Salem Ad

“Into the witches magic light.
But suddenly, the troll felt strange,
As everything began to change.” - Mark Spencer

The practice of placing hidden (subliminal) imagery 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.

The Dark Side of Subliminal Advertising is a blog site that exposes the advertising technique of placing hidden (subliminal) imagery, ideas, 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.  The subconscious mind operates under a different set of laws compared to the operations of the conscious 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 in order to increase sales.

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

Take a good look at the faces of the models in this advertisement.  Now, compare the faces of the models in this advertisement with the faces of models in the following two Salem advertisements:

Here is a comparison with the models from SALEM AD #1 with the models from SALEM AD #2:

Here is a comparison of the faces of the models from SALEM AD #1 to the faces of the models from SALEM AD #3:

The models in all three ads could possibly be the same models.  However, the models’ faces in the SALEM AD #1 have been transformed into very goofy looking, cartoon-like faces.

Take another look at the face of this man from SALEM AD #1:

Notice the very large ears.  Also, notice the pronounced eye circle underneath the man’s right eye. 

This model looks like a troll with large ears.  Trolls “are often described as ugly.” 1

There are two traditions concerning trolls.  One tradition shows trolls as very human-like in appearance.  These trolls “were thought to be social beings who lived together, much like humans except out in the forest.” 2

The trollman was considered a magician or wizard. 3

In old Swedish law, trolleri was a particular kind of magic intended to do harm. The North Germanic terms “trolldom (witchcraft) and trolla/trylle (perform magic tricks)” also relates to trolls. 4

In folklore, witches “often sent out trolls to do certain chores.” 5

Before we look at the face of the other model in Salem Ad#1, take a look at the following illusion:

Did you see the profile of the young woman in this picture?    Also did you see the picture of the old woman in this picture?

The old woman's nose is the young girl's nose and chin.

This is “a famous perceptual illusion in which the brain switches between seeing a young girl and an old woman.” 6

This illusion was introduced into the psychological literature by Edwin G Boring in 1930. 7

Now, with this illusion in mind, take a look at this model’s face from Salem AD #1:

This model’s face is particularly abnormal.  Look at the facial line from the right side of the man's nose down near his chin (smile line).  This is a very pronounced smile line.  Notice that there is no right ear.  Also, the mouth looks very strange with the drooping of the left corner of the mouth, almost like a person who has facial palsy:

 Now, if you divide the face by the shadow line, a profile of an old male witch appears:

Here is a comparison with a picture of a profile of a witch:

Here is another example with outlines:

This model’s face is an illusion similar to the young woman / old woman illusion.

A male Witch is simply called a Witch, never a warlock and it is considered an insult to call a male Witch "Warlock". 8

The model holding a wooden pole has now transformed into a male witch holding a wooden staff.

The Witch's staff is one of the less common tools that you hear about. 9 The staff is a truly personal tool of a witch. 10

The staff is a straight stave cut from any wood.  It can be of any length, usually ranging somewhere from waist height to just slightly taller than full height of the witch who will be using it.  There is no specific type of tree that is chosen for a staff. 11

”The staff may now be used to cut the boundary of the river of life and death.” 12

Consider the following associations:

Salem Cigarettes
Salem, Massachusetts
Salem Witch
Salem Witch-Hunt

The Salem witch trials were a series of hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts, between February 1692 and May 1693.13

More than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft and 20 were executed. 14  Today there are between 800 and 1600 witches in Salem. 15



  2. Where is your conclusion? You connected some dots. What audience did Salem try to attract? Or maybe it was a rouge employee trying to embed an Easter egg for someone to find...

  3. Good eye indeed. Now that you point out the changes, i can't not see them when i look at them.