Can You Spot It? 10 Subtle Ads Crave Your Attention

No doubt about it: Sex sells.  And those zany marketing people know it.  A problem that they encounter is that phallic symbols cannot be utilized in ad campaigns in some countries.

This being the case, they attempt to sneak in the sex via shadows, abstract art and, in some cases, the extremely obvious use of other objects.

So come with me, dear readers, as we play "Spot the Weenie!"

1. BBC World

"This is my rifle, this is my gun...""This is my rifle, this is my gun..."

Possibly the item most associated as a phallic symbol is the gun, representing the aspects of male masculinity and testosterone.

I'd watch out if this guy has to pee.  He might blow your foot off.

2. Tide Detergent

Little Billy's been up to something...Little Billy's been up to something...

Okay, what we have here is a kid with a hotdog, right?  But we also have an ad that is stuck together with Post-It Glue on the ketchup-right where the hotdog appears in the ad.

As you peel the pages apart, you reveal a surprised, guilty looking kid and a mother with a disgusted look on her face.

Um... yuck.

3. Ford F-150

I understand the concept of this ad.  It is saying that driving the F-150 is an organic experience, sort of like a natural extension of your arm.

Looks like an unnatural extension of something else to me...

4. Mentitas

The Mints That Kill YouThe Mints That Kill You

This ad is just strange to me.  It implies that the mints are so strong that they a form of torture.  And while I applaud the craziness of the design, for some reason it makes me want to cover my nose... and another part of my body and run like heck.

5. Hubba Bubba Tape Gum


Yeah, yeah.  I get the picture.  It's supposed to be a giant bubble blown with the entire roll of gum.  But... I mean, c'mon guys.

6. Lynx Shower Gel

Ya gotta admit: this ad is eye-catching.  In this case the phallus is quite small, appearing as the actual product itself in the bottom right corner.

For some reason I want to buy some of this stuff...

7. Coke

Be careful.  The ice is naughty today.Be careful. The ice is naughty today.

This is an example of how tricky these marketing people can get.  In this case artwork was used to create a subliminal image in an ice cube.  And that image is somewhat unsavory in nature...

This is quite a sneaky tactic that allows the use of phallic symbols in some countries that would normally shout "pornography!"

8. East Street Full Body Piercing

In this case there is something of a phallic symbol-made up of the two streams of urine shooting out of the real phallus, which remains thankfully out-of-frame.

This is an ad for a body piercing company; think about it...


Did someone say, "Pass the butter?"Did someone say, "Pass the butter?"

Okay, not so subtle.  But it is made of bread.

That's one thick loaf.

10. McDonald's

I saved my favorite for last.  And while I applaud McDonald's attempts to curb littering, I can't help but wonder why they chose to put a phallus in the ad.

Can you Spot the Weenie?

SOURCE: Ads of the World
Jul 6, 2009
by Anonymous

The Medium is the Message

Marshall McLewan would be proud! I worked in television for 30 years, and it's amazing what advertisers stick in advertisements to seduce the viewer...

Jul 6, 2009
by Anonymous

J. Barker is the one with a problem.

Most people would not see phallic symbols in these ads.

Jul 7, 2009
by J. Barker
J. Barker's picture


Now THAT was funny!

Jul 13, 2009
by Anonymous

you are seeing what you want

you are seeing what you want to see in most of these.

Jul 13, 2009
by J. Barker
J. Barker's picture

I wish...

...that was the case.  Some of these ads appear in books about subliminal messages.  I'm working on an article about that topic now and stumbled onto some of them...

Aug 18, 2009
by Anonymous

Where is the Mac's one?

As Above

Aug 21, 2009
by John P. Barker
John P. Barker's picture

Mac's one...

On the right, towards the top.

Aug 25, 2009
by Anonymous


Where is the one in the lynx ad? I can't see anything abnormal of the product itself??

Sep 22, 2009
by Anonymous


I have to admit the body piercing add is just plain wierd but the rest of them are definitley open to interpretation. And if you are looking for phallic symbols you will find them every where

Sep 25, 2009
by Anonymous

McD's ad

I stared and stared at the McDonalds ad. I scrolled away and then scrolled back and it popped right out at to speak!

Wasn't there talk about something similar on the cover of The Little Mermaid VHS tapes?

Oct 4, 2009
by Anonymous


What do watches have to do with subliminal penises?