2007 represents much more to the Australian television industry than simply the peak of #ROVEFEVER.

It was also the year when Channel Ten found itself in some rather hot water for attempting to slip subliminal advertising past the conscious viewer during the ARIA Awards broadcast.

Here a picture of Rove McManus at the 2007 ARIA Awards with James Mathison and their short-lived green animated sidekick, Rounder. As I explained, this was the very peak of #ROVEFEVER.

Throughout this broadcast, numerous brand names were flashed onto the screen during graphic transitions, with logos from the likes of Olay, Telstra, Toyota, KFC and Chupa Chups. These lasted one frame, which lasts 1/25th of a second.


Of course, eagle-eyed viewers who weren’t immediately zombie-ing towards KFC with an unexamined craving for a Family Bucket were appalled and contained Media Watch, who busted the thing wide open.

Well, kinda. Firstly, here’s the relevant Code Of Practices section.

1.8 A licensee may not broadcast a program, program promotion, station identification or community service announcement which is likely, in all the circumstances, to:

1.8.4 use or involve any technique which attempts to convey information to the viewer by transmitting messages below or near the threshold of normal awareness.

This is what Channel Ten were doing. In a response to Media Watch, which can be seen here, Network Ten Corporate Affairs claims what they did was above board, and called it “a different creative treatment (.ie., the rapid cut image) to reinforce the sponsor’s association.”

They then explain their intentions.

“Rapid cuts are creatively consistent with the look and feel of music presentations.”

That clears that up then. Say hi to your mum for me!