Food Network: Subliminal or Screw Up?

We couldn’t believe this was for real, but some eagle-eyed blogger caught a one-second McDonald’s graphic during an Iron Chef America and suggested Food Network was going for subliminal advertising. Click here to view the video.


Food says it was a “slight technical problem,” with the episode. According to the network, a small McDonald’s logo, normally inserted on a stats chart as a paid sponsorship by the fast food chain, was inadvertently inserted to run full-screen. The network says the graphic appears as a mere red flash if viewed in real time and is only apparent as the Mickey D’s logo if viewed in slo-mo.

Still, it’s not totally implausible, in an age of rampant DVRing, that networks will soon resort to short subliminal ads to meet advertiser demands. Clear Channel has already begun running one-second radio ads called “Blinks.” The client whose jingle they used to demo the product? McDonalds.

By Anne Becker