminal Advertising
Case 66

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…………….Case 67 Stella McCartney SEX

It’s about a nice little shining handbag. So sheeny is the texture of the bag, so starlike its silvery surface, that it works like a mirror, reflecting the world in a myriad of dazzling little beams of opalescent light. So let’s take a closer look at these reflections. I have outlined on Picture 67-3 below some interesting drawings. Towards the left, a reclining man’s head can be seen. The man is looking with apparent satisfaction at the pair of amazingly nice breasts a woman is proferring him; in all likelihood she will cover his face with them soon. On the right, another man’s face, strangely grining, like mesmerized by awe, appears behing a woman’s back. As a dark triangle her pubic hair is apparent, as well as the legs and belly.

Subliminal Case 67

Subliminal Case 67

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…………….Case 68 Viva Glam SEX

Viva Glam does not only sell lipstick and other cosmetics, it also makes donations to provide care for people affected by HIV/AIDS. The model represents a strip dancer, maybe a prostitute, in a typical venue for this profession, with mirrors at all angles, crude red lights, assorted with weird-shaped, pink neon tubes, and a glimmering confusion on the dazzling background. It’s about sex and death and beauty and money. Look at the right-hand side, among the copse-like neon-tube structure. One can see a penis glans, with deep purple hue and light reflections on its turgescent tissue. The glow of light has been cleverly located so as to cut a drawn line and thus isolate what is none other than the penis meatus. Furthermore, the neon tubes partially covering the glans, on its left side, represent a pair of scissors. I let you decide what one’s subconscious might be feeling after unattended exposure to such subliminal junk.

*

Addendum. My first thought has been that if a prostitute was represented (it can hardly be denied that the model is intended to represent a prostitute because, as the rumor goes, strip dancers or cabaret dancers –and she is such a dancer, obviously– make extra money from customers by having sex with them), then it must be exciting to (a number of) women to imagine themselves as prostitutes. The subliminal penis and scissors would remain out of this, something besides, for a different kind of women, or at least a distinct trait of character, that of castrating women, which per se does not seem to have a necessary relation to the fantasy of being a prostitute. However, since I published the Case, another scenario came to my mind, more coherent, as I will now explain.

The model is represented as a prostitute and intended to be recognized as such by the female reader, not necessarily at conscious level. For many a female reader, now, the prostitute is, subconsciously at least, the enemy, and their reflex will be to bare their claws and show their teeth, most especially as their mind is invited to dwell on HIV/AIDS (remember that is the argument of the ad’s copy: Viva Glam funds organizations that take care of people affected by HIV/AIDS). The prostitute is the woman that would bring HIV/AIDS to the female reader’s bedroom via the latter’s husband. This is the main argument subliminal. If you, female reader, do not take care to keep on appealing sexually to your husband or partner, he will resort to sex workers, and that may result in him and then you contracting a sexually transmitted disease. And if you dare not carry out castration (the subliminal scissors) to protect your health or even save your life, how do you keep appealing sexually to him? By using Mac Viva Glam lipstick, no doubt.

Case 68

Case 68

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…………….Case 69 Simply Be… SEX

It says ‘Simply Be… You,’ so let’s take a look at what You is. It strikes one at first glance that You is rather different from the ladies one usually sees in the pictures of a magazine like Cosmopolitan. You, indeed, is overweight. Chubby. You wears blue jeans, which, however widespread in real life streets and meadows, is frankly unusual on the pages of women’s magazines. You has a cheap neo-hippie look about her, hinting at a wish to experience the same sexual liberty as hippies of old. You sits carelessly and slovenly, like a slattern, wears cheap inconspicuous bracelets (all plastic, I would swear), and her facial features are kind of ordinary and unattractive. What else can I say if not that You, although she looks like you in her ways, is just the kind of person you don’t care to be? Slighted by an advertisement?

Case 69

Case 69

…………….Case 70 Bottega Veneta SEX

A two-page ad. The right-hand page shows a scantily clad woman, the left-hand one a room of some sort (and what the hell of a room is that? you might ask). The scanty clothing, as well as the woman’s attitude, eroticizes the advertisement, so the viewer is invited to take a look at the room with erotic thoughts (remember the right-hand page is the first to be seen when one is turning pages, and adverts are strategically placed according to that fact). What sort of a room is this room, then? A very odd and strange one, indeed. The bedstead is a plain metallic structure, the bed linen is minimal and unadorned, with a blanket that looks unpleasantly coarse. The walls are plain and… black. One could almost feel them oozing with humidity. The wooden door looks ominous. The flower drawn on the cushion is the only element that would inspire some feeling other than utter gloom and dejection, but its presence is a cynical joke, because it cannot counterbalance the global effect of the room (it can only divert your brain from analysing the picture as it is truly intended). Where are we? It’s a dungeon cell where the Inquisition keeps its victims, innocent women alleged to be witches, between interrogations in the torture chamber, or it is a cellar fit out by a sexual predator who abducts his victims and locks them in this place to rape them at his will. Victims are attractive women like the one we see on the opposite page. Sometimes advertising taps on weird, weird fantasies, you know.

Case 70

Case 70

…………….Case 71 Vogue SEX

This case study will take the form of a question. The young Chinese-looking lady is depicted looking merrily at you and me, frolicking in a street of some Chinatown, the Chinatown of a city in an English-speaking country because the shop signboards are written both in Chinese and English. Just above the woman’s left shoulder, even sticking to it, appears the word ‘parlor’ (not ‘parlour,’ so we might as well be in NYC), from a signboard further behind her. We all know the double meaning of the word ‘parlor,’ and the woman could be a prostitute from this house. Touching her hair are the words ‘hair care,’ but this, certainly, is only a coincidence. Other signboards, on both sides of her, advertise liquors and wines, a staple good for successful socialites and losers just the same. My attention was drawn on the road writings. These writings, partially concealed from our eyes by the woman’s shape, make two lines, and the end letter of each line is S and X respectively (S lying above X). SX is a code name for SEX. It’s been a long time since I last went to NYC, and I wasn’t really interested in reading the road writings either, but I guess the present writings must be very special ones because, from whatever way you read the line with the X-ending (and the picture leaves one at a loss when trying to figure whether the lines must be read from the viewer’s standpoint or from the other side, since the decipherable S, X, I, N are symetrical), I just can’t see what word relevant to street signing the letters NIX, if at the end, or XIN, if at the beginning, can be part of. This is the question I ask to more knowledgeable people. Is it Cantonese in Latin transcript? In case it means nothing and such word does not exist, the artist has taken very bold a step to confront our lizard brains with an SX compound.

Case 71

Case 71

…………….Case 72 L’Oréal SEX

One acquaintance to whom I showed my research on subliminal advertising discarded it first-hand telling me, as an account for his intention not to pay attention to it, that advertising today was pornographic at the conscious level, so there was no need to look after subconscious tricks since pornography could be made use of openly by advertisers. Of course he’s right when he says some ads are openly sexual in content, but his inference is nevertheless incorrect. As I said above, subliminals are aimed at peripheral attention (at the brain of people who won’t take a look at the ad – the brain registering it anyway if it has, no matter how quickly, entered the field of sight) and as such are not treated by the brain in the same way as objects entering conscious attention. Even an openly pornographic advert may be bolstered by subliminal sex embeds. Furthermore, advertisers know they can’t play the sex card aboveboard all the time, because it can have adverse effects occasionally, whereas there is no adverse reaction to subliminal sex. Never, as long as it remains subliminal.

Double entendre with words is routine advertising, as even advertisers will admit. If a word has, not as a principal meaning but among its other few, a sexual meaning, you can be sure it has become a catchword. This might be called a subliminal technique, although the double entendre is often recognized by the public, and the idea is therefore to make it look like tongue in cheek – when it would more properly be labeled “in-your-face.” (It’s precisely because of possible adverse reactions to the “in-your-face” effect that aboveboard obscenity is not more frequent in advertising, all in all; subliminal junk is much safer.)

Let’s take this advertisement for L’Oréal as an example. Saving time is in the mind of many consumers, and time-saving devices much sought after. So how do you advertise time-saving? Here the advertisers ask the question “How quick are you?” Need I comment it? How quick are you? refers, tongue in cheek or in-your-face-wise, as you choose to call it, to female orgasm. How quick do you orgasm? is the question, and, if you take the time to analyse it, it means, given the well-known and established time discrepancy between male and female orgasms generally speaking, How likely are you to orgasm? Of course, the discrepancy can be overcome by special techniques and preliminaries, but the seemingly mild, humorous joke is not innocuous at all, inasmuch as it is likely to raise the level of anxiety present in many a viewer, male and female, for the male the anxiety that he is too quick to be a good mate, for the female the anxiety that she won’t find the good mate to gratify her if she’s too slow. The fear, and possibility, of sexual inadequacy makes the advert a grim jest. One response to raised anxiety is compulsive buying. Really, in the phenomenon of advertising, people kiss the hand that beats them, like a dog licking his hard-hearted master’s hand.

Having said this, I don’t even feel the need to extend on “Blow Dry.” You know what it means to blow, sexually, and you’ve also heard of “dry sex,” i.e. sex with clothes on, rubbing one’s body against each other’s. It’s called dry because, if fluid discharge occurs, it remains unnoticed by the mate. The seminal fluid provides the wetness, in the idea, and its absence the dryness. “Blow dry,” thus, means to perform a fellatio until the semen has been discharged and the genitals are, as one would say, emptied of the fluid, and thus temporarily dry. In your face – but those who don’t notice will buy.

Case 72

Case 72

…………….Case 73 Guerlain SEX

Dear Madam, have you ever dreamt of being kept in a harem? Of course not. Tell me, then, what is the assumption behind this ad ? The name of the product is Shalimar, from the famous Shalimar Gardens in Lahore, Pakistan, a place associated with the former Moghul rulers of the Indian peninsula, whose Muslim kings, princes, and highnesses were masters of immense harems, filled in large part with the wives and daughters of subdued Hindus. The blonde woman on the picture is sitting naked in a room whose light is provided by the sun through mashrabiya-patterned panels reminiscent of zenanas’ windows. She is, therefore, in the women’s appartments of some Oriental palace, behind the purdah, that is to say in a harem. The fantasy of being one of many, one among many lovers or sexual things at the power of a dominant man, is something real. It dates back to the days of the primitive horde, when our simian ancestors were organized around a dominant male. As some researchers put it (the evolutionary psychologist V. Griskevicius and D. Kenrick, 2013), in those days, as among the primates which still have such social organization, the females would line up and wait for their turn to be inseminated by the alpha male. (The other males only have the right to copulate with infertile females.) I suggest that the fact of female orgasm being scattered among the population (I have found so many different figures, from 30% to 50% to 70%, for women never experiencing orgasm during intercourse that trying any guess seems pointless) may have something to do with this heritage of ours. Many women just won’t have it to the full with nobody but the silverback gorilla, I mean the dominant male. It’s only a conjecture, of course. We know, besides, that women are more promiscuous than gorilla females; the data all point to greater sperm competition among humans, and chimpanzees (of which the dwarf variety is known as the bonobo), than among gorillas. Still, researchers also state that women’s EPC (extra-pair copulations), the scientific name for horns-putting, occurs much more frequently with some types, or rather a certain type – singular – of male.

I have also outlined one sex embed, for good measure. It was easy, for the graphic designer, to embed the word sex among the filigreed shades of the wall panels.

Case 73

Case 73

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September 2015

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