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Old 09-04-2003, 06:45 AM   #81 (permalink)
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Art,

very similar to some of those old 50s cartoons with the car families... and also of course, Super Buggy...
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Old 09-22-2003, 03:23 PM   #82 (permalink)
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It's good to practice using your perceptual-shift perception apparatus.
Sometimes there are two ways to perceive something.
You are probably focusing on the couple in coitus and not seeing any porpoise at all...



Thanks to Cynthetiq for this one
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Old 09-22-2003, 03:28 PM   #83 (permalink)
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Here's one that reminds me of the idea that's conveyed in this paragraph we've recently encountered:

"It deosn't mttaer waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteres are at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a tatol mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe."

..................................................

Ok, wtih taht in mnid, cehck out tihs ad:

http://www.frenchconnection.com/flash/index_small.html
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Old 09-23-2003, 07:07 AM   #84 (permalink)
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fascinating Art... *smile*

I was thinking of you and this thread just last night actually...

was watching a movie late last night... typical scene were someone is walking slowly through their house at night... with trepidation... eerie music is playing in the background... danger seemed imminent... though nothing pointed to that fact, except for the music, and the way in which the director painted the scene...

my heart was pounding... i was holding my breath... squeezing my fists...

i realized how often i feel exactly the same way while walking through my own home when alone at night... even on the most peaceful summer evening...

my body is conditioned to "fight or flight" everytime i walk down that dark hallway... no matter how serene or safe the situation may be in reality...

the depth and range of how much we really are shaped by the external never ceases to amaze me...
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Old 09-23-2003, 08:45 AM   #85 (permalink)
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I used to teach media criticism in graduate school and we would deconstruct images like these - it was amazing to watch the lights go on as the students realized that there are messages...and then there are messages. I had many students credit the class with changing the way they viewed media - we focused particularly on network and local news and other infotainment - and at least one student curse me for ruining television for him forever.

~springrain - I have had many similar experiences and it's frightening to realize just how much we've internalized certain "scripts" from the media. If I'm by myself at home, washing the dishes with my back to the door because that's how the kitchen is configured (bad feng shui, I know ) I feel uneasy and keep checking over my shoulder. Why? Because "this is the part in the horror movie where the Villain sneaks up on the Unsuspecting Female." We have scripts about romance, relationships ("You complete me." Gag on Tom Cruise.), gender, work, money, you name it. Sometimes I feel like just a compilation of scripts, running subconsciously while I pretend to be driving the mental contraption. Even resisting the scripts merely feeds into another script - "countercultural pseudo-bohemian poseur buys subversive t-shirt." Awareness of the irony doesn't necessarily render the following of the script a self-directed act.

I do think awareness is the first step to freedom, but I find that as often as not it leads to paralysis, at least for me. I stand there at the grocery store, for example, looking at sixteen different brands of peanut butter - this one reminds me of my childhood; this one has a very attractive label; this one's on sale; this one's organic; this one donates profits to charity - and wonder about the semiotic significance of my eventual purchasing decision. "What does this peanut butter say about me?" THEY'RE ALL FRICKING MADE OF PEANUTS. The only real difference is the branding.

I just read a great book by William Gibson - "Pattern Recognition" in which the protagonist is allergic to brand identifiers. She grinds the "Levis" logo off the grommets (?) on her jeans. Tommy Hilfiger gives her a migraine. The Michelin Man sends her into shock. I found myself noticing the presence of branding and it made me realize how incredibly saturated we are by advertisement and branding, how we ourselves are branded (remember the origins of the word - the hot iron searing flesh), how unaware we tend to be - it's just background noise.

So, short of the cataclysmic destruction of our society, is there any way out? Is awareness enough to reverse the damage? Is it possible to reclaim our psyches or are we forver doomed to be tools of the image-makers? Since they play on already-existing human tendencies to make everything MEAN something, is there any way to turn it off, or to turn their methods on them and produce more empowering meanings from the symbols we're given?
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Old 09-23-2003, 08:51 AM   #86 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by lurkette
"What does this peanut butter say about me?" THEY'RE ALL FRICKING MADE OF PEANUTS.
Lurkette, what's the first rule of Fight Club?

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Old 09-23-2003, 09:22 AM   #87 (permalink)
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Originally posted by Lebell
Lurkette, what's the first rule of Fight Club?

The first rule of Fight Club is you don't talk about Fight Club.
The second rule of Fight Club is YOU DON'T TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB.



You are not your fucking khakis.

God I love that movie.

OK, so perhaps there are several levels of awareness that we slip in and out of:

1. Oblivion: Want to go shopping? Abercrombie & Fitch are having a sale.

2. Awareness of manipulation: Eureka! They WANT me to buy stuff and are trying to MAKE me do it!

3. Criticism of said manipulation and analysis of response: How are they trying to manipulate me? What effect does this have on my actions/thoughts/identity? (I think this is where I was in the grocery store - aware of the manipulation, trying to figure out which choice would get me OUT of the trap of being manipulated.)

4. Provisional freedom: Temporary transcendence of symbolic value, a return to pure use value. Aw, fuck it. It's peanut butter. This one's cheap and has the least sugar. Done.

5. ???

There has to be something more. Subversion of the process, not just learning to live in/around it.
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Old 09-23-2003, 11:11 AM   #88 (permalink)
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lurkette...

i took my first "media study" course back in high school. it was offered at the local college, and i needed a "blow-off" class for extra credits in this free study program i was in...

it blew me away!

funny though how even though i have studied and been aware of the power of the media over the years... subconsciously it still effects me quite powerfully. it feels like a never ending battle -- i can totally relate to what you said about feeling paralyzed! it's as though my brain simply reaches overload.

really interesting thoughts... good to be reminded of all this and find new ways to shut off all those unending subconscious scripts...

thanks lurkette... excellent insight *smile*
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Old 09-23-2003, 11:14 AM   #89 (permalink)
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the answer for us always was, is, and will always be increased awareness.

this refers to the issue(s) at hand
and also to any other issue(s)
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Old 09-23-2003, 11:18 AM   #90 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by ARTelevision
It's good to practice using your perceptual-shift perception apparatus.
Sometimes there are two ways to perceive something.
You are probably focusing on the couple in coitus and not seeing any porpoise at all...



Thanks to Cynthetiq for this one
BTW... thre are 9 dolphins in this picture
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Old 09-23-2003, 03:40 PM   #91 (permalink)
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~springrain

that's great! it's good that you associated the content we're discussing here with a media experience while you were having it and also observing its effect on you.

that's why I pursue this stuff.
it is about raising awareness.
I have some faith in us when we are in more heightened states of awareness.

it never ends...
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Old 09-23-2003, 03:49 PM   #92 (permalink)
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lurkette,
as you say:

"I used to teach media criticism in graduate school and we would deconstruct images like these - it was amazing to watch the lights go on..."

there's nothing quite like opening the gates of perception a little more than they had been open before.
this feeling is the same whether we open them for ourseves or for others.

it always feels like the right thing to be doing...
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Old 09-23-2003, 03:51 PM   #93 (permalink)
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Cynthetiq - yep!
it makes the whole thing even more swimmingly erotic, does it not?
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Old 09-24-2003, 10:26 AM   #94 (permalink)
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Yet would you want to cut your life off entirely from the media and the popular world? You can only live in the universe of your own fabrication for a certain amount of time before you will lose touch with the rest of humanity.

Idolizing, replaying, fixating-- these concepts are of the evil's kin. We cannot focus our lives on non-reality. We cannot live our lives beyond the moment, the present. Emotion is only truly remarkable when experienced as the reality unfolds.

Living through our idols, living through a reality that is anyone's but our own was never, and will never be healthy nor rewarding.
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Old 09-26-2003, 12:24 PM   #95 (permalink)
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edited do to rambeling

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Old 09-26-2003, 12:37 PM   #96 (permalink)
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Litespeed, bender,
Thanks for the thoughtful input...

I believe, in general, that by questioning the things before our eyes, we have a better chance of understanding the things that lie right behind our eyes.

I am a media critic because I think it's what each one of us needs to be. That's pretty much my position here.

There are a lot of interesting ideas bender raises and many of them are the kind of thing one gets to discuss in Media Studies classes.

I like the image of the flashing lights and repeated messages that he raises. The first Homa Sapiens were involved in just such rituals when, in the caves of Lascaux, their elders and wise men initiated them into the secrets of life and the hunt. Inside those caves the flickering firelight played against the first public media spectacles - the cave paintings of bison, hunters, prey, and the symbols of their thought. The repetetition of chants and songs must have created something like a cinematic experience.

Public spectacles involve and engage citizens and are effective in getting people to tow the cultural line. This has ever been true...

There are many ways to look at all this.
It's cool to read various responses to this thread.
Thanks!
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Old 09-26-2003, 02:28 PM   #97 (permalink)
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Excellent thread ART.

This forum is considered a form of media, is it not?

You Have effectively changed the way I think now because I will question myself more on decisions I make. How and why we make decisions can be altered by almost any event in one's life.
With the deluge of media in our current world, of course we will be influenced whether we are conscious of it or not.
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Old 09-26-2003, 07:28 PM   #98 (permalink)
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Here's an interesting one. It's from 2001 but it will go down in history. Read it and weep:
.............................

Philip Morris draws fire for anti-smoking freebies to schools

WASHINGTON -- Millions of book covers sent to schools by cigarette maker Philip Morris show children on snowboards and skis and warn them: ``Don't Wipe Out. Think. Don't Smoke.''

The free covers have sparked protests from education and health advocates across the country, who call the brightly colored fold-over covers a smoke screen that violates a 1998 ban on tobacco advertising to children.
The critics charge the covers attempt to link Philip Morris' name more to fun in the snow than to the ``don't smoke'' message and contain subliminal smoking messages. Some are demanding investigations by state attorneys general.
Students and teachers also have complained about the covers, part of 26 million produced last year for the cigarette maker.
``The snowboard looks like a lit match. The clouds look like smoke. The mountains look like mounds of tobacco at an auction,'' said Gerald Kilbert, who directs the California Education Department's Healthy Kids Program. ``The tobacco industry is still up to their old tricks of trying to attract children using different techniques.''
Philip Morris says its willingness to fight youth smoking should not be judged by the book covers. The maker of Marlboro, Virginia Slims and other popular brands says the covers have no secret message and don't violate the agreement.

In a letter on Wednesday to the attorneys general, however, advocates said the Philip Morris covers are ``promoting its brand name among schoolchildren,'' and the campaign ``appears to be indirectly promoting tobacco products to them.''

The National Association of Attorneys General is reserving judgment.
``It will take some fairly sophisticated analysis,'' said Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson, who oversees enforcement of the state-tobacco agreement. ``You are not dealing with direct messages but rather indirect and subliminal messages.''

``The potential for a violation is there,'' he said. ``Anytime you have material going into schools, you at least raise a red flag.''
Last year, Philip Morris sent about 26 million book covers free to 43,000 schools nationwide.
Arizona high school students complained to the state attorney general. A Rhode Island middle school health counselor tossed them after seeing the cigarette makers' copyright. The California school superintendent asked principals statewide to keep them away from students.
``The need isn't for Philip Morris to do anti-smoking campaigns,'' said Matt Myers, the top lawyer for the advocacy group Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. ``The need is for Philip Morris to stop doing advertising that makes its products more popular among children than any other brands.''
Philip Morris, which spends $100 million a year on government-backed anti-smoking projects and print and television anti-smoking advertising, feels a duty to deter underage users of its products and sought a message that would appeal to students, said company spokesman Brendan McCormick.
``The only intention with the covers is to help reduce the incidence of youth smoking,'' McCormick said. The covers include the surgeon general's patent warning against smoking and a the company's name in a copyright declaration.

The covers, which include sunbursts and other sporting designs, were tested in market focus groups, McCormick said, and none of those children saw pro-smoking images. He said the covers are ``in accordance with the spirit of the agreement.''
In a 1998 settlement for $200 billion with several states, cigarette makers were banned from advertising to underage customers. In the pact between 46 states and the tobacco industry, Philip Morris, along with firms such as R.J. Reynolds and Brown & Williamson, agreed to help states pay for youth anti-smoking campaigns.
Book covers, often required by schools to protect textbooks from excessive wear, are widely distributed by other companies. Primedia, which owns in-school network Channel One, designs and distributes covers for Philip Morris, Kellogg, Walt Disney Co. and Hershey Food Co. among others. No Philip Morris covers are planned for 2001, Primedia said.
``The book covers seek to make Philip Morris a credible messenger,'' said Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids' Myers. ``That only enhances its traditional advertising.''
Some smoking opponents, wary of any help from tobacco companies, say their ads avoid mention of the harsh realities of smoking like lung cancer.
``It's like the fox guarding the henhouse,'' said Carol Hall-Walker, who manages anti-tobacco projects for Rhode Island, where 34 percent of high schoolers smoke. ``Their ultimate goal is to sell cigarettes.''
...............................

Now, back to the poster.
Does it seem different to you now that you know something more about it?

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Old 09-26-2003, 07:36 PM   #99 (permalink)
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I didn't even need to read the article to notice the match-looking snowboard. That's absolutely terrible. Is there any follow-up on this story that you know of?
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Old 09-26-2003, 07:48 PM   #100 (permalink)
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heh. someone out there needs a research topic, maybe?

............

I just noticed how the overall shape of the image area resembles an open matchbook.
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Old 09-26-2003, 09:48 PM   #101 (permalink)
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I noticed the "match-looking" snow board and the smoke in the background. I admit that I was looking for it because of the topic of this thread. Would I have seen it otherwise? I dont know.

This is a fascinating topic. I just spent about a half hour reading and studying the pictures.

Thanks for bringing it up, Art. I will be watching to see where the discussion goes....
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Old 09-26-2003, 10:00 PM   #102 (permalink)
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BTW, I did some research on google about the book cover art....

http://caag.state.ca.us/tobacco/pdf/1pm_bkc.pdf

The above article, in Adobe format (so I cant copy and paste it), talks about how Marlboro agreed to remove all of the bookcovers from schools in California.

Interesting.
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Old 09-27-2003, 12:31 AM   #103 (permalink)
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tj2001cobra, thanks for going the extra mile
(for a camel)
.............................................................................................

"Just why we are no longer content to leave our experiences in the subliminal state and why many people have begun to get very conscious about the unconscious, is a question well worth investigating."
-Marshall Mcluhan
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Old 09-27-2003, 06:22 AM   #104 (permalink)
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what gets me is...if we know of the subliminal messages,why do we try so hard to figure them out.

if we were to take a quick flip through a magazine or newspaper,why would you want to dig deeper into what "might" be there?

i myself don't watch tv very often,i find no need for the b.s. that is floating around.i feel i can entertain my self or mind by doing things that i can feel or touch,rather than have someone tell me how i feel.or by sittin' in front of a tv.

it would be nice if there wasn't any advertisers suckin' people into whatever it is they are selling,but then again,that's what the media is all about right?


i'm aware of my surroundings and hope i'm in control of what my life is and what it will be.i figure i'm on the right path.

great thread Art.thanx for the wake up call.
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Old 09-27-2003, 06:30 AM   #105 (permalink)
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flyman, thanks,
Well, thing is our minds are figuring-things-out machines.
On their own, they look for patterns, meaning, what's up - all the time. It's their job. Our minds read things forward, backwards, and sideways trying to figure out what the hell is coming around the next corner.

This sort of thing helps us survive but we can be fooled. Our senses can be fooled very easily. And we can only pay attention to one view of things at a time.

Either we try to be conscious about it or we get snookered every time we turn around. Knowing the dealer has a card up his sleeve makes you watch him like a hawk - we've got a lot at stake in these games.
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Old 09-27-2003, 12:08 PM   #106 (permalink)
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Some subliminals are right in front of you. Ever walk thru your house and notice how many product logos you look at hundreds of times a day? Do you hate the forced commercials at movies? Billboards? Telemarketers? Spam?


You can't look anywhere to get away from them. You pull into a parking space in some places, the space has an ad. You walk in the door and you're inundated with ads and sales from several companies. You get a cart, it's got an ad in the basket. You look at the floor, where you've already walked on several ads. You get what you need and get into your car that makes sure you know it's a Dodge by having the logo on at least 3 places on the wheel and dash. You get out into traffic and stop at the red light, only to see the billboards perfectly placed for you to see while you're stuck in traffic. Captive advertising strikes again. You turn on the radio to get a little music, and you find ads again. Of course you aren't "forced" to look at or listen to the ads except for the movies, but you can't avoid looking at them either.

So you get home and put away your Oscar Meyer in your Frigidaire. You start a load of clothes in your Kenmore washer. You go upstairs and flip on your Daewoo television to watch a movie. You grab your Microsoft mouse and turn up your Panasonic stereo. You navigate to find the film you dled on your Philips monitor. It's a little hot so you turn on the Lasko fan. Why is this important? It illustrates how many times we are subjected to brand logos in a 5 minute period in our own home.

The key ingredient to brainwashing is repetition. It isn't necessary to have the logo on the front of appliances and other household items. All info such as make and model could easily be priinted on the back or bottom of each consumer appliance. No, they are there for the sole reason of free advertising! You see their logo 1000's of times in the usage of their product, whether consciously or subconsciously.

When will it end? I understand the need of ads to promote products and whatnot, but it's going way too far. After realizing the effect of seeing those things I went thru my house and removed as many logos from my things as pobbile. My mouse's logo has been filed off, as has my stereo, monitor, car, TV etc etc. I don't need to have these brands drilled into my head to insure future purchases subliminally. May seem extreme to some but I don't need the name of a company in my face ever svery second. The only clothes I buy with a logo are my shoes.



I also get disgusted at the use of sex in any commercial that isn't selling a sex related product...taking advantage of my animal sex drive offends me as a person and the idea behind it that reduces me to a blubbering idiot with his cock in his hand going to buy the thing that showed the girl in the shower screaming "YES YES!!!" during her "totally organic experience". It's an insult to all our intelligence, and I turn away from many products by the way they're marketed. It's the only way to fight it... don't support it.
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Old 09-27-2003, 05:37 PM   #107 (permalink)
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>>Ultimately, I think mass media just gives the masses what they want, rather than controlling them..

Mass media TELLS the consumers what they NEED and that they are inadequate if they do not have it. It is more obvious in the electronics industry and I sometimes catch myself buying into the nonsense. Sometimes I DON'T catch myself until it is too late.

More and more sensory input is devoted to keeping us distracted from what really goes on. Buy this, buy that, watch this, watch that, did you see this, did you see that... it goes on and on and keeps us occupied and distracted from more important things. No one can stand up for our rights or institute change while sitting on their asses watching Survivor or playing with the newest gadgets and games. Does that seem coincidental?

I am extremely interested in subliminal advertising and I don't immediately see the clear messages in the previous pictures. I can see odd bits but can't put them together. hmmm.
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Old 09-27-2003, 05:39 PM   #108 (permalink)
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we perceive things all at once - upside down as well as right side up.
we also selectively focus on things



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Old 09-27-2003, 07:18 PM   #109 (permalink)
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some new scientific evidence for all of this

I raise these issues for several reasons.
First - Existing in an environment supersaturated by media as we do, it is crucial we comprehend its nature, including how and why it is created and sustained.
Second - Asking questions is the most consciousness-raising thing I can think of doing. This topic is an important one to be thinking about.
Third - It's all much bigger than anyone can imagine. I'm looking to expand the discussion beyond the dissection of individual ads and campaigns to a broader one - one in which the implications are global, in terms of both geography and consciousness.

With this in mind, here's a story from "Nature" magazine.



Subliminal sights educate brain

Paying attention isn't the only way to learn.

Today's busy world could overwhelm our ever-learning brains.

You must pay attention to learn, teachers say. Not necessarily, US psychologists now argue: sights we are unaware of can have a lasting impact on our brains.

Subliminal training can improve our ability to see moving dots, Takeo Watanabe and his co-workers at Boston University, Massachusetts, have found. "Without noticing, we are unconsciously learning," Watanabe says. Repeated exposure to objects we are oblivious to "could have a tremendous effect on our brains", he says.

The findings show that for basic visual processes "the brain is never resting", says Robert Stickgold, who studies consciousness at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Psychologists must now ask whether we can learn more complex tasks without paying attention, says Stickgold. Although for students looking to skip school he cautions that "No one's going to learn a foreign language without going to lessons."

Live and learn

We are learning automatically as we walk around, explains Ken Nakayama, who studies vision at Harvard. "Patterns pass us all the time," he says, like cars and people on the street.

Subconscious learning may be an efficient way to absorb these sideline features without trying. "You can't pay attention to everything," he says. "The less the world we're living in is like the one we evolved in, the more the mechanism is inappropriate," says Stickgold.

Such a learning strategy may have evolved to help us incorporate recurrent, and therefore important, information about our environment into our memory, thinks Watanabe. Animal movements are a good example. The results also suggest we cannot screen out irrelevant, unwanted information. This is worrying, given that today we are bombarded with moving images from TVs, neon signs and even mobile phone displays.


Join the dots

Watanabe's team asked subjects to look at letters on a screen. Surrounding the letters were dots moving randomly, like the background fuzz after TV programmes have ended for the night. The participants did not realise that 5% of the dots were moving consistently in one direction.

After 25 days of subliminal training, people were tested on their ability to see a detectable level (10%) of dots moving in one direction. They were 20% better than normal at seeing the movement orientation they had previously been exposed to1.Certain features of an object, such as movement or colour, make nerve cells in the brain fire. Subliminal training may fine-tune these cells, making them especially sensitive to a particular direction of motion, the team thinks.

References
1. Watanabe, T., Nanez, J.E. & Sasaki, Y. Perceptual learning without perception. Nature, 413, 844 - 848, (2001).

.................................................................................

Think about this and "connect the dots," for yourself...
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Old 09-28-2003, 07:03 PM   #110 (permalink)
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Old 09-29-2003, 11:04 AM   #111 (permalink)
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"Manufacturing Desire"

A look at the reasons behind the mass media mind control:

http://adbusters.org/magazine/28/desire/1.html

Text:

Manufacturing Desire
By Harry Flood
Photography by Mark Gilbert and Robert Kenney

Welcome to the factory floor. The product? Things that are not essential, but hard to live without. What's being supplied here is demand. Want. Craving. All you could desire. All you can imagine. Maybe more than you can handle.

"Why is this child smiling?" asks a recent print ad of a cute tot blissfully snoozing. "Because he has lived his whole life in the biggest bull market in history." Cue the smug nods, the flush of pride. For here, swaddled in Baby Gap and lying in a Morigeau crib, is the immaculate American kid, born in the best damn place and time there has ever been. A child wanting for nothing.

He will soon learn, of course, to want everything.

Americans are beyond apologizing for their lifestyle of scorched-earth consumerism. To the strange little cabal of moralists -- Robert Frank, Jedediah Purdy et al. -- who have recently questioned the official program, the response has mostly been to crank up the volume and drown the doubt out. Global consumer culture? Supersize it, baby. Pile on the wattage, horsepower, silicone, cholesterol and RAM until the lights flicker, the smoke-alarms shriek and the cardiac paddles lurch to life. Give us marbled steaks and sport-utes, please, and put it all on our tab -- we're good for it. Because we are working dogs. And we have worked out the formula for millennial prosperity: keep your head down and your wallet open, and watch the economy roll. Enjoy the rollicking good times while building "the America we deserve."

Time was, decadence on this scale was something to fear. If one group of people was gobbling up resources out of all proportion to its needs, consuming at thirty times the rate of other groups of people, at everyone's expense, well . . . that was bad karma, to say the least. Their society was surely soft, cancerous and doomed.

But somehow, the First World has managed to give it all a happy spin. We have decided not to avoid decadence but to embrace it. Crave it. Buy it. Sell it. What's decadent? Ice cream with the density of plutonium, a bubblebath with a barley-flour chaser, that great new Gucci scent called "Envy." Decadence is just the celebration of universal human appetites, fully expressed -- and any premium wiener who'd object to that idea must already be half-dead.

There's no mistaking contemporary America for Versailles-era France or Rome in the time of the Caesars. Decadence has grown up, grown cool, grown systematic in its excess. It's an indoor trout stream in the tasteful lakeside mansion of a software magnate. It's leasing, rather than owning, a fine German automobile so you can exchange it for a new one in ten months. You don't see the new deci-billionnaires of Silicon Valley splashing their wealth around wantonly, like the '80s Wall Street crowd. What you see is specific, laser-guided generosity -- like cutting friends and relatives into the IPO, or buying a tax-deductible painting by your boss' kid. Keeping the money in the family. The woman most recently canonized by the American media was a personal shopper, by trade. (It was said Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, whose job was to purchase things for other people too wealthy or time-pressed to purchase things for themselves, personified elegance, refinement and understatement.) The new design aesthetic, as seen in Wallpaper magazine, is sexily minimalist, with high design and hyperattention to every detail. Labor-intensive and expensive as hell, but worth it.

See how much we've grown up? Can you understand now why the rest of the world has its nose to the glass, wanting a piece of this?

Perhaps decadence isn't a thing but a behavior -- some gesture just arrogant and shameless enough to be Bad (read, good). An American golf fan, swept up by jingoism, spits on a rival golfer's wife at a prestigious international tournament. A real-estate mogul erects a great middle-finger of an apartment building shadowing the United Nations. The most powerful man in the world proves he is pathologically unable to apologize.

Or maybe decadence goes deeper than a behavior, as deep as the emotion that hatched it. The Motion Picture Association of America fixes an R rating on films that include profanity, nudity, sex, violence or "decadent situations." So understanding decadence may simply involve renting a few saucy blockbuster action pictures and monitoring the responses they provoke. As the beloved stars appear on the screen, predictable thoughts materialize in the primitive hindbrain of the viewer: I want your hair. I want your money. I want to see you naked on the Internet.

Not every American lives a decadent life, of course. But decadence, as the marketers say, has great penetration. Those who aren't themselves trashing hotel rooms or being photographed in their swimming pools for InStyle magazine, end up thinking a lot about those who are -- because the culture of celebrity (or the culture of "ornament," as Susan Faludi calls it) is the water we're all swimming in. Refracted through the glass of the tank, the contours of the world outside tend to distort.

A Canadian newspaper recently quoted a Toronto woman who had taken a leave from her law practice to stay home with the baby. She was grumbling that the family was now forced to get by on her husband's $37,000 salary. "I love to live in poverty," she said, sardonically. "It's my favorite thing in life." The story was supposed to be about the social trend of professional women making domestic choices. But it was really about a different social trend altogether: the hyper-inflation of the concept of "enough."

To borrow journalist Robert Kaplan's metaphor, the First World is driving a Cadillac through Harlem. The passengers are hermetically protected. The air-conditioner is on, Wynton Marsalis is issuing from the stereo, beers chill in the minibar. It's hard to make much out through the tinted windows, but no matter. Nothing that's happening outside has any bearing on what's happening inside. At least, that's our willful illusion. It's an illusion that seems indefinitely sustainable, though it isn't.

Decadence is self-delusion on a massive scale. Like the motto of the new gadget-packed magalog Sony Style -- "things that are not essential, yet hard to live without" -- it's about convincing ourselves of the value of this lifestyle, because to question it would force choices we're not prepared to make.

'How much do I deserve?' we all ask ourselves, if only implicitly. 'Not just money, but adventure, sex, fizzy water, educational opportunities, time on the beach, peace of mind -- the package. How much do I deserve?'

A thoughtful answer might be, 'I don't deserve anything. The notion that some people are just naturally more entitled than others is for Calvinists, Monarchists and Donald Trump. It simply doesn't feel right to claim more than a modest reasonable allotment. If I've happened to stake a claim on a rich crook of the river, that's my good luck. The guy upstream has worked just as hard as I have. So I share.'

But that view now seems downright un-American. 'How much do I deserve? All I can cram in my mouth, brain, glove-box and daytimer,' says the hard-charging capitalist. 'I've earned it. And you haven't earned the right to tell me differently.' That's why, when the Australian ethicist Peter Singer wonders, "What is our charitable burden?" it strikes so many Americans as unusual, controversial, bizarre. For a lot of folks, the calculation of an acceptable level of personal sacrifice is easy: It's zero. No other answer computes. I think that partly explains the extreme responses Singer evokes. He touches people in a place they don't like to be touched.

Are Americans today intrinsically more base and self-centered than other folks, past and present? Hard to make that argument fly. It's just that never before in history have so few barriers been placed in front of the expression of a National id. No opponents challenge us. No authority figures monitor us. No threat of consequence or reprisal encourages civility, modesty, fairness or grace. The "life of struggle" that Schopenhauer identified as essential to man isn't obvious in the contemporary US. The struggle against want has been won; all foes have been conquered but one. That one is boredom, the opposite of suffering.

Not long ago, the actor Charlie Sheen, an Angels baseball fan, bought up all the tickets in a left-field section of Anaheim stadium and sat out there by himself, pounding his mitt, hoping to catch a fly ball. (None came his way.) Why did he do that? Because he could. America is decadent because nothing prevents it from being so. "Because I can" is the ironic successor to the more earnest, Kantian, "Because I should." When there's no other rationale for a behavior, and none seems to be required, that's decadence -- no less so for the smirky tagline.

Decadence is what happens when the energy of a whole society gets channeled into the trivial or the mercenary. In the age of the supercharged Dow, everything reduces to an "opportunity," at an incalculable (though unacknowledged) cost.

As hurricane Floyd blew through Florida, day-traders jumped into the commodities markets looking to cash in on tragedy. Orange juice and cotton futures shot up. Lumber futures rose because homes smashed to flinders would presumably need to be rebuilt. Then the hurricane moved northward, and traders eased off, waiting to see if there would be, as one trader put it, "any real damage." "I don't think morality has anything to do with the way markets work, that's what this is telling you," a labor economist reached for comment summarized. What does it tell you when the most powerful engine of the country, a chief driver of its culture, functions independent of human morality?

I pondered that question recently while sitting on the throne in the bathroom of the office where I work. Often there are magazines to read in there, but on the last few occasions there haven't been -- only catalogues. Another sign of the times. In the most private of the day's moments, where we used to relax and be told a story, now we gaze at pictures of a car or a computer or a coffeemaker. Consumer lust loosens the sphincter and in an almost orgasmic spasm, we let go. (Of maybe the last thing we're willing to let go.)

It's tempting to think of decadence as a personal act with personal consequences (namely, to the soul.). If that were true, it would all come down to a matter of taste, and we could agree to live and let live with our own strange preoccupations. But decadence is really a political act. Americans aren't living large in a vacuum; they're living large at the expense of things and people: the growing underclass, the stability of the economy, the texture of mental environment, the planet itself. Every mile we log alone in the car, every sweat-shop-made sneaker we buy, every porn site we visit, every tobacco stock we day-trade in, is a brick in wall of the new world we're creating. Not everyone got a vote in this process; yet everyone pays the price. Eventually, everyone pays an incredible price.

"In a new way, America's decadence has made it vulnerable," a friend offers. Today, all is well, so keep your eye on today. Ten years ago the average personal savings rate in North America was about ten percent. Now it's zero. "If the Dow tumbles, people literally will not be able to tolerate a diminishment in their lifestyle. You'll see consumer rage, deeper and deeper debt problems as consumption patterns hold constant but income falls." Because, the thing is, the desire doesn't go away. The manufacture of desire won't slow down, even if the manufacture of everything else does.

-------

Again, I ask: is there any way out? How can we compete against a system that takes subversion and commodifies it? Here's another article about the branding of anti-brand aesthetics:

http://adbusters.org/magazine/49/art...rand_cool.html

Adbusters always makes me think, but always makes me feel so powerless. It's like saying "yup, you have cancer" without then discussing any of the treatment options or prognosis.

Tough choices will be required, but which choices?
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Old 09-29-2003, 12:24 PM   #112 (permalink)
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If I stop and take a look at a global pic.
edit...babeled on sorry.

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Old 09-29-2003, 12:28 PM   #113 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by bender
If I stop and take a look at a global pic. here, I notice that almost every country has a state run media station eg: the BBC the US who is the largest exporter of media has no national tv or radio station. Radio Free Europe isn't the exclusive domain of the US, so keeping with the BBC they have a responsibility to the people of the nation of fair reporting and a standard of what it broadcasts. This standard seems to be of a higher level then that of other stations, and has to be kept that way.
The US has no such thing so if one broadcaster shows a naked girl then the door is open for the rest to do so, and the same applies to the ads that they run.
If they show an ad that has a hidden msg, and they know it then the door is open for the next guy to drop his standards and so it goes.

The US does have something to monitor the airwaves, the FCC.

The FCC regularly monitors broadcasts for content. Howard Stern would get fined regularly in the 90's.

Not only do they check the normal commnications channels, but also all radio frequencies including pirate radio stations. It may not happen immediately but they will eventually find someone who transmits regularly.
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Old 09-29-2003, 04:33 PM   #114 (permalink)
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Yes. But the idea of nudging the barriers is one which we should pursue. The pernicious kind of "evolution" that occurs with these messages is unchecked by any sort of regulation and there is a definite loosening of the bounds of acceptability.

Thanks for all the great comments here. It's going to take a while to sort all your ideas out...
I'm pleased that we are thinking about this stuff.
It is what sets us free - or at least on the path toward liberation.
Ultimately, of course, it's a personal issue, isn't it?
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Old 09-30-2003, 04:55 AM   #115 (permalink)
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the twins thing


(Diane and Elaine Klimaszewski and their Coors Light billboard)

Do you have this billboard in your town?
We do.
It sits along a heavily traveled highway up there on its pedestal like drive-by cinema.
You know. It’s the Coors beer twins.

How about the double entendre’.
I recall a particular season on MTV’s “Real World” where one of the girls constantly referred to her breasts as “the twins”.
It’s a fairly common expression and is pretty universally understood.

Well here they are on display.
Not only that, they’re touching – tit for tat, as it were.

This is also a fairly common ploy.
Here’s another example:



I came across a pretty interesting analysis of these Coors girls in Salon magazine.
Here it is:
…………

The twins thing

Coors beer ads have created a fantasy scenario with an incestuous twist that communicates brilliantly with the pig-like male brain.

By Shari Waxman

May 30, 2003 | The sexual exploitation of women in beer ads supports the misperception that women exist for men's pleasure alone; as well, it creates a standard of beauty that is impossible for the average woman to achieve, often resulting in feelings of inadequacy and blah, blah, blah, blah. Does anyone even care anymore?

That said, there is something uniquely off-color about Coors' latest advertising campaign. The commercial spots, which first aired during the 2002-03 NFL season, are responsible for Coors' highest-ever ad ratings, predicted increases in product sales, and a newfound relevance with 21- to 25-year-old male consumers. Though the musical odes to stuff guys love -- "two-hand touch," "short skirts," "burritos at 4 a.m." -- played during the commercials are clever, credit for the campaign's success goes to Diane and Elaine Klimaszewski. Besides being just plain hot, the aesthetically gifted 26-year-old blondes featured in the campaign are twin sisters. Twin sisters whose four blue eyes seem always to be saying, "Hey boys, anyone up for a three-way?" Sisters in a three-way? Gross.

With the Barbie twins busy working toward an eating disorders-free world and the Olsen twins still just this side of nubile, Diane and Elaine have secured the No. 1 spot in the twins category. Their Coors fame has since led the model/actor/singer sisters to appearances in "Star Trek: Enterprise," a new Peter Gabriel video, J.Lo and Ben's upcoming film "Jersey Girl," and the November 2002 issue of Maxim; ventures in music (their self-titled debut pop album, "Klone," is available online), fashion (their lingerie line is called "Zipper Girl") and television (they are now developing the reality series "No Chicks Allowed").

Diane and Elaine are knockouts, no question, relatively not super skanky, and entrepreneurially spirited. But is their combined T&A factor that much greater than that of two equally hot but unrelated models? And, if so, why?

Coors is not breaking any ground with the "two girls is better than one" concept. That bandwagon has been teeming for years with advertisers (Guess Jeans, Jose Cuervo, Skyy Vodka and Abercrombie & Fitch, to name only a few), many of whom beat around the bush far less than Coors. For instance, in a currently airing alcoholic-beverage commercial, a duo of gorgeous women, pressed together in the cleavage-to-cleavage confines of a phone booth, manage to squeeze in Joe That-Could-Totally-Be-Me when they notice he comes bearing alcohol.

Foote, Cone & Belding, the agency responsible for the "Here's to Twins" ads, is not alone in knowing that every guy with blood in his veins has fantasized about being the roast beef in a hot woman sandwich. But they are alone in creating a ménage à trois fantasy scenario with an implicitly incestuous twist. Incest -- even between sisters, and even if only by association -- conjures images of drunk, portly uncles, birth defects, low I.Q.s, and missing teeth. This stuff usually doesn't make people thirsty for an ice-cold Coors. And it's stuff, you'd think, advertisers would want to stay away from.

Our instinct to avoid sexual relations with close relatives is less about producing messed-up offspring than people think. Prohibitions against such behavior, for blood and non-blood relations alike, were established prior to knowledge of genetics and continue despite effective and accessible birth control. A supplemental theory proposed by anthropologists and sociologists is that incestuous relationships lead to role conflicts within families, create ambiguous boundaries, and disturb normal psychological and social development. This is applicable to sexual relations in which procreation is not a possibility, for instance, sister-on-sister action.

The incest taboo has been a tough cookie to crack, but then, who's trying? Hooking up (voluntarily) with one's own parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, or cousins is not topping most people's sexual wish lists. Sure, it happens on occasion, and that bastard Freud insists we think about it, but moderately well-adjusted people seem to maintain their distaste for such behavior. So why has Coors risked millions of dollars on ads hinting at the one taboo that makes even the most sexually liberal among us squirm?

I looked to my male friends for insight into the matter. Their lack of it spoke volumes.

Greg, a 30-year-old business school student, went dumb when I asked him how he felt about the incestuous connotations in the "Here's to Twins" Coors ads. The look of incredulous annoyance on his face -- it read, "What the hell is your problem?" -- was one I would come to know well. I would also come to know that explaining I have no problem, but am simply wondering why it is that the implicit sexual relationship between twin sisters sits just fine with him, and in fact strikes him as fucking awesome, was not only futile but cruel. I had no idea that asking men to analyze the biological relationship between Diane and Elaine Klimaszewski would be like asking a 7-year-old to analyze the time frame for Santa's worldwide toy delivery schedule.

Greg wasn't going to let me ruin his fantasy. He delivered his sociological analysis of the phenomenon -- "I have no idea" -- with a heavy sigh before turning away. Bob, a 36-year-old reporter, only infuriated me further by saying what men always say when things get complicated: "You are thinking way too much about this." Such a cop-out. Only in this case he may have been right.

"It's not like they're really twins." Pause, eyes look to ceiling, mouth falls open. "Oh, you mean they're really twins?"
It was astonishing how many times I heard this from men who had read and/or heard the word "twins" while looking at the two physically identical women and still hadn't put 2 and 2 together. Even men who knew that Diane and Elaine are real twins were dumbfounded when I pointed out their blood relationship. They had never thought about it that way; they had never thought about it any way.

From my research I learned that men find real-life relationships are hard enough. All those post-coital responsibilities -- holding, talking, breakfast, phone calls, talking, commitments, talking, anniversaries and valentines, plus all that talking -- can really stress a guy out. So the less they have to act like decent human beings in their fantasies, the better. Even the most universal of male fantasies -- having two women at once -- turns nightmarish when interrupted by thoughts of emotional obligations. (Does this mean I have to call both of them the next day?) Their fantasies are about what could happen in a world free from the rules of wives and girlfriends (and, obviously, the rules of attraction) and from the reality that two identical women are biological twins. Even if they are really, really hot.

This is why Diane and Elaine are such a bargain. At least for fantasy purposes, men seem to perceive the pair as essentially one woman, with the bonus of two bodies. Two bodies servicing his body. Four boobs for the price of two.

Rest assured, most men still find incest gross. Oddly, some of the men I spoke with were offended by my mention of the issue in relation to Diane and Elaine. In their ironic innocence they had managed to enjoy the twins' physical sameness without processing the reality of their monozygotic relationship. As Scott, a 32-year-old magazine editor, so eloquently put it: "There are two of them and they are the same and I can have sex with them at the same time and did I mention that they're the same?" In other words, the twins are more than just two women -- they are two of one woman.

Despite their claims, I'm not convinced men are even into three-ways, or lesbians, for that matter. What they are into is two women working together in a joint effort to bring them pleasure. It is a scenario that deems the sexual relationship between the two women irrelevant; hence, the acceptability of the sister-sister-guy fantasy. The three-way scenario is that much more heavenly when the two women are indistinguishable from one another, their lack of identity being the ultimate in low-maintenance.

Scott had warned me from the beginning: "Men really are pigs, stupid pigs. You should be thankful that you don't understand this part of our psychology." Now that I know, I kind of wish I could go back to being thankful.
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Old 10-18-2003, 10:36 AM   #116 (permalink)
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Another sexy subliminal switcheroo

I came across another example of the old switcheroo by Palmolive.

You'll recall this one:

http://www.tfproject.org/tfp/showthr...934#post263934

...where the set up tricks us - for a moment - into seeing the arm as the woman's own appendage, but on closer inspection is revealed to be a dude sharing her intimate space!

Well, here's the same trick...seems they know a good subby when they create one:

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Old 10-18-2003, 11:01 AM   #117 (permalink)
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ART- This is the first time I've stopped in on this thread, I read the whole thing and I am quite amazed.

We're bombarded by these 24/7. I wouldnt be suprised if all those TV and radio waves boucing around the earth didnt screw with our brains somehow.....without even turning on the radio or the TV.

Oh well. I need some Palmolive.
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Old 10-18-2003, 12:50 PM   #118 (permalink)
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Yzerman, cool.
Thanks for checkin' it out.
yeah, we all need a bath after we get our brains washed with manipulative nonsense.
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Old 10-18-2003, 05:12 PM   #119 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by ARTelevision



Something funny about this picture.

"Who can resist the gentle touch?"
Probably didn't realize this but.. you can actualy see her right arm go between her legs, its like they made it so you can see the arm through the leg..
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Old 10-23-2003, 03:39 PM   #120 (permalink)
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SUBLIMINAL CITIZENS!

You've heard of "Viral Marketing"?
*Viral marketing describes any strategy that encourages individuals to pass on a marketing message to others, creating the potential for exponential growth in the message's exposure and influence. *

Well, here's a twist on that theme. You know that citizen standing next to you? He may be a walking, talking, breathing, ad!

..................................................................................................

Ordinary Citizens Recruited as Ad Spies

Paid Advertising Mercenaries Clandestinely Spread Word of Mouth Advertising

MIAMI, FL -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 10/21/2003 -- They're everywhere. And when they find you, they're going to get you to buy something you may have never intended to buy.

They're Ad Spies -- strategically placed, "ordinary" people who infiltrate crowds and deliver word-of-mouth advertising cloaked in everyday conversation. At bus stops, on commuter trains, at ballparks and even at work, unwitting captive audiences are being subjected to subliminal advertising messages that appear on the surface to be casual social banter. Paid advertising mercenaries, Ad Spies could be your friends, next door neighbors or co-workers … anyone, anywhere is suspect.

The brainchild of Miami, Florida-based TMR Advertising, Ad Spies was inspired by the success of America's special forces in Iraq. TMR executives reasoned that stealth-oriented, clandestinely conducted advertising would have greater impact than traditional, in-your-face advertising.

The Ad Spies methodology is simple, yet subtle. For example, on the commute home onboard the train someone may mention in passing that he's starved and can't wait to get his hands on a Big Mac. Or, while waiting for a bus a co-commuter might share the fact that this is his last bus commute because he just got a great deal on a new car at a local dealer. Anywhere, anytime ... wherever there's a crowd there's likely to be an Ad Spy.

Ad Spies also are being actively recruited by national political campaigns to garner support for this year's crowded Democratic field.

"The Ad Spies concept is custom tailored for political campaigns," said TMR Advertising Vice President, Margaret Kessler. "We can affect the voting patterns of thousands of constituents with only a handful of strategically placed Ad Spies."

Ad Spies are recruited, or cast, based on product/service target markets. If, for example, the target market is women 25-54 of a certain ethnic/racial and/or cultural demographic, an appropriate Ad Spy would be recruited who fits those demographic criteria.

As for those critics who ask where do you draw the line when it comes to clandestine advertising, Kessler has a definitive answer.

"It's all about blurring lines, not drawing them," said Kessler. "Sometimes it's not so much the message, but the messenger. And we've got the best messengers in the business."

http://www.marketwire.com/mw/release...lease_id=58917
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