The Mole – Subliminal Advertising?

Back in 2001, ABC television launched a new reality gameshow called “The Mole.”

The concept was simple… play a game to win money, but try to figure out who is trying to sabotage the game (thus reducing the amount of money available to win). Each week, players would attempt to identify the Mole – and eliminate those that they thought WERE the Mole.

There were two sequels, Mole 2 and Celebrity Mole (if I remember correctly, Stephen Baldwin was the best Mole ever). In any event, I’d pretty much forgotten about the show until a few weeks ago.

It’s no secret that I have Tivo and love skipping commercials. But even with a great trigger finger, I still usually have to pop back with just a few seconds left before the end of the commercial break. And a few weeks ago, I caught sight of a single dark frame with “the mole was here” written on it during Lost. I didn’t think much of it… thinking that maybe someone was just playing around and messed something up.

But I’m watching Brothers and Sisters right now… and here it is again at the 21 minute mark.

A quick jump to IMDB says that it looks like they’re doing a new “season” in 2008. And Wikipedia confirms what I’m seeing, too, as an advertisement for the Mole.

But how is this not subliminal advertising? I think the argument is that it’s actually consciously visible (ie: you actually KNOW that you’re seeing the logo and words) and thus it’s not actually subliminal.

I don’t know that I buy that, though. Any experts in advertising law out there?

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