THE FOLLOWING IS A WARNING TO ALL AMERICANS: Though you may not have realized it while watching the Super Bowl Sunday, your brain was the recipient of some subtle but persistent mind games.
The bumpy, mucousy muscle living beneath your skullcap was being literally bombarded with images and secret subliminal messages contained within each and every commercial you viewed.
How do I know this? Because if I were Coke, Pepsi or Volkswagen, I would’ve done the same thing. Hey, if I had paid upward of $3 million to get 30 seconds of airtime on television, you're darn right I would’ve gone subliminal.Groupon ad offends both Tibetans and Chinese
So what were these “subliminal messages” being unknowingly stamped on your cerebellum during the Super Bowl? Let's find out.
COMMERCIAL CONTENT: A tiny Darth Vader toddles around his parents’ house attempting to use "the force" on various objects — with very little result. When Lil' Darth tries to mentally influence his father's new VW Passat, it shockingly roars to life. (It was actually dad who started the car up from the kitchen, using his key remote.)
SUBLIMINAL MESSAGE: As we all know from watching "Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi," Darth Vader was ultimately … a failure. Not only did he refuse to kill his own son, but he was humiliated when his plot to destroy Endor was squashed by a bunch of singing Ewoks.
Volkswagen is trying to sell Passats, sure — but they are also delivering a stern warning to young parents: BEWARE FALSE SELF-ESTEEM! Instruct your prepubescent lord to give in to his anger! To feel the hate swelling within him! This — not your idiotic remote key — is what will lead him to the dark side, and eventually, his destiny! And then? If he still will not be turned? He… will… be… DESTROYED. HAHAHAHAAAA! POWER!! UNLIMITED POWER!!!
COMMERCIAL CONTENT: An army of computer-graphic creatures uses a fire-breathing dragon to attack a fortress. When the inhabitants give the beast a Coke, the dragon loses all fire-breathing ability, and the battle is lost.
SUBLIMINAL MESSAGE: Soft drink consumption makes one impotent. (I’m not sure Coke really thought this one through. It was pretty, though.)
COMMERCIAL CONTENT: A sweaty Kim Kardashian forgoes sex with her gym trainer for a pair of Skechers sneakers.
SUBLIMINAL MESSAGE: You never, ever, ever want to have sex with Kim Kardashian.
COMMERCIAL CONTENT: So there’s this guy, and he’s supposed to be a “Minister of Detourism,” or something like that? And he walks into this glass room (I think), where there’s some sort of test going on? And I can’t understand a word he says, but it ends with a baby being catapulted into a wall. Yeah. I think that’s about it.
SUBLIMINAL MESSAGE: “We have no idea who we are, or what we’re selling. But we just paid $3 million to get a Super Bowl commercial, so yeah — we’re catapulting a baby into a wall.”
COMMERCIAL CONTENT: To demonstrate how much cargo the Mini Cooper can hold, contestants compete in a game show called “Cram it in the Boot.”
SUBLIMINAL MESSAGE: Ummmm… ahem. Cram it in the boot? HEY! How about that exciting game, huh, guys?!?
Best Buy’s Buy Back Program
COMMERCIAL CONTENT: After technological advances render 4G smartphone spokesperson Ozzie Osbourne obsolete, he is replaced by pop idol Justin Bieber.
SUBLIMINAL MESSAGE: Ozzie Osbourne is obsolete and will be replaced by Justin Bieber. Duh.
Chrysler Luxury Vehicles
COMMERCIAL CONTENT: A two-minute tough-as-nails explanation about how the city of Detroit really sucks — but because these brave automotive employees work so hard, they can still churn out a better luxury vehicle than any stinkin’ foreigner. Special guest star: Eminem!
SUBLIMINAL MESSAGE: This is basically the automotive industry remake of the Christine O’Donnell “I Am You” commercial. In other words, what they’re really saying is that if Detroit happens to make a decent car, it’s probably due to a mix of witchcraft and masturbation. (It’s also intended to make you think, “Heeeey … did Eminem get plastic surgery?)
COMMERCIAL CONTENT: An office worker accidentally hits “reply all” on an e-mail that was intended for his cubicle-mate but grievously insults his superiors. And so he races around town stealing laptops, grabbing smart phones and ripping out DSL wires to save his job.
SUBLIMINAL MESSAGE: Bosses are narcissistic idiots who are so stupid they can’t even take a joke — exxxxxxcept for my boss of course, who is pretty freaking awesome, and pays me exactly what I’m worth! Plus he’s got this amazing sense of humor, and always knows when just I’m kidding around… right? Right?
COMMERCIAL CONTENT: An African–American woman tries in vain to get her husband to stay on his diet, and after a series of attempts, allows him to have a Pepsi Max — which she uses to “accidentally” bludgeon an attractive white woman on the head.
SUBLIMINAL MESSAGE: Do I really have to explain this? OK, fine. White women! Stop stealing black women’s men! (This commercial brought to you by Black History Month.)
COMMERCIAL CONTENT: An office worker has such deep love for the processed cheese dust coating Doritos corn chips, he licks it off the finger of a co-worker.
SUBLIMINAL MESSAGE: Obviously, the Doritos human resources department is taking a stand on the controversial subject of sexual harassment. Doritos is clearly saying they have no objection to homoerotic behavior in the office, as long as cheese dust is involved.
Wm. Steven Humphrey is the nationally syndicated author of the weekly I Love Television™ column and the editor of the Portland Mercury newspaper in Portland, Ore. His opinions are very much his own.