The Hyundai Superbowl Ads

The unique­ly Amer­i­can spec­ta­cle that is the Super­bowl has for decades attract­ed the most cut­ting-edge, the most inter­est­ing and some­times the most innane tele­vi­sion adver­tise­ments ever shown. (The Apple Com­put­er “1984” ad, for instance.) This year was no dif­fer­ence, but for the first time in many years (if ever) the ads this year includ­ed two with promi­nent and bla­tant hyp­not­ic imagery.

The first con­sists of a series of hyp­not­ic images that one sees con­stant­ly while on the road: spin­ning wheels, flash­ing wiper blades, blink­ing lights and end­less repet­i­tive images that all are asso­ci­at­ed with the phe­nom­e­non known as “High­way Hyp­no­sis”. But here the mes­sage is that peo­ple are hyp­no­tized into believ­ing that the type of auto­mo­bile being adver­tised can only be ordi­nary with the asso­ci­at­ed mes­sage to wake up from that trance.

The sec­ond is more bla­tant about the hyp­no­sis, actu­al­ly per­form­ing an induc­tion on the view­er with the counter-pur­pose of de-hyp­no­tiz­ing the view­er regard­ing mis-con­cep­tions regard­ing the make and mod­el of the auto being advertised.

Com­men­tary: Amus­ing. Cer­tain­ly amus­ing, even though they are both not only stereo­typ­i­cal but they also rein­force the stereo­types. Still, prob­a­bly no real harm done: its not as if they’re real­ly to tak­en seriously.

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