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article imageBranding Their Brand: BMW tests afterimage advertising in Germany

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By Jenna Griffith     Dec 20, 2010 in Business
BMW unveils the first version of flash projection subliminal advertising – a unique but possibly unsafe approach to using flash projection technology.
Many people know when you stare at a bright light source then close your eyes, you can see the color-inverted ghost image of whatever you were looking at. The marketing team at BMW has taken this idea to the next level with subliminal advertising.
BMW's advertisement was tested at a German movie theater. Producers simply used a cutout of their initials in front of a Profoto Pro-7b studio flash unit generator. The whole setup was located stealthily behind the movie screen, and viewers had no idea what they were in for, according to Co.Design.
The ad features Ruben Xaus, a motorcycle racing champion. Toward the end of the fairly bland ad, Xaus states, “Close your eyes and you will see it. Close them now.” If the viewers closed their eyes on cue, they saw the letters B-M-W superimposed onto their eyelids.
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According to The Epoch Times, viewers were impressed by this overlaid image of the BMW logo on their retinas. However, The Epoch Times also reported a YouTube user post saying, “Have they done any studies on how this can affect peoples vision long term? Imagine one or two movies a week times a few years. That's serious retina damage.” Whether BMW is continuing research on this possibility of long-term retina damage is unknown.
Although the ad went over well with German viewers, some critics don't have the same faith in the American audience. The Week reported Charlie Sorrel from Wired.com saying, “somebody, somewhere, would decide to sue the theater for triggering an epileptic fit.”
BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, or Bavarian Motor Works in English) was founded in 1916. It manufactures motorcycles and many luxury vehicles under various brands. It is also the parent company of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars and owns and produces the Mini.
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