Subliminal Oprah

Flipping around the channels this afternoon, I came across a commercial for Lime A-way that caught my attention. A nice housewife in a red top is telling us how wonderful Lime A-way is for all her bathroom cleaning needs when suddenly we see a rubber-gloved hand holding a bottle of Lime A-way pointed at a bathroom wall. As the bottle sprays the product onto the tile, it quite clearly spells out OPRAH. It’s weird that I saw it — I rarely pay much attention to commercials, and it flashed by pretty quickly. But I jumped back with the DVR, and several times I watched the Lime A-way spray spell out OPRAH. This can’t be a coincidence (a Jesus on a tortilla “miracle”). What it IS, though, is absolutely brilliant subliminal advertising. My guess is that the ad wizards figure Oprah is the holy grail of celebrity endorsers and a targeted icon of the Lime A-way buying public. If they can’t get Oprah herself, they can at least use her name spelled out in bathroom cleanser. It’s so classy! (Somehow I’m thinking Harpo Productions hasn’t given its blessing to this.)

“Lime A-way? No, I haven’t tried it yet, but I think I heard somewhere that Oprah LOVES it! Thanks for reminding me — I’m gonna get some NOW!”

I wish I had a screen shot of that plain-as-day OPRAH spelled out on that bathroom wall.

Brilliant.

Has anyone else even noticed this? Google says no.

Edit: Thanks to reader “Shenanigans” we now have a short clip of the infamous commercial here:

Lime A-way Subliminal

Here’s a screenshot I made from the video (not the highest quality, I admit, but you get the idea):

What do you think?


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18 responses to “Subliminal Oprah

  1. My roommate and I both saw this last night. What was really surprising was how obvious it was, we both caught it immediately and verified it by pausing and rewinding and watching it a couple more times…this is creepy!

  2. I’m so glad someone else has seen this! It IS really obvious — so obvious I can’t believe Oprah hasn’t sent a cease and desist order. But don’t you think it’s brilliant? Kinda clunky in its presentation, but conceptually, it’s exactly what subliminal advertising is all about.

  3. Well, can’t verify it said Oprah (no DVR, alas), but, just saw the ad, and there was certainly *SOMETHING* spelled out on that wall. Thanks for letting me know I’m not crazy!

  4. No, you’re not crazy (…well, as far as I know, anyway). I commented previously that this was a great example of subliminal advertising, but I’m not sure that it IS, simply because this commercial is so obvious — it’s kind of jarring. You might not have known exactly what you saw, but you know you saw SOMETHING. Subliminal advertising should exhibit a bit more finesse! (And it seems weird to me that this post I wrote seems to be the only mention of it on Google. I’ve gotten lots of hits on this post, so I guess other people are wondering if they’re crazy, too…. Thanks for commenting.

  5. I saw it last night then I called my boyfriend to tell him. I searched “lime away oprah” today and I found this site! Crazy!

  6. I’ve had so many people check out this site using those keywords, and I’m really surprised that there doesn’t seem to be anyone else mentioning this online. I really wish someone would upload the commercial to YouTube or someplace. If I ever see the commercial again I’m going to make sure to freeze-frame it and take some photos!

  7. It didn’t say Oprah. It says “offoffoffoff”

  8. i just watched that commercial with my friend and we totally saw oprah. you should put it on youtube.

  9. I’ve only seen the commercial once. I wish someone WOULD put it on YouTube. Or at least post a still from the commercial.

  10. HAHAHA me and my frend saw it today and thought we were crazy but it was totally there and pricelessss 🙂

  11. Here’s a link to the video – I saw “oprah” and googled it, only to find this is the only place someone else reported seeing it! So, I stalked the TV tonight, and caught it finally!

    Lime A-way Subliminal

  12. FINALLY, someone’s posted the video! Thank you, Shenanigans for being the first person to get the commercial up online! Why aren’t other people talking about this? There’s interest out there — I’ve had HUNDREDS of people checking out this post.

  13. yeah! I noticed it yesterday. I kept rewinding it and playing it over and over again.
    So I googled it today to see if I was the only one who noticed it, and I’m so glad im not going crazy!
    :]

  14. I had just finished contacting Harpo Industries to alert them to the subliminal Oprah when I decided to google the commercial to be sure I had seen what I had. When I did so, I found this site. Glad to see I’m not alone in seeing this and it makes me feel better about reporting what I had seen to Harpo.
    Pretty cheap using a celebrity endorsement without permission.

  15. I noticed it too, googled it and found your site. Thanks to the poster who uploaded the video to confirm.

  16. Paula, add me to the Lime-Away Oprah club. Just saw the ad tonite on TV for the first timen(Animal Planet), and went HUH?? What’s Oprah doing on that bathroom wall? Did anyone find out if Harpo actually paid for placement in the ad, or did the Lime-Away agency pull a sneaky fast one? I’m in advertising myself, and I’m going to check with the industry trade magazine AdAge to see if there’s been any talk about this.
    Thanks for the blog Paula!

  17. Hi, Steve,

    I SERIOUSLY doubt Harpo gave its okay on this. Call me crazy, but this would seem to have “litigation” written all over it. I’d love to know if you find out any more about this.

  18. Whoa!!!!! I just saw it as I’m sitting on the phone with one of my friends and I was like, “Girl, I think this commercial just spelled out “Oprah” when they sprayed the stuff on the wall!” I told her I was going to Google it and I’m so glad to see that you guys saw it too!! This is too creepy and I think it’s sick!

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