By the way, I'm in the school of thought that says that's Luthor in the suit and Brainiac is the little bug on his shoulder.
There are several smart things going on in these ads.
One, they're good, solid teasers. You know these characters are going to be part of something big coming up, and you get only the most abstract hint of what their involvement is going to be.
It's in the same vein as the "Last Supper" house ad (for Countdown? Final Crisis? Whatever!). Intriguing design with mysterious clues. People can't resist a mystery.
Two, they make good use of villains. The mettle of a hero is often measured by the quality of his villains, and the same could be said of heroic universes as well. DC villains rock. Marvel, as I've mentioned, is so interested in pitting their heroes against one another, that the development of their villains has suffered for it, and while there are some exceptions, on the whole, Marvel's villains are severely lacking in bizarritude and fabulosity. DC's villainry, however is broad, deep, and freaktacular.
Where DC generally errs is its occasional "More is better" thinking. "If one Batman villain is threatening, than 8 of them together will be mind-boggling!" (also known as "Loeb-think"). Actually, it's mind-numbing, instead. You see, it's a nice theory, but in practice all it does is water down each of the participants, and confuses quantity with quality. Once you start writing stories where Batman (or Spider-Man or whoever) takes on and defeats a whole slew of his foes at one time, each one then becomes that much less credible as an individual threat. Case in point: the Flash's Rogues. Each of them used to, on their own, give Barry Allen a run for his money. Now, you need to cobble about 14 of them together to pose a serious threat to a Shriners Convention. If you want further proof, ask yourself, where does every superhero movie franchise start to degrade? Answer: when there's more than one bad guy in the movie.
These ads make clear DC's intention to invest in individual villains, thus making them serious contenders. As we were reminded in 52, guys like T.O. Morrow, Kanjar Ro, Despero, and Dr. Destiny used to fight the entire JLA to a standstill. Mongul has always bored me silly; just a big strong man for Superman to trade blows with. But they've been re-creating him as a broader, more varied, and more interesting threat, and now I'm actually interested in him.
Three, they re-affirm the idea that DC characters stand for something. Like characters in a myth, they aren't just people, but instantiations of ideas, or ways of looking at the world. The Joker is just a creepy clown guy, but he's also a symbol of chaos. Luthor is a really smart mad scientist, but he's also Jealously and Obsession personified. Such associations evolve over time, but here DC is doing it intentionally, and that shows sophistication in their understanding of the mythic underpinnings of their work. Usually, much attention is given to what heroes stand for (Truth, Justice, and the American Way), but villains need conceptual love, too, you know.
Marvel fans might find this all a bit silly and UNsophisticated, because "real" people are just that, not personified concepts. To Marvel, abstract nouns are just a device for naming characters. And to some degree, they are right; DCs characters' level of abstraction can make them seem less grounded, less "real". But it also makes them more iconic, and more powerful devices for telling stories about the conflict of ideas. Ya picks yer poison and takes yer chances, folks.
Fourth, they're witty. In aping the style of inspirational office posters, DC's created a strong irony in these ads that hits you square in the head!
Speaking of getting hit in the head, it occurs to me that DC villains are not the only characters who could star in a series of illustrative posters on vices and other undesirables. Behold, my own contribution: