You're getting sleepy .

by Contributed - Story: 63159Jul 13, 2011 / 5:00 am

Do you remember The Man They Call Reveen? I do. Reveen was (is?) called the Impossiblist which, as self-chosen job descriptions go, totally rocks the house. His specialty was stage hypnosis, that is, his show would involve the selection (and subsequent culling) of various audience members until their existed a solid ten or twelve that would perfectly respond to his brand of hypnotic suggestion. Once his pigeons were prepared, Reveen would snap his fingers or say certain words and they would dance, sing, act or perform in all manner of stunt or spectacle without question. And they did it without realizing they were even doing it – Reveen owned them. They were under his spell.

Now, my exposure to all of this came via the television. Reason is, at the time, I was neither old enough (nor brave enough) to actually find my way into one of his shows. So I had to form my opinion of the modern day Mesmer based solely on his wonderfully camp TV spots, whatever news interviews he was able to wrangle and whomever I knew that had actually attended a show. And while I was fascinated by the idea of what he did, there was no way in blue bloody hell I was ever going to submit myself to it. Not in any single way, shape or form. Reveen and I were never destined to meet.

Hypnosis, generally, is considered to be something of a mental state of imaginative role-enactment. It is usually induced through a long series of preliminary instructions and suggestions delivered (natch) by the hypnotist.  Many folks mistakenly believe that hypnosis is a form of unconsciousness. In truth, research has shown that hypnotic subjects are actually awake and focusing their attention extremely intently. In fact, it’s mainly their peripheral awareness that decreases. This combination is what makes them vulnerable and wide open to suggestion. Paging The Brand They Call Burger King.

Without word of a lie, Burger King has taken over a channel on the DirecTV satellite network and has launched their very own sort of advertorial hypnosis. If you have DirecTV, go to channel 111 and feast your eyes on some pretty cutting edge (and slightly spooky) commercial genius. The only thing you’re going to find on that channel is a spinning Burger King Whopper, forever flambé-d within an eternally charbroiling flame. The question is why would you ever tune into this? Well, here’s the scoop:  Folks are promised that if they stare at the spinning burger long enough, they will eventually see special prompts that will randomly (and very quickly) pop up leading them to some free Whoppers of their own. But beware: look away and you might miss. Better to stare and avoid disappointment. So, the longer you gawk, the more free Whoppers you can get. Seriously, I could not make stuff like this up if I tried.

So far, Burger King has given away more than 50,000 Whoppers. They also claim that, collectively, folks have stared at this channel (and their ever-spinning burger) for well-over 750,000 minutes. Logically, they expect their numbers will only increase with time. So this is where we find ourselves today. Ma and Pa Normal are willingly submitting themselves to a sort of self-hypnosis by staring at a TV channel showing nothing more than a spinning hamburger in hopes of winning a free Whopper. You have to admit it’s quite elegant in its apocalyptic horror. This is probably the most direct form of advertising we have ever seen. Why bother trying to trick you into watching ads by mashing them in-between exciting dramas or hilarious comedies? Just go to our channel and watch. If you do, we’ll give you free stuff - maybe. What could be more clear? It’s base as all get-out, but pretty hard to argue with.

Photo: Contributed

So when it comes to viewing this BK channel I will admit to having more than a little interest in checking it out. How could I not? The problem is that, just like Reveen, I tend to view the whole thing with the same mixture of fascination and revulsion. While I am personally attracted to things like mind control, hypnosis, the Bermuda Triangle and Sasquatch, I recognize the folly in actually chasing them down. It’s just too freaky for me. So if I have to miss out on some free grub to safeguard my frontal lobe, well so be it. But I do wonder what would happen if Burger King made a deal to actually include Reveen in their ads. It’s likely that even I might find such a hypnotic combination impossible to resist.

DON’T FORGET! The AdFool is on the road again. Come see me Sunday, July 17, 2011, at the Spoken Word Festival in Polson Park, Vernon. I’ll be one of six performing at WordOut. Details are located here.