Imagine a dystopian future where companies use hidden flash units to burn their logos into the retinas of innocent, unknowing citizens. It has a sort of George Orwell / Philip K. Dick vibe to it, doesn’t it? Only this isn’t fantasy, this is real.
Before I elaborate, let me explain something. There’s a condition pervading the general public that advertisers hate more than anything else: ad blindness. In this, the 21st century, we are bombarded by so many advertisements from television, print media and the internet that we’ve learned to subconsciously ignore it. That’s right. We see the ads but we don’t process the content.
In the past, advertisers have been sneaky. They’ve used pop up ads, spam and humor to wear away our defenses. In response, we – the general public – have developed pop up blockers, spam filters and Carlos Mencia. So those crafty marketing cretins at BMW (presumably not the same ones that thought up the horrendous 'dontblogaboutthis' campaign) have come up with a new technique: temporarily burning their logo into cinemagoers retinas.
Allow me to explain with an example; it’s night and you’ve having your photograph taken. The camera flash goes off, and for several seconds afterwards you’re left with a bright square in your field of vision every time you close your eyes.
BMW used the same principle, but placed a cut-out of their logo in front of the flash. The flash goes off and the logo is left hanging there behind your eyelids for a short time.
Great, huh? Only these people didn’t know about it, and the flash was hidden behind the cinema screen. Sounds like something out of C.S. Lewis’ That Hideous Strength, about an organization that (among other things) freely experiments on people for some half-though-out, scientific purpose. I don’t know what BMW is calling this new technique, though one phrase comes to my mind: eyeball rape. I give it ten years before they start doing this at Times Square.
By Tristan Hankins