Parliament Ad # 5

And the end of the fight is tombstone white with the name of the late deceased, and the epitaph drear, “A Fool lies here who tried to hustle the East.”
- Rudyard Kipling

This is Part 5 of the Parliament print advertisement series.

The practice of placing hidden (subliminal) ideas in select print advertisements is a technique used by advertisers.  Advertisers know that most people will not spend much time looking at print advertisements.  Therefore, hidden (subliminal) ideas, imagery, and words can be placed in print advertisements without immediate detection.

Color Psychology is also used by advertisers to create an effect on the subconscious mind.  For this blog entry, color psychology is used in an incredible way.

The Dark Side of Subliminal Advertising is a blog site that exposes the advertising technique of placing hidden (subliminal) ideas, imagery, and words in advertisements.  

It is important to realize that ads are not designed for the conscious mind, they are deliberately designed to reach the subconscious mind.

On average, people look at a print ad for no more than two seconds.  Therefore the advertiser has two seconds in which to convey a message.

With this in mind, look closely at this advertisement and see if you notice anything interesting:

This is the fifth blog entry on Parliament Cigarette Advertisements.  The other four entries can be found in the top section of this blog page.  The Parliament ads are very simplistic in design and at first glance, the numbers in the artwork seem to relate to the ad copy concerning low-tar numbers.

Most people will perceive these advertisements on a conscious level as very simplistic ads relating the numbers in the artwork to the low-tar numbers mentioned in the ad copy.

At a conscious level, there is nothing unusual or offensive in these ads, so they are easily dismissed by the viewers.  Therefore, these advertisements, even when glanced over in a matter of seconds, go straight to the subconscious mind without counter-argument or resistance.

However, on a subconscious level, there is a more true, dark, and sinister meaning pertaining to cigarette smoking and death in these ads.


This advertisement features someone juggling a group of numbers.

The being juggling the numbers has six arms.  This is very significant because this being represents the Hindu god Shiva (or Siva):


The Hindu god Shiva has six arms. 1

Shiva is regarded as the most powerful god in Hinduism. 2  This god Shiva is known as the Destroyer god and is dark and terrible, encircled with serpents and a crown of skulls. 3
The deity Shiva is believed to be at the core of the centrifugal force of the universe, because of his responsibility for death and destruction. 4

Shiva’s duty is to destroy all the worlds at the end of creation and dissolve them into nothingness. 5

One attribute of Shiva is that he smears his body with ashes, denoting his frequent rounds to the cremation grounds. 6

Shiva is married to the goddess Kali: 7


Kali is represented with perhaps the fiercest features amongst all the world's deities. She has two dead heads for her earrings. 8
Also, Kali has six arms and carries weapons, a noose and the severed head of a demon. She wears a necklace of skulls and her skirt is made of severed limbs. 9

Kali is known as the “Dark Goddess” 10

Also, Kali is the goddess of death and destruction. She haunts the graveyards and dances in the ashes of the funereal pyres. 11

The name Kali comes from the word "kala," or time. She is the power of time which devours all. She has a power that destroys and should be depicted in awe-inspiring terror. Kali is found in the cremation ground amid dead bodies. 12

Kali is a goddess who acts in violent, gruesome, fearsome ways, killing as her main function.  She is a representation of negative forces in the universe. 13


It is no accident that the predominant colors in this advertisement are red, yellow, and white.

At first glance, the colors red, yellow, and white, portray an early morning sunrise.

The sun rises in the east.  Hinduism originated in the east.

In Hinduism, colors have a very important role in the religion and culture and they show a very deep significance. 14

Hindus face the east to pray or meditate. 15  Devout Hindus pray three times a day, at sunrise, noon and sunset. 16

Red, yellow, and white ixora flowers are commonly used in Hindu worship. 17

In earlier times in India, castes were based on varna or color:
“Brahmana - The brahmin applied a white chandan mark signifying purity, as his profession was of a priestly or spiritual nature.
Kshatriya - The kshatriya applied a red kumkum mark signifying valour as he belonged to the warrior class.
Vaishya - The vaishya wore a yellow kesar or turmeric mark signifying prosperity as he was a businessman or trader devoted to the creation of wealth.” 18

Saivas (worshippers of Siva [Shiva]) and Vaishnavas (worshippers of Vishnu) “like to maintain their distinct characteristics, which they exhibit conspicuously to the eye by the sectarian mark on their foreheads, made with red, yellow, and white pigments.” 19

Here is the cultural color and symbolic meanings (color psychology), in India, for the colors red, yellow, and white:

RED:  The color of fear and fire

YELLOW:  Sacred

WHITE:  Death, mourning, sadness, funerals.  Also is the symbol of sorrow in death of a family member 20               


“Krishna appears as an incarnation in every millennium. In the past, He assumed three different colors - white, red and yellow.” 21

Symbolism of color is frequently used throughout the Buddhist tradition. 22

“In the realm of the Hungry Ghosts, the Buddha is red.
In the realm involving Humans, the Buddha is yellow.
In the realm of the Gods, the Buddha is white” 23

The goddess Kali’s three eyes represent the sun, moon, and fire [the sun is yellow, the moon is white, fire is red]. 24

It is interesting to note that the burning embers at the end of a lit white cigarette are red and yellow; with white, red and yellow being the main colors in this advertisement:


In this advertisement, Shiva (Siva), the Destroyer god, is juggling eight numbers.

There eight numbers make reference to the eight terrible forms of Shiva (Siva). 25

Notice that the numbers are up in the air.  These numbers also represent smokers who are going to die soon.

The numbers that are up in the air represent the idiom “one’s number is up.”

When someone’s number is up, it means that it is their time to die.

The eight smokers’ lives are in the hands of the Destroyer god.


“India is in the midst of a catastrophic epidemic of smoking deaths, which is expected to cause about one million deaths a year during the 2010's – including one in five of all male deaths and one in 20 of all female deaths at ages 30-69. On average, female smokers lose about eight years and male cigarette smokers lose about ten years.” 26

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