Feeds

Urban legend nips iiNet 'subliminal' campaign

Free TV punts 'two-frame freebie' ads

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Australian ISP iiNet has pulled a TV advertising campaign after its two-frame “Easter egg” fell foul of this country’s advertising rules.

The ISP’s idea would probably win awards rather than criticism in a less po-faced country: once news escaped about the Easter Egg, thousands of viewers reversed their normal TV ad-watching habit, freeze-framing instead of fast-forwarding until they found the message:

“Wow. Impressive. You not only spotted this in our TV ad, you found a way to read it. That can’t have been easy. This whole page only lasted two frames. That’s less than one tenth of a second. Well done, sir or madam. We’re going to reward your awesome pausing powers with a little gift. Type this link into your browser: iinet.net.au/2framefreebie. And you can tell your friends. But let’s keep it to a maximum of a hundred, ok? And hey, watch for more two frame freebies in our next TV campaign.”

Unfortunately, there won’t be more “two frame freebies”, and this campaign has been pulled, because of this clause in the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice: “A licensee may not … use or involve any technique which attempts to convey information to the viewer by transmitting messages below or near the threshold of normal awareness”.

If iiNet had decided instead to flog a dodgy weight-loss cure, the ads would still be airing. If it pretended it could cure impotence, ditto. If its advertisement offended some viewers, the outfit that enforces TV ad standards, Free TV Australia, may well have decided to do nothing at all. If it was telling outright porkies to try and forestall a new government policy, it might not only get to run its advertisement; the TV stations might also help it along by schooling their on-air presenters to give the campaign a push alone.

However, because of an urban legend born out of faked data from a 1957 experiment, not only is subliminal advertising banned, but it so spooks our regulators – the kind of people, apparently, to whom real science is a mystery but X-Files-level science is treated with “it might be true” seriousness – apparently took rapid exception to the iiNet campaign.

iiNet’s apology, penned by iiNet’s general manager of retail, is here. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.