| Friday April 18th 2014

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Flash Ad: BMW Burns Logo onto Cinema-Goers’ Eyes


I love this eye-burning guerilla ad from BMW, a kind of a cross between Julius von Bismarck’s Fulgurator and Max Headroom’s blipverts.

The stunt was pulled in a German movie theater. A giant Profoto Pro-7B was hidden behind the screen, a studio flash unit that pumps out enough light to… well, you’ll see. In front of the light was a card, with the letters “BMW” cut into it.


During the ad, and its usual guff about living your dreams by wasting fossil fuels, the flash fired and burned the letters into the unsuspecting viewers’ retinas. Then the motorbike pilot-man (that’s what they’re called, right?) on-screen tells everyone to close their eyes. They do, and see the letters projected onto the backs of their eyelids.

As you can see from the cinema-goers’ reactions, the smoke-and-mirrors gimmick went down well. I can’t imagine this working in the U.S, though. None of the teenagers would see it, as they’re all texting and chatting on their phones, and somebody, somewhere, would decide to sue the theater for triggering an epileptic fit. Sigh.

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