Knock it off, Davidoff

Little attention seems to have been paid in any of the writing on the subject of semi-subliminal advertising in non English speaking countries. This is presumably either on the assumption that it is largely an American phenomenon or that writers on the subject have no interest in languages other than English. The use of semi-subliminal ads has now spread considerably further than the US As these pages demonstrate it is relatively common in the UK In addition, whilst the author was on overseas holidays in 1998 and 1999 it became obvious that this type of manipulative advertising was also relatively common in some European countries. It was relatively easy to pick up examples in the current editions of popular magazines. On the basis that examples could be found in current magazines, it seems reasonable to assume that earlier examples also existed. Here are two Davidoff Cigarettes ads from German magazines. Each ad has artistically modified the smoke plume from the cigarette to show the figure of a woman. Additionally, if one views the close-up of the male smokers face from the ad on the left, one can notice curved shapes that could be perceived as the letter S just to the left of his nose. And, underneath his nose are many X shapes. To the left of the X's is an E. Even in countries where English is not the primary language the word sex is commonly understood by educated members of the public if not actually in common usage. And the caption is, as one can note, in English, indicating that this product is for a sophisticated audience. None of the 'letters' are particularly clear and you may wish to click on the rollover to view a larger version of the extract.

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