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Here's lookin' at you kid. Part III



unidentified car ad thumbnail Unidentified car ad thumbnail of ad for Isuzu cars Isuzu Marlboro cowboy ad thumbnail Marlboro

Jack Daniel thumbnail Jack Daniel thumbnail of Mantegna's painting  Virtue chasing vice Mantegna's painting of Virtue chasing Vice


Liar! Liar!

Isuzu ad with 'face' on mountainside.Joe Isuzu couldn't tell the truth if his life depended upon it. His gross exaggeration of the capability of the Isuzu Trooper helped Isuzu capture a share of the lucrative American four wheel drive market. Aiding and abetting Joe in his endeavours was the fellow on shady side of this mountain. The 'head' and 'upper torso' of Joe's sidekick is clearly apparent in this thumbnail. For a larger image lick here (Actually, you might feel better if you clicked instead).

Other mountain ads also have featured faces relatively prominently e.g. the Gibbs SR

Extract (top part)  from unidentified car ad with 'face' on mountainside.
Extract (bottom part) from unidentified car ad with 'face' on mountainside.

and Perpetual Insurance ads. Here we have an ad for an automobile. The two page spread seems indicative of an idyllic holiday setting. But look what is overlooking the car. In the extract on the right look at the left hand side of the mountain crest. There you will find a jutting jawed figure with hooded eyelids. Is it indicative of man's best friend, a sleeping giant, or something more sinister? Who knows! But it would be of interest to know if this helped sell more cars.Unidentified car ad with 'face' on mountainside.








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Daniel in the lion's den

Ad for Jack Daniel's whiskey with interesting features in the glasses.It has often been contended on these pages that spirits ads have a tendency to incorporate horrific and distressing imagery. Jack Daniels would undoubtedly not wish to be placed in the same category as lesser whiskeys. Unfortunately, their advertising leads to precisely that outcome.

Jack Daniels attempts to come across, in some of its advertising, as if it were a bright and breezy, everyday, drink. The golden colour of the whiskey, the mature wooden table top, the yellow parchment notice and lighting all combine to give a war glow to the ad. But behind this superficial imagery burns a less palatable message as the two actual size inserts show.Another extract from the Jack Daniel's ad  with rollover effect.Extract from the Jack Daniel's ad. with rollover effect.

What seems to be on offer here are the fairly traditional helpings of depressing imagery that are often embedded in spirits ads. Just let your imagination do a little work and you ought to see everything from your nightmares and if you ever suffered from the DT's.

I've outlined one or two images in each glass on the rollovers. When you are looking for them don't focus on the rollover. Just use this as a guide for where to look, then look at the first image. For the reason why, check out the psychology pages with information on perception and vision.

In the left hand image the figure in the top of the '8' seems merely rather tight but the lower figure is clearly intended to be perceived as a skull. In the right hand image the lower figure in the '8' is quite cheery, rather unusual for a drinks ad. Perhaps times are changing and Jack Daniel's are trying to appeal to a range of drinkers. There are many moreimages in this mish mash of ambiguous material if you focus on a small part of the ad at a time, rather than take in the whole impression of a glass, spirit and ice. Additionally, each image may 'change' as you focus on a different aspect in the same manner that many visual illusions 'change'. For additional information about images with multiple interpetations see the Psychology and Imagine pages.

Whatever arguments are put forward by the drinks industry to justify their 'style' of ad, just compare their ice cubes with the ice cubes in ads for soft drinks. They are like chalk and cheese. When you are selling 'feel good' soft drinks one doesn't need to depress ones customers. However, if your 'big bucks' come from heavy drinkers, drowning their sorrows, then it pays to do your best to stir up negative emotions.

Other Jack Daniel ads offer a similar story of manipulative intent. See the Ads of the Month and Viva Espa�a pages.

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Rorschach ! Rorschach !

Rorschach ink blot test figuresHere is an example of imagery from the world renowned Rorschach Test in which ambiguous images are presented to psychiatric patients in order to determine their Cover of the book 'In the Eye of the Beholder'mental state.

What do you see? Two oriental gentlemen 'facing up' to each other or butterfly wings? Or whatever? If you are still interested in faces in ads and have not become paranoid in the process, see the book In the Eye of the Beholder by Vickie Bruce and Andy Young. For an interesting example of how everyday objects can produce 'images' when two separate images are shaped into a symetrical relationship see the cute little Devil produced by folding a Coca Cola label on the Coke.htm page.

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Virtue or Vice?Mantegna's 'Virtue Chasing Vice'.

 Is the use of faces in ads and art Virtue or Vice? That would seemingly depend on ones perspective: is one likely to benefit from their use or simply be manipulated and exploited.

The technique is not restricted to use in the wold of advertising. It is well established, particularly in the more overt form, in art. Here is another painting where creative artists might get their inspiration from. Clearly evident in these clouds is 'Virtue' chasing 'Vice'.

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Flaming with Marlboro

Click for a larger, floating, image. Marlboro cowboy ad with 'faces' in the fire.Here is one of many Marlboro ads in which you can find faces either directing the viewers gaze or or offering smokers a preconscious or unconscious reminder of their oral needs or obligations. In the excerpt below you should be able to note two figures. The first is in the bottom left corner of the excerpt, looking upwards. This rather dour figure has a projecting quiff of hair and pouting lips. It can be discerned more readily if the image is rotated 90 degrees to the right.

In the original ad you can see that this face is looking upwards to the groin area of the cowboy. To the right, also facing upwards, is a larger, birdlike face. The branding iron handle is the eye. To the right and above is a beak-like mouth from which something is either being inhaled or exhaled. Other Marlboro ads can be found scattered across this web site. For a complete run down of these, see the Contents list of ads.  

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To the best of the author's knowledge none of the illustrations, in the format used on this site, are subject to copyright. If copyright has been inadvertently breached please contact the author in order to rectify the matter. All brands and logos referred to or illustrated on this site are the property of the relevant companies and copyright holders. However, commentary and other information produced by the author can be freely copied and distributed. Similarly, illustrations of ads, so long as they are accompanied by commentary or are presented in the form of parody, can also be copied and distributed but please acknowledge as the source. Translation of tobacco company ads and relevant commentary into languages other than English will be particularly welcomed.

Last Revised: 3rd January, 2003


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