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BMW’s Flash Image Ad – A Hit? A Miss? Subliminal?

In Germany a few weeks ago, BMW tried something pretty interesting – a quick flash image in a commercial that leaves a ghosted after-image of the company’s logo in the viewer’s eyes.  Check out the video first:

What they did to achieve this effect was to place a very powerful flash generator, the ProFoto Pro-7-B, behind a big card that had the letters “BMW” cut into it.  At one point, the motorcyclist in the video tells the audience to close their eyes – and *poof* – the letters magically appear in the darkness behind the audience’s eyelids.

What would we call this, “Retinal Advertising?”

Pretty interesting, huh?  I mean, I think it’s a pretty neat way to add some magic to an advertisement.  However, as we live in the United States (or as I like to call it, the Land of Litigious Ideals), I think Wired Mag put it pretty close to accurate:

As you can see from the cinema-goers’ reactions, the smoke-and-mirrors gimmick went down well.  I can’t imagine this working in the U.S, though.  None of the teenagers would see it, as they’re all texting and chatting on their phones, and somebody, somewhere, would decide to sue the theater for triggering an epileptic fit.

Sigh.

Well, an artist can dream!