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Subtle! Brand names as promoted by 8-bit celebrities

7:00 AM on 01.10.2012 // Tony Ponce
  @megaStryke

Magazines: who still reads them? How did companies peddle their wares before the advent of television? Before the Internet? Before YouTube? It's a digital age, my friends! Get with the times!

Still, magazines used to kinda sorta be a thing back in the day. Beautiful celebrities with their airbrushed faces would grace those opening two-page spreads, hawking the latest bauble, gizmo, or hair product that everyone thought they needed. But what if instead of real people, videogame icons of the day were used in the marketing of non-game-related merchandise? These days, Nathan Drake and Sonic lend their likenesses to whomever is willing to pay, and I do recall a couple game characters doing as much on TV in the early 90s. They don't have to target children, either.

Polish T-shirt designer MaQ made a collection of fake ads featuring NES-era stars trying to sell to a decidedly "grown-up" crowd. Mega Man is posing for Calvin Klein, Billy Lee is shadow boxing with some Everlast Gloves, and a nondescript Pac-Man ghost is rocking the Ray-Bans. I love how subtle these images are -- sometimes, only a couple of pixels are added to or altered from the original sprite. Just check out Bill Rizer and his Nike kicks, for instance.

Check 'em out and try to guess what's being advertized without looking at the bottom corner.

Reklamy malowane grami retro [Niezgrani] (Many thanks, Jakub!)

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