Gentlemen! Long time no see. Have you lost weight? New deodorant? Teeth whitened? Something seems new and exciting about you! What product has unleashed your potent but friendly masculinity? … …Gents, that was a trick. Fine fellows, you are always top-notch specimens of humanity – only your own confidence can improve the fine stuff that we are made of! But of course, there are snake-oil salesmen around every corner, hoping to convince you otherwise. Time was, a fast-talking man would appeal to those folks up late at night, drowsy and susceptible to thinking they needed the occasional Bible: NASCAR Edition, or a cake pan in the shape of Mt. Rushmore. But the advertising world has grown more sophisticated – and dare I say, more insidious in their ways. As advertising takes less from Draper and Sterling and more from Skinner/Pavlov, it is only a matter of time before the pursuit of mere profits is surpassed as well. The sharp minds of marketers around the country are only trying to make a buck, but should they become compromised, you can bet any number of sinister outside forces would like to replace all of our jingles with the Song of the Volga Boatmen. Below are five instances of marketing moxie that just might make manifest the means to murder mankind.
So granted, this does look pretty awesome. But we have to stay vigilant! Today, a subway or two is turned into a nightmare dystopian alien world. Tomorrow, we wonder “How did all the aliens already have command bases under the major metropolitan hubs of the world? Oh right. We sold it to them.” In fact, if any of our readers will be in that area of Paris anytime soon, we’d like a full report on what’s going on there (note: officially, we did not in any way condone you breaking onto public property. Unless of course the fate of the world was at stake…)
It’s all fun and games until they hit you where it hurts. Sure, you can ignore billboards and mute the commercials…but can you really ignore your beer? Some marketers have turned the very bodies of our draft beers into ads. Once the ubiquitous Irish dry stout reaches the top of the glass, it reveals a pattern that your phone can decode which ”tweets about your pint, updates your facebook status, checks you in via 4 square, downloads coupons and promotions, invites your friends to join, and even launches exclusive content” which, wow, sounds thorough. But remember it fondly, for when it reveals the swirling eyes of Hypnotoad, you’ll only be ordering Mind-Controllin’ Ale for the rest of your zombified days.
The ads that have eyes that follow you and that read your facial expression were pretty creepy. But Google said “nah, let’s take this to max creepitude. Listening to your phone calls and determining your surroundings, the search giant that promises not to be evil (while owning every means of communication you possess) will be marketing you umbrellas if it hears rain, or baby formula if it hears a child screaming, or a nice zombie escort service if it hears you’re unarmed and away from shelter. (The insulting part is that they’ll probably still try to sell you Zom-B-Gone Anti-Zombie Spray). But hey, at least Google Wave is gone.
It’s hard to get jaded anymore about the rebelliousness of youth being co-opted. The protests, drug experimentation, and free love of the 60’s has been turned into a Halloween costume for 12-year-olds and boomers. Punk rock’s corpsehas been decked out in eyeliner and Hot Topic jackets for the profit of every mall in America. So why not go the whole nine yards and just corporatize protests themselves? A bus full of “protestors” waved signs in front of an Australian Apple store and shouted for them to “wake up” before they marched the block. Of course, they were all likely paid temp workers/actors for RIM, who funded the stunt to advertise their own smart phone. It will only take a couple of slogan-chanting mobs before Kodos and Kang seem like perfectly reasonable candidates with a strong grass-roots base.
F*#&ing Golden Palace
Every frontier has a pioneer, and the unfortunate leader of the pack in shameless attention-mongering is online gambling website Golden Palace. Where does one even start with their rap sheet: Sponsoring streakers? Buying the naming rights for newly discovered monkey species? Or most tellingly of all, buying advertising space on a person’s forehead, or a person’s legal name? Short of buying the Octomom’s children (the odds of which aren’t bad), Golden Palace has run out of legal ways to leave a terrible taste in humanity’s mouth. That is, until some friendly robot investors start buying the rights to half of human’s brains. If you’ve been afraid of any other doomsday device, know this – there is nothing worse than dying at the hands of a cyborg whose final words to you are an advertisement for progressive slots.
Dan Morgridge is brought to you by whichever pizzeria stays open later on a Sunday night.