More Messages: Logos A-Go-Go

This January 26 blog tells of an odd occurrence the previous night on Channel 9. During two sitcoms, Scrubs and 30 Rock, 9News logos briefly blinked on the screen several times, leading one observer to wonder if the station was engaging in subliminal gamesmanship.

Definitely not, says Channel 9 news director Patti Dennis (pictured), who responded to an inquiry that morning with an evening voicemail. "I did not see it," she concedes, "but my understanding from our general manager and from one of our photographers was that there was a technical problem in our master control that was not intended at all... It was something wrong with our switcher."

As Dennis notes, subliminal advertising is illegal -- so Channel 9 personnel wrote up a discrepancy report, to stress to any interested parties that the logo flashing was an innocent mistake. "It has nothing to do with a new way of advertising," she adds. "We think the straightforward promotional spots that we use are the most effective."

Perhaps -- but a snippet on YouTube spotted by a local journalist demonstrates why many viewers are suspicious. The clip is built around a segment from the Food Network's Iron Chef America that contains a one-frame insert of the McDonald's logo and the slogan "i'm lovin' it."

If this technique is being used more widely these days, I'm definitely not lovin' it, and I doubt other viewers are, either. -- Michael Roberts

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts