Now You See It

Canadians like to live fast. In 1996, Olympic champ Donovan Bailey was deemed “the fastest man alive” by the Guinness Book of World Records. And now Much Music, the Great White North’s version of MTV, has been cited by Guinness for creating the world’s fastest—or, if you prefer, shortest—TV spots.

The Toronto-based network has produced a dozen self-promo spots each timed at 1/60th of a second, or about half a frame of videotape. (That’s 12 times faster than the average person’s blink.) There’s not much to see: an image of a veejay and the MuchMusic logo, along with an “audible blip.” But wait a milli second! Doesn’t this count as subliminal advertising? We asked Sandra Puglielli, a MuchMusic rep, if they’re trying to pull a fast one. “We checked—quickly, of course—and there is nothing subliminal about them,” she says. “They would only be subliminal if we inserted them or tried to hide them within an ad. They are simply very short, very fast ads.”

MuchMusic says the ads—done in-house and dubbed “quickies”—are eight times faster than the previous record holder, an ad for Bon Marche’s Frango sweets that aired in the U.S. in 1993.

But it must be asked: Do we really need more ads that barely register with the human eye? As a visitor to the message boards at wrote last week, “TiVo’s fastest fast-forward speed is 60x, so this commercial appears at 1/3600th of a second for me.”