Subliminal advertising — using semiotic images to suggest sexuality in magazine and print advertising that could only be read by the subconscious mind — had its heyday in the 1970’s as ice cubes in the shape of breasts appeared in liquor ads and, the most famous example by far, was Farrah Fawcett’s bestselling poster with “Sex” written with the curls of her hair. The “S” starts on her shoulder and your eye can make out an “e” near her chest and a twisted “x” above her left breast and under her armpit.  I can guarantee you the young, horny, boys of the mid-70’s like me were never looking at her hair…

Subliminal advertising was generally considered a waste of time and money — except for the esoteric exception like Farrah’s wild-maned success — but that doesn’t mean people don’t still try to “get their message” across in suggestively subliminal ways.

We’ve seen PepsiCo try this sneaky sexual subliminal end-around twice in a year.  First, they redesigned their Pepsi bottle to look like a wrinkled penis; then they changed their Tropicana orange juice carton to suggest the pinching and twisting of a woman’s nipple to “get you some juice.” 

Last week, we discovered the unfortunate subliminal logo in — “The Unholy Blow Job” — where a priest appears to be fellated by a young child looking up at him.

Kimberley, one of our newest and most intrepid readers, wrote to remind us of a similar subliminal sexual scandal that involved the redesign of the University of Kentucky Wildcat logo in the late 90’s.

Here’s the logo in question:  Do you see anything sexual going on here?

It seems, according to scandal and the creation of a legend, that the artist hired to create that Wildcat logo for the University of Kentucky was Gay, and to serve a personal, private, agenda, he chose to include a man’s private parts in the mouth of the hardy UK Wildcat.

Yes, the Kentucky Wildcat mascot had a penis for a tongue!

I can’t imagine this Kentucky U. faithful fan was pleased to later learn the UK Wildcat tattooed on his bicep was, in fact, propaganda for the Gay agenda:

I guess the Gay artist confessed his penis-tongue design later when nobody in Kentucky noticed his political handiwork.  You can’t value a scandal if no one knows they’ve been offended.

Here is the redesigned Wildcat logo with the penis tongue now fatter and wider and more “tongue like” but likely even more sexually exciting if you’re into spitting and licking.

Even in this corrected logo I still see two penises.  Or should that be “penii?”  Do you see them?  Here’s the answer:  One is a bent, blue, penis hooking downward to the left between the “U” and the
“K” and the second is a white-hot erect penis sticking up from the
bottom to penetrate the middle of the “K.”

Here’s the University of Kentucky logo today — sans Wildcat — and the two extra penises have been removed by compressing the “UK” together horizontally to widen the phallic arrows and remove any sense of human masculinity from the sensation. 

Is anyone else getting a “vagina box” vibe in the middle of the new “U” or am I just subliminally overreaching?

When we consider “My Old Kentucky Penis” — we cannot help but also think of the song, “My Old Kentucky Home” originally written by Stephen Collins Foster and adopted as the official state song of Kentucky in 1928 — but there was one hurtful and glaring phrase in the lyric that never sat well with the minority power in the state:

The sun shines bright in the old Kentucky home,
‘Tis summer, the darkies are gay;
The corn-top’s ripe and the meadow’s in the bloom,
While the birds make music all the day.

The young folks roll on the little cabin floor,
All merry, all happy and bright;
By ‘n’ by Hard Times comes a-knocking at the door,
Then my old Kentucky home, goodnight.

The lyric for “My Old Kentucky Home” was censored in 1986 and then re-confirmed as the state song to read:

The sun shines bright in My Old Kentucky Home,
‘Tis summer, the people are gay;
The corn-top’s ripe and the meadow’s in the bloom
While the birds make music all the day.

The young folks roll on the little cabin floor,
All merry, all happy and bright;
By ‘n’ by hard times comes a knocking at the door,
Then My Old Kentucky Home, good night!

It’s sort of fascinating and telling that “darkies” was unacceptable in 1986 while “gay” — even though it’s there to later rhyme with “day” — was fine, as was the idea of “young folks roll on the little cabin floor” which seems to suggest a bit of textual sexual subliminal messaging.

Have we just discovered a whole new advertising genre?


  1. I honestly got no v.b. out of the new UK logo and it took me a couple of minutes to notice the hidden penises. When I was a kid, my brother told me that if you looked at Joe Camel upside down you could see a vaginal image. I guess I never saw these things unless they were pointed out to me.

  2. I think this incident could best be defined as Kentucky’s most embarrassing moment in history. It should have never happened. Unfortunately, to our shame … it did!
    True. There seems to be an underlying objective to everything in advertising. If the unsuspecting public’s minds are not already in the “gutter” then they will be sure to direct you … and even give you a nudge. That’s not just to Kentucky’s shame … that “scarlet letter” is worn by all.

  3. Thanks for the heads up on this topic, Kimberley! It was a fascinating issue to research. I feel sorry for UK, though, because they behaved in good faith in wanting a re-designed logo while the artist’s private agenda was made public at the university’s expense.
    Oh, I think advertisers love “fooling” us with this nonsense to buy their goods and services — but the problem is subliminal advertising or messages are not effective. They don’t work. It’s wasted time to create them and then try to propagate that influential meme. The conscious mind is the decision maker and always it overrules the subliminal impulse purchase. SMILE!

    1. I seriously question whether the conscious mind really decides much of anything, David. Life has taught me that all is decided at the subconscious level, and the “conscious mind” is just conscious enough to do the leg work for the Boss Man.

  4. i have one of these ky caps with “the” tongue, wonder how much some one would pay for it?

    1. Did you ever sell your hat? I have a jersey with “the” tongue on it. I don’t know what it’s worth or where to begin looking up the value.

  5. The whole “Penis in the Logo” brouhaha came to a head (heh!) just before halloween. So naturally, I went as a U.K. fan with a logo sweat shirt and affixed a huge latex penis to its mouth. I was a huge hit with the crowd at the bar I went to. I literally had people lined up to have their picture taken with me. Still have that big ol’ honkin latex penis too. Hey — dick jokes are always in season!

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