Secret Messages

I’ve noticed recently in movies and television shows the presence of easily identifiable MacBooks. If a character is working on a computer, it almost invariably is a Mac. Well done, Apple.

I don’t know if subliminal advertising works (although I don’t know if subliminal is the right word, as the apple with the bite out of it is front and center, no subtlety about it). This sort of advertising is pretty common. I watch a lot of movies on Netflix and Prime, and many of them are from the 70s or 80s, a time in which it was not unusual to have a character drinking a can of Pepsi or a bottle of Budweiser, with the logo easily identifiable and the actor smacking his/her lips with obvious enjoyment. It seems like there was more of that going on then than there is now.

There has always been controversy about whether or not actual subliminal advertising really exists. Is it true, for example, that Coca Cola puts some kind of subliminal advertising in the commercials shown at movie theaters that makes viewers want to run out to the concession stand and buy enormous buckets of Coke and vats of popcorn, buttered please? If so, I miss the message, because once I’m sitting in my seat, nothing makes me budge (well, unless Cole whispers, “Nana, I have to go to the bathroom. Now.” Nothing subliminal about that). When I go to a Regal theater, the Coke and popcorn commercial just prior to the beginning of the movie takes the viewer on a roller coaster ride, a trick that is entirely unsuccessful where I’m concerned as my eyes are closed the entire time. I don’t like roller coasters, even animated rides.

What does have an impact on me however, is food and drink. You might recall that it was watching Frank Reagan of Blue Bloods fame that got me started down the road of whiskey drinking. And if I watch a movie or TV program in which someone is eating a certain kind of food, I can’t get to that food fast enough. I watched a movie in which the main character was a chef who prepared Cuban food. I was jonesing for a Cuban sandwich for days, until I finally satisfied myself at a Cuban restaurant.

I’m not alone. Some time back, Bill began reading a series of mystery books featuring a sheriff/ex-sheriff named Cork O’Conner, authored by William Kent Krueger. In the books — which take place in northern Minnesota — Cork drinks a lot of Leinenkugel’s beer. Leinenkugel, of course, is brewed in Minnesota. Well, for quite some time, Bill drank Leinenkugel right along with Cork. He did the same thing when he was reading Harlan Coben’s series featuring Myron Bolitar. Bolitar drinks Yoo-Hoo, and so did Bill. It didn’t take a lot of persuasion, of course, because Yoo-Hoo is a chocolate beverage. Leinenkugel is easier to find than Yoo-Hoo. Just sayin’.

I read recently that companies pay a ton of money to get their products featured in movies or television programs. So the advertising must work. The article went on to say, however, that the cost of getting a product mentioned in a book is significantly lower. The obvious reason is the difference in numbers. Millions of people will see a book or watch a television program. Far fewer people read books and/or pay any attention to what the main character is eating or drinking.

All I can say is that as I am bingewatching Downton Abbey in preparation for the movie that will be released in September, I have an inexplicably curious desire to drink port out of a tiny glass with my pinky finger raised.

One thought on “Secret Messages

  1. Downton Abby is killing me right now. I want a cup of tea from Mrs. Patmores brown teapot. And a glass of wine at lunch, please!

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