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"By the way, if anyone here is in advertising or marketing..."
December 18, 2010 8:41 AM   Subscribe

"What do we see when we look straight at the sun and then close our eyes? That's right, a bright moving disk that lasts several seconds. Every child knows this afterimage effect. We use the afterimage effect for a completely new brand experience, for the first advertising commercial that doesn't use a directly visible logo, but by doing so generates a more intensive connection to the target group. We developed a cinema ad for BMW motorcycles that turns spectators into astonished fans. It does this by using an afterimage of the brand to literally get inside people's heads."
posted by grouse (55 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Advertising, the dismal art.
posted by eeeeeez at 8:45 AM on December 18, 2010 [17 favorites]


so very very clever. I predict a bucket full of awards.
posted by dabitch at 8:46 AM on December 18, 2010


Note to BMW advertising agency: you see inside my head. But not in my wallet. and that is where I go if I am going to buy something.
posted by Postroad at 8:50 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I feel admiration for the inventors, but I feel burning hate for any advertiser who gives me ghostly afterimages of their effing logos floating in my brain.
posted by emjaybee at 8:50 AM on December 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


Yes, a true triumph for "advertising commercials."
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:54 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is brilliant, of course, particularly how it's used in the linked ad. Pity that future ads won't be a well crafted or high minded.

Would love to see this used in movies though.
posted by nomadicink at 8:55 AM on December 18, 2010


It's very simple. The ad gets into your brain just like this liquid gets into this egg. Although in reality it's not liquid, but gamma radiation.
posted by Gator at 8:55 AM on December 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


Something about this leaves me feeling a little uneasy. I'm not entirely fond of the idea that BMW is going to be burned into my retinas...
posted by empatterson at 8:56 AM on December 18, 2010


Internet comments, the dismal opinion.
posted by windbox at 8:57 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's consistently depressing that so many skilled and imaginative artists have or feel a need to make the world a bit worse just to be able to do what interests them.
posted by regicide is good for you at 8:57 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


(but come on folks, it wasn't "burned into" people's retinas any more than this comment is now burned into yours)
posted by regicide is good for you at 8:59 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


No BMW afterimage, but then again, I have horizontal nystagmus, so most of what I see moves back and forth, a little bit each way, and is completely imperceptible unless I focus on some object or image very, very carefully. Admakers didn't plan on this fractional part of the wallet-wielding demographic.

But what I definitely did see after I closed my eyes was Ruben Xaus. I don't want a BMW motorcycle, unless he's on it, and even then, the motorcycle is optional.
posted by datawrangler at 9:00 AM on December 18, 2010


Is it just me, or does it seem like they missed an opportunity by using the simple letters "BMW" instead of this more compelling image to illustrate their brand's appeal?
posted by Greg Nog at 9:01 AM on December 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


the youtube comments are hilarious.
posted by empath at 9:01 AM on December 18, 2010


No BMW afterimage, but then again, I have horizontal nystagmus, so most of what I see moves back and forth, a little bit each way, and is completely imperceptible unless I focus on some object or image very, very carefully. Admakers didn't plan on this fractional part of the wallet-wielding demographic.

Seriously, were you expecting to have one from watching a youtube video? Even after the video explained how it worked?
posted by empath at 9:02 AM on December 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


This one instance is cool, because it is unique. Now, it will just be a stupid fad.

Also, might violate restrictions on subliminal advertising.
posted by gjc at 9:04 AM on December 18, 2010


empath, I wouldn't have been surprised if it worked. Anything I look at is a surprise, whether intended or not.
posted by datawrangler at 9:08 AM on December 18, 2010


It's pretty clever and not as repugnant as I thought it would be. And the good news is that it requires a special theater setup so it'll never see widespread adoption. I'm it'll show up somewhere in my life though.
posted by chairface at 9:09 AM on December 18, 2010


Thank goodness they carefully explained at the beginning what an afterimage is.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:13 AM on December 18, 2010


Cool effect, but...

by doing so generates a more intensive connection to the target group.

What does "a more intensive connection" mean? Why is seeing an after image more "intensive" than seeing a regular image? An after image is not "inside your head" any more or less than a regular image. ALL images that you see are inside your head.

And, for me, seeing the actual sun is a more intense visual experience than seeing its after image.

This reminds me of all the bullshit floating around popular culture about subliminal advertising. Supposedly it's a powerful tool, but "the near-consensus among research psychologists is that subliminal messages do not produce a powerful, enduring effect on behavior." (link).

In this case, I don't think the ad's effectiveness, if it has any, is comes from the after image itself. It's cones from the effect PLUS the hype about the effect. I'm going to be thinking about BMW for awhile, not because of an after image, but because the ad's producers made a big deal about creating an after image.
posted by grumblebee at 9:16 AM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


You have to close your eyes for a bit to see the image so if you don't want to do so, you just keep your eyes open, presumably?
posted by Maias at 9:21 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's pretty clever and not as repugnant as I thought it would be.

I don't know; it's pretty repugnant. But also really, really cool. Hope they don't show it at any kids' movies, though.

What do we see when we look straight at the sun and then close our eyes?


Hmm. Nothing? Ever again?
posted by steambadger at 9:26 AM on December 18, 2010


Great thread title.
posted by memebake at 9:30 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


You have to close your eyes for a bit to see the image so if you don't want to do so, you just keep your eyes open, presumably?

It was like no cine I'd ever viddied before
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:34 AM on December 18, 2010


What do we desire most in this world? That's right: a Spaniard ordering us to close our eyes. Every child knows this.

Here at BMW, we've taken advantage of this universal desire by featuring a Spaniard who orders the audience to close their eyes. Here's how it works: the audience is sitting in a theatre, a large space full of chairs in which a movie can be watched. Then, we showed them a film -- a collection of moving images, played so quickly in succession that they replicate the feel of watching movement.

This film showed them a Spaniard. Then, in the most critical moment of the ad, the Spaniard asks the audience to close their eyes. As the audience watched the film, they received a message from the Spaniard to close their eyes. The Spaniard looked directly at them, and commanded them: close your eyes. Here was the audience response:

Man in black turtleneck: "The Spaniard... he ordered me to close my eyes."

Man in black turtleneck with another black turtleneck over it: "I was watching the screen with my eyes, which was fun. Suddenly, the Spaniard appeared, and he said for me to close my eyes. I was so surprised!"

Man wearing a black turtleneck like a scarf, as well as an additional black turtleneck wrapped around each arm: "This movie theatre immersed me in a totally new experience. I was scratching my left ear, because it had an itch. I do not know what caused that itch. On the screen, I witnessed a Spaniard, and he suggested I close my eyes. I gratefully complied."

Man standing on a black turtleneck, with tattoo of black turtleneck covering his naked torso: "The Spaniard! Oh! He spoke, of a sudden! He asked me to close my eyes! Such a thing to do in the room, Oh, Oh!"

posted by Greg Nog at 9:38 AM on December 18, 2010 [20 favorites]


I'm going to cut out the logo from my business cards and only hand them out to people while flashing a giant flashlight in their face.
posted by jeffmik at 9:50 AM on December 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


That's nothing but a load of rich creamery butter.
posted by Trochanter at 9:54 AM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Next: Blipverts.
posted by ardgedee at 10:05 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I tried searching for something that would substantiate a Blipverts joke, and zomg google video has the entire episode online (in quarter-NTSC quality and with persistent line hum, which is somehow how I remember watching it...)

Money shot's at 7:28.

On preview: hey, ardgedee
posted by 7segment at 10:06 AM on December 18, 2010


Yes, anything that burns an afterimage into my retina makes me want to buy it. That must be why I constantly desire Class G stars and light bulbs.

The problem with this isn't that it's advertising. The problem is that it's bad advertising. (And yes, so is 99.9% of the rest of the ads we see, so I know it's hard to tell the difference.) Flashing "BMW" into my eyeballs isn't going to make me want to buy a car, or entertain me, or even convey any product information. In fact, it's much more likely to piss me off.

But it's great for award shows and back-patting videos like this one. So expect this gimmick to fade away by Monday, replaced by the next stupid "innovation." Followed by another round of complaints about how advertisers are getting in our HEADS, man. Followed by another round of vigorous shoulder-shrugging from the buying public.
posted by PlusDistance at 10:09 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Their next great idea: using flaming hot cattle brands to sear the product logo into your skin to increase your awareness of the sponsor FOREVER.
posted by briank at 10:24 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Christ. Next thing you know, advertising companies will be using stereo sound to induce binaural tones which carry an embedded message that positively disposes consumers toward whatever crap they're trying to sell and...

..umm....


patent pending.




Early research suggested that a fraction of the population would experience violent convulsions as a result of being exposed to the advertisement, but this turned out to be a-okay when it was determined that those prone to epileptic seizures were not a key Target Demographic.
posted by logicpunk at 10:25 AM on December 18, 2010


I saw this a few days ago. It is very cute, but soon projectors will be bright enough to do this anytime.
posted by fake at 10:52 AM on December 18, 2010


Next: Blipverts.

Been there done that, Miller even did it during the super bowl. There's many 1 second ads, the Guniess book of Records was probably the funniest (read: most relevant) one.
posted by dabitch at 11:08 AM on December 18, 2010


Just close your eyes. Do it now. All you have to do is close your eyes. Close your eyes. Close your eyes.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 11:19 AM on December 18, 2010


What does "a more intensive connection" mean?

That's Agency Speak for 'How to get the client to pay for this.'
posted by Mick at 11:24 AM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


There can be a fine line between clever and annoying. Not so in this case however, it's clearly just annoying.
posted by doctor_negative at 11:25 AM on December 18, 2010


> What do we see when we look straight at the sun

Less than you did before you looked, due to retinal scarring from photocoagulation. And nothing, ever again, if you happen to focus the image of the sun on your colliculus nervi optici, which will fry exactly like an ant that had the sun focused on it with a magnifying glass. Don't' um, look at the sun.
posted by jfuller at 11:28 AM on December 18, 2010


Uh, are we all talking about BMW now?

I submit the real advertising had nothing to do with retinas.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:43 AM on December 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Quite frankly, I've been thinking about BMW motorcycles ever since I read about the latest one, the fastest production bike ever, one of the most amazing pieces of machinery I've ever seen, heard of, witnessed, whatever you want to call it. Yeah, it flashed on me, seared itself into my mind, one of the coolest things ever conceived of and created by humanity, etc and etc...
posted by dancestoblue at 11:57 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Someone should write a book consisting of nothing but YouTube comments. Then publish it online with open comments.

The sequel will literally write itself.
posted by tommasz at 12:09 PM on December 18, 2010


What's disturbing about is that they now show product commercials in movie theaters and the patrons aren't rioting in the aisles and demanding ticket refunds.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 12:30 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Thank you, SIR! May I have another!" *whack* (The attitude ad agencies seem to think we all have. And I once worked at one [tech support].)
posted by Philofacts at 12:37 PM on December 18, 2010


I don't think you people are quite getting the magnitude of what you saw. This allows them to literally get inside people's heads.
posted by fullerine at 3:01 PM on December 18, 2010


might violate restrictions on subliminal advertising.

Are there really restrictions coke subliminal advertising? I never knew that.
posted by Ritchie at 3:34 PM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


YOU VILL CLOSS YOU EYES NOW AND RECEIVE BRAND PROJEKTION
posted by the noob at 3:56 PM on December 18, 2010


In Australia and Britain, the use of subliminal advertising has been banned with severe consequences for those who disobey the strict laws. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States will now revoke a company's broadcast license if the use of subliminal messages is proven. Subliminal message usage has also been banned for all members of The National Association of Broadcasters.

It is obvious that by tapping into the consumer’s unconscious mind without their knowledge, the advertisers are engaging in deceptive practices. It is also an invasion of privacy. There are numerous legislation that prohibit advertisers from using subliminal messages in their ads. The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) Act Sec 5 – “prohibits unfair or deceptive acts or practices in interstate commerce.” They also claim they “have primary responsibility for regulation of advertising in this country.” However, Key writes that “there appears to be nothing here that would provoke the FTC into a charge of deceptive advertising.” The TV Code of the National Association of Broadcasters (IV, 14) states: “Any technique whereby an attempt is made to convey information to the viewer by transmitting messages below the threshold of normal awareness is not permitted.” Unfortunately, these laws are vaguely stated yet greatly limited. The most potentially effective regulation is made by the U.S. Treasury Department, Division of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF). It states:
Subliminals are inherently deceptive because the consumer does not perceive them at a normal level of awareness, and thus is given no choice whether to accept or reject the message, as is the case with normal advertising. ATF holds that this type of advertising technique is false and deceptive, and is prohibited by law.

posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 4:00 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


However the true effectiveness of subliminal messges has never been proved. At this point though, it really doesn't matter though. Consumers have willingly surrendered their autonomy for their shiny toys, and anyone who points this out is personally attacked and castigated as a hopeless loser to the cheers of the "with-it" crowd.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 4:06 PM on December 18, 2010


Another day, another thing to fill me with fury. It grows increasingly hard for me to maintain my customary sunny disposition.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:11 PM on December 18, 2010


Next they'll be using lasers to permanently scar our retinas with product logos. Imagine seeing a capering Captain Crunch in the corner of your vision for the rest of your life.

...Oh. Right. the MeFites who already see that can be excused now.
posted by happyroach at 8:38 PM on December 18, 2010


Why all the hate? So, an advertising trick manages to imprint an afterimage on your retinas that will last for (maybe) a minute, and is only visible if you are in darkness, or close your eyes. Big deal.

There's plenty in advertising to get angry about - lies about diet pills, bullshit about supplements, almost the entire fashion/makeup/hair care industry, most political ads... I can't really get worked up over an afterimage.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:54 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


However the true effectiveness of subliminal messges has never been proved.

Yeah, the whole subliminal advertising thing is a myth
posted by memebake at 2:08 AM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


The outrage over this is kind of funny. It's just a creative way to advertise that's pretty limited in scope, and the disturbing subliminal parts of it are kind of lampshaded by the total transparency they're displaying in making a video explaining exactly what they're doing.

When I glanced at the fpp, my thought was that it was something more like the Marlboro Formula One thing.
posted by girih knot at 11:06 AM on December 19, 2010


It occurs to me that with enough candle power, you could have people thinking 'BMW' for some time.
posted by Trochanter at 11:48 AM on December 19, 2010


This makes me want to buy an Audi.
posted by bwg at 6:18 PM on December 21, 2010


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