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Derren Brown dupes ad guys

Ladies and gentlemen, this is how Badlanders are created, it's a simple fact that input affects the output and if you see the same old stuff everyone else sees, you'll come up with the same old stuff everyone else comes up with.

He sends them across town in a cab, and they get - unaware - a lot of input from the city surrounding them as they travel to crack this brief.

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Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
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tod.brody's picture

Of course, Derren Brown is a showman, illusionist, and taxidermy crazy seance master, so I take anything he does or says with a grain of salt.

simonwinnall's picture

I was always impressed but sceptical until I went to see him perform on stage, where he's even amazing!

tod.brody's picture

I have no doubt that he's amazing on stage. But amazing on stage and credible as a documentarian are two different things.

TDD's picture

My random thoughts:

I have it from a knowledgeable and trusted source that Derren Brown is an extremely talented and skilled conjuror (mentalist).

I don't believe subliminal advertising is real (if that is what Derren is claiming)

In the video, Derren uses simple psychological tricks conjurors have known about and used for years, and they are not the ones that are revealved at the end.

Not everything is what it appears to be.

"Happiness is overrated."

tod.brody's picture

I have no doubt that he's extremely talented. I think he's proven that and it goes without saying. I just don't believe that the video is real. Plain and simple. He may be the best mentalist since Satan, but I'm not falling for it.

Dabitch's picture

Derren uses simple psychological tricks conjurors have known about and used for years, and they are not the ones that are revealed at the end.

Since you know a little (or a lot, I suspect) about this, care to reveal what he's doing? The only tricks I know are how to make people select specific tools and colours. (Blue hammer and Orange screwdriver y'all!)

TDD's picture


Isn't that what I said? ;)


Before Tony and Martin know what the product is:

Derren: "Now, the idea is you've only got a half-in-hour to do this, so you really got to work with your first instinct. "

Two simple known tricks:

"Quickly think of a ferocious animal" Most people think of a tiger (or a lion).

"Quickly think of a number between 1 and 9" Most people think of the number 7.

The time limit always comes first. That's probably the simplest one.

"Happiness is overrated."

TDD's picture


One of my passions is exploring the connection between magic, psychology, and philosophy. Richard Weisman is a scientist, lecturer and magician who created this unique event at a science museum in the UK. Here are a few interview segments from a recent exhibition in London.

Jeff McBride Interview Part I

Jeff McBride Interview Part II

"Happiness is overrated."

TDD's picture

I've only scratched the surface in answering Dabitch's question, and that is all I intend to do. I don't want to turn this into a magic discussion, so this is the last one. The two magicians featured are: Max Maven and Eugene Burger. This should give more of a clue as to the kind of foundation Derren Brown started with, and then built on, to get to the level that he shows in the video; and Dabitch will have something better than the hammer, screwdriver thing. ;)


"Happiness is overrated."

Dabitch's picture

Thanks TDD. :)
(as an aside, when people are drunk enough that blue hammer thing is really impressive they think. hahaha.)

TDD's picture

I don't have much experience performing for drunks, although I have heard some things don't fool them like they would if they were sober.

Children are the most difficult to fool. Try this as an experiment:

The Micheal Goudeau Penny Vanish

What you will need:

One penny (or a similar coin)
Contact (rubber) cement


Place a small dab of the cement on one side of the coin. Let it dry. The dry cement on the coin should stick to your hand when you press it against the dry cement.


Have the coin in the palm of your hand (doesn't matter which one) with the cement side up. (No one will notice the cement on the coin) Show the coin to someone in your palm. Slap the coin with your other hand (the coin should stick secretly to the palm of your other hand) Remove the hand with the now stuck coin on it to show the coin has vanished from your palm. (Be careful not to accidentally reveal the stuck coin)

This will fool most adults, and even magicians. It will not fool most children. Try it and see. Tell me how it works for drunks. ;)

Okay, that's enough. I'm such a weirdo. Back to the ads!

TDD's picture

I think I just made one of my posts vanish, and I have no idea how.

"Happiness is overrated."

TDD's picture

Okay. I just brought it back.

I'm going to bed.

"Happiness is overrated."