‘The Smoke and The Mirror’, is a web-based project that seeks to expose the aggressive techniques of certain subliminal ‘product placements’. It looks into a particularly heinous, but previously unexamined, ‘Lucky Strike’ campaign, by British American Tobacco (BAT), that blatantly sought to exploit the responses of both West and East German cigarette smokers to 9/11, in the immediate aftermath of the event.
The work also uses a particularly shameful example of the willing complicity of popular media – in this case, the mass circulation, German weekly, Der Spiegel (The Mirror). Whenever the revenue stream from carrying branded messages becomes the lifeblood of a publication, ethical publishing standards may be flouted – by any means, but preferably undetectable.
Helpless to resist subliminal marketing ploys, the addicted are lured into ‘Nets’ of carefully calculated associations.
In addition to the web-based piece, I plan to distribute its contents via a ‘zine.
Of course, it can also be exhibited as a continuous slide show.
The images here have been converted from the pages of my ‘Nets’ project web-site. They are my gallery of potential photos for Sharon’s catalogue.
I will follow up with more discussion, as I get feedback here and elsewhere.