Subliminal Junk XI
This will be the last post I make on subliminal adverts taken from no more than fifteen papers and magazines dated March, April, or May 2015, fifteen items that will have provided the material for issues I-XI of my Subliminal Advertising (now Subliminal Junk) series. The number of cases will amount to 87. Although a few cases are taken from the same advert (one or several sex embeds shown first, then some embedded subliminal drawings in a second time), this will give you an idea of how generalized the subliminal phenomenon is in print advertising. To be sure, 87 cases from 15 issues makes more than 5 cases of subliminal advertising per issue, and as I have already said I could easily take more cases from these issues if I decided to present indiscriminately all the subliminals I found, which I did not want to do, in order not to overload my blog. Some early cases I would even fain withdraw now, because they are not so exemplary and interesting as others, as they date back from the beginnings of my research a few months ago, when I was not so proficient in finding that sort of junk. Clearly, I will be more discriminate when I make a book out of this material.
From now on, I will extract material from other magazines’ issues, in search of the most exciting stuff.
The following cases 80-7 are taken from: German weekly Der Spiegel dated April 11 (Cases 80-2), Time magazine dated March 30 (Case 83), French weekly Le Point dated March 12 (Case 84), French weekly Marianne dated March 20 (Cases 85-6), and finally Le Point again dated March 19 (Case 87).
…………….Case 80 Union Invesment EXTRA-PAIR SEX
The copy, in German, says ‘Why are socks always disappearing from the washing machine?’ and we see a father and his son wondering at their finding only one sock from a pair among the washing. The copy further says that, although we cannot explain everything, at least having one’s savings at Union Investment (the investment branch of Deutsche Zentral-Genossenschaftsbank) is a safe and transparent option, liable to no unpleasant surprise. I leave it to you whether this is a fine, clever advertisement so far as the preceding is concerned.
What I am interested in is the subliminal gorilla sitting in the background behind the kid. He smiles at a woman reclining with her head on its bulging stomach. Both the gorilla and the woman seem to like each other very much. In fact, they just had sex. The woman is naked, the white skin of her shoulder or breast being apparent. Of course, she is the man’s wife, and the kid is her son. The man has a distinct moronic look about him, smiling as do morons; one would expect to see slobber drooling from the commissure of his lips. As to the son, I’m afraid his ears (having perhaps been airbrushed) are somewhat large and extend a bit far from the skull, like pinheads’ ears. Quite striking, when one pays attention, is the size of his left forearm. As you can see, his left hand is leaning on the top of the washing machine, but there is something wrong with the perspective: it is hardly believable that this is his hand, because it means the forearm is unusually long. Now please recall that gorillas have very long forearms. This feature of the kid’s arm hints at the gorilla’s being the biological father…
This is a most elaborate way of playing on the all-pervasive paternity uncertainty, a source of many ailments in our civilization, from pathological jealousy to domestic violence to refusal to commitment and single mothers (whose kids, it has been found, are more likely to become delinquents*). And it is no figment of the masculine imagination either, since child support agencies, which administer paternity tests on a daily basis, report a non-paternity rate (that is the number of children not sired by the men who believe to be the fathers) of 15 per cent (Robin Baker 1996). The advert subliminally plays on that. It says: Don’t be a moron like the guy here, with the sock in his hands, and contract with Union Investment, or DZ Bank, or else your wife will know how to cuckold you. In other words, cuckolds do not rely on Union Investment for the management of their savings.
Besides, it is likely that a cuckold will not care very much to save money for his kids if these are not really his, and a man who entertains such doubts will hesitate to save money for he knows not whose kids. So much so that one who does not save money for one’s kids may well be suspected of being a cuckold and of knowing it or surmising it. So the advert also asks: Are you a cuckold, or what?
Finally, gorillas are animals where male dominance is particularly salient (see my remarks on Case 73 here). The advert implies, subliminally, that one will be cuckolded by a more dominant male, and that having one’s savings to Union Investment will prevent that by showing off one’s dominance, unlike the moron with the single sock in his hands. In other words, Union Investment is the dominants’ bank.
As a postface, this dialogue from a famous play. “Hjalmar. I want to know if… your child has a right to live under my roof. Is Hedwig mine… or… Well? Gina. I don’t know.” (Ibsen, The Wild Duck)
*Note. The correlation I mention between single mothers and delinquent offspring is no statement on causality. The correlation may be due to most single mothers’ being poor, and the primary cause monetary deprivation. I mention the correlation as a way to justify my speaking of “ailment” although many a single mother might object to the label, especially among women separated from wealthy businessmen and earning comfortable alimonies.
…………….Case 81 Freistaat Thüringen SEX Again
Same advert as Case 40 (click here for the full picture). In the same coppice where I outlined sex embeds, I presently delineate the interesting drawing of an erect penis attended by three nymphs, represented as two faces on the right and an animal on the left. True to human anatomy, the testes are asymmetric.
…………….Case 82 Peugeot SEX
An advert for the French car manufacturer Peugeot. The copy is strictly insignificant although I doubt not some public relation men from the advertising milieu would easily extol its merits to a credulous public. What I want you to see is the penis ejaculating on the model’s face. The penis, namely the glans with a well-delineated coronal ridge, as well as the upper part of the shaft, are visible in the guise of sun beams. Part of the glans is covered by a brighter spark, which could represent semen flowing on the glans due to the peculiar position or movement of the penis during an earlier spurt (or else it could be a way to conceal that disturbing penis to consciousness). At the present moment, a fraction of second after the earlier spurt, another spurt is projected through the meatus toward the model’s cheek, or hair, on the left. The copy is now more meaningful. ‘Impress Yourself’ by submitting young girls to your sexual fantasies thanks to being the owner of a Peugeot car. Facial ejaculation is indicative of female subjection (cf. H. J. Eysenck).
…………….Case 83 Microsoft SEX
An advert for Microsoft Cloud from the same campaign as here. The green arrow ends in a cloud. The cloud shows a woman’s face. She has the arrow in her mouth and seems to enjoy it. If you think I am seeing imaginary things in clouds, please let me remind you that the cloud here is not a cloud in the sky but a cloud in an ad, and that makes a big difference. I can admit there is no God or gods sending intricate signals to us humans through clouds’ shapes, but the graphic designer of this ad is a human being like you and me – with that difference that he or she probably earns a lot more money, because the ad having being published in major papers and magazines around the world the campaign must have been immensely expensive, and the advertiser remunerated in consequence.
……………..Case 84 Constance Hotels and Resorts SEX
I don’t know if this one should be called subliminal at all, but I want to be sure you understand what is going on, because it comes from a respected newspaper and I know quite a few people who would blush to acknowledge their being exposed to that sort of junk.
As to subliminals, maybe the cloud above the woman is a bit phallic, being erected contrary to the other clouds. And there’s an old man’s face grinning in the upper right corner, showing sarcastic approval and enjoyment.
The lady is coming back from her bath in the sea toward the beach, where an attendant from the hotel is waiting with towels. How long has he been waiting? Is this really how employees attend to customers in Constance hotels and resorts? Is the customer offered a return to the old days of footmanship, when lackeys were at their master’s disposal night and day? Be that as it may, there is more to find in Constance hotels and resorts. The lady looks determinedly and eagerly at the local employee’s face. She wears a sort of nightdress, and that seems rather strange for sea bathing. As I can see no nuance in colors indicative of a bathing suit under that dress, and as the dress being white it has by necessity become transparent due to immersion in water, the lady is actually exhibiting herself to the employee facing her. In particular, her pubic hair must be conspicuous. Furthermore, if she is intent on using the towels, that will prove a futile exercise unless she removes the wet gown, that is, unless she undresses in front of the man. That the advert is coarse eroticism is not to deny. Why should it be called subliminal at all? It’s coarse, it’s vulgar, it’s in your face (not tongue in cheek), and it occurs while you may be under the fancy that you do your duty as a respectable member of the society by keeping informed of the news.
…………….Case 85 Audi SEX
Same ad as Case 5 (click here for the full picture). I did not expatiate then on the copy ‘Less and the City,’ which refers – tongue in cheek, as always – to the successful TV series ‘Sex and the City,’ and I won’t here either. You already know, if you have followed this series, that when I report copy as ‘tongue in cheek,’ it means that it’s deadly serious. No, what I call your attention to presently is the fellatio performed to a spectacled man looking in your direction. It may be a portrait of the former president of Volkswagen’s directory, who resigned on September 23 (taking with him a golden parachute of 28 million euros) following the disclosure of a huge fraud involving 11 million cars of several marques of the group, including Audi, souped up with anti-antipollution test software (I’ve just seen his picture in the papers and I think our man here looks like him.) If Volkswagen’s lawyers now have the judicial proceedings go their own way, we will learn that the top brass were utterly ignorant of what was happening, so that the fraud can only be the mischief of some crazed engineer, a minor one at that. And if, on the other hand, they do not have it their way, the economic consequences will be tremendous not only for the first car manufacturer in the world (providing their daily bread to 600,000 people, not to mention contractors) but for the world itself.
…………….Case 86 Mgen SEX
The model on the ad is a skier, a champion, people like him. Sport is so important because it boosts your testosterone. When your favorite player or team wins, you get a testosterone boost (G. Saad, 2011). When it loses, you’ve really got to watch another match, or another sport, where another of your favorites can win again. It keeps you high. And it makes you buy. A little subliminal can do no harm either; that’s why the graphic designer embedded in the background a smiling woman’s face presented with a penis.
…………….Case 87 Mettez Paris SEX
Hunters, it is well known, are Nature’s best friends. The present ad, however, tells another story. It is a cheap ad for a dress business located in Paris. The business sells hunting attire. The picture shows a painting of the naive genre representing a hunter and a deer before a tree adorned with wild fowl, bird, and squirrel. The deer’s eye is wicked. The hunter’s left hand holds a branch of the tree; the part he is holding is quite dark, but further on the right the branch is silvery gray like steel, as if the hunter were not holding a branch but instead were brandishing a knife. And, astonishingly, the whole painting is smeared with a reddish-brown substance like dried blood. The ad, obviously, intends to appeal to bloodthirsty, brutish minds, violent people eager to indulge in butchering live bodies – the friends of Nature we were talking about.