Date: Fri, 8 Aug 1997 03:15:12 -0400
From: "Barry A. Popik" Bapopik[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]AOL.COM
Subject: "Subliminal Seduction" of the week
Open the Village Voice this week (12 August 1997) and check out the
Camel ad on page 29. It's the one thing you'll remember from the entire
paper. This is perhaps the "subliminal seduction" ad of the year.
Camel, as you know, willingly surrendered its Joe Camel ads. The
Village Voice is supposedly the beacon for truth and freedom, yet there is a
full page Budweiser beer ad on page 9, a full two-page Winston cigarette ad
on pages 10-11, a full-page Malboro cigarette ad on Voice Choices page 3, a
full-page Heineken beer ad on Voice Choices page 9, a two-page "Camel Page"
on Voice Choices pages 28-29, and that unforgettable Camel ad on page 29.
With a steady flow of beer and cigarette advertising, no wonder our
"alternative" weeklies are "free."
In 1973 (about 25 years ago), Wilson Bryan Key published SUBLIMINAL
SEDUCTION: AD MEDIA'S MANIPULATION OF A NOT SO INNOCENT AMERICA. The
has died down since the subliminal-hunting sessions of my grade school days,
but Kevin Nealon did a "Mr. Subliminal" character on Saturday Night Live a
few years ago.
A computer check shows only a few "subliminal seduction" hits, but one
of them was a Key lecture at the University of Arkansas on 2-21-97, at
One example is the popular camel on the Camel cigarette package.
"This camel is an American icon," Key said. "It's been a part of our
image since it was designed in 1913. However, in the front half of the
camel's body, there is an image of a man with an erection."
Some of the modern Joe Camel advertisements show images of the male and
female genitalia incorporated into the camel's face.
"Now that's ingenuity," Key said.
Now, let's take a look at a NEW Camel ad. It's the full-color ad on
page 29 of the Voice, but no doubt it's in many other publications as well.
At first glance, there's nothing subliminal about it. A sexy woman is
glowing in the lights, sucking an ice cube. No cigarettes are shown, but we
all get the idea. Buy a pack of Camels and boy, that "MENTHOL" really cools
you off!! "What you're looking for," it says. I want to buy a pack, and I
don't even smoke!
The woman shows the palm of her hand, which holds dripping water that
conveniently forms the shape of a camel. Obviously, this was painted or
airbrushed on. In fact, a lot of this is a painting.
Key showed a glass of ice cubes on the book cover of SUBLIMINAL
SEDUCTION. Ice melts fast under the lights, so whenever you see an ice cube
in an ad, you can almost count on subliminals.
The first thing you notice about her is her eyes. Look at her eyes.
In each of her eyeballs, hands are clearly visible! What do you know! It
helps you call attention to HER hand, which has the Camel on it!
Look at that ice cube again. There's a white circle in the center of
it. It's the top of a cigarette!
Look to the left, at that triangular brown spot near the strap of her
dress. Now turn the page over completely. That brown spot looks like--well,
I can't mention it here.
Look again at the ice cube, now with it upside down. Above the woman's
ring finger tip, in a little corner there, you should see a face. The face
is clearly looking at a pair of circles, which appear to form a woman's--
For all the flak the tobacco companies have been taking, I'm looking at
page 29 of this week's Voice, and they're still doing the same job!
Maybe it's time to bring "subliminal seduction" back into the