Ah, advertisements. If you browse the web, you can't escape 'em -- they're everywhere. Most of the time they're completely worthless, hogging your system resources like swine gobble corn with some complicated flash animation involving a bunch of checkered butterfly things chasing people around as they plug a "broadband phone company" or bullshit like that. You probably don't care. And even if you were interested in the service, something about a company you heard about via a box on the right side of your screen while you were looking at elbow porn on someone's Geocities page doesn't exactly scream "class act," y'know? Moreover, most of the time the ads have nothing at all to do with whatever webpage you're browsing or service you're using -- no matter where you go or what you'd actually be interested in purchasing, whoever's got the money for ad space calls the shots. That said, bend over and spread those cheeks for the advertising phallus, 'cause it's fucking you whether you like it or not and you'd better have the lube handy.
Right off the bat, we've got Applebee's trying to prepare you for a sumo match with Baby Beluga in the deep blue sea by giving you TONS of free food. They say that over 60% of Americans are overweight, and here's one of the reasons why -- even when they're checking their bloody webmail restaurant chains trying to shove mass quantities of food down their throats. Hell, with these free dinners for two, they're not just trying to fatten you up, but your significant others or friends or whoever the hell you'd take to dinner as well. Frankly, it's a little unsettling -- with those photos of food there and whatnot to make you slaver with hungry desire, it's reminiscent of the frosted gingerbread house in Hansel and Gretel that was merely a trap so that the witch could capture the greedy young children for her own eating pleasure. Could it be that Applebee's is run by witches with a taste for Yankees? I dunno, but the name is telling... apples are pretty closely associated with witches and all. And with ads like that fourth one above, you've really gotta be worried -- sure, it's been a while since I've been to Applebee's, but even taking inflation into account I highly doubt that one person could reasonably eat $50 worth of food there. They didn't even invite you to bring a friend on that one. Hmmm...
And as if you needed more evidence that all of these free food ads weren't created with your best intentions in mind, we've got this. First of all, this chef is a total lardass and there's no food on this tray. One might be tempted to suggest that he ate all of it, but no -- the truth is that the empty space on that silver platter is reserved for YOU. Don't believe me? Well, note this: Dude's eyes are glowing orange and that look on his face is none too friendly, so clearly something sinister is going on. Either he's here to gnaw the flesh from your bones or the free food is spiked with zombie powder and the chef is what you'll become when they're done with you -- a 400+ pound orange-eyed monster who cooks and bends to the will of its mighty witchmasters behind the curtain. Either way, I'd recommend passing on the free food.
If you use any Yahoo affiliated services or watch television on a regular basis, you've probably seen one or more of the Yahoo "Life Engine" ads lately. That's right; it's not just for searching and webmail and whatever else it did before, folks -- now the Yahoo techs have mastered the secrets of reanimating the dead with tiny pacemaker devices shaped like locomotive trains. But all clever joking aside, there's something pretty wrong about this ad, which reads, "Online Dating is fun. It's like window-shopping for men." First of all, don't women use the service too? And can't they browse the profiles of potential love interests? So why wouldn't it be like window-shopping for women also? Because this particular Yahoo ad endorses the stereotypes that a) women enjoy window-shopping, and b) their brand of window-shopping involves looking at frilly pink summer dresses and itsy bitsy teeny-weeny yellow polka-dot bikinis in downtown storefront windows, that's why. Not only that, but this ad likens all women who use Yahoo's service to prostitutes, since the phrase "window-shopping for men" instantly brings to mind the brothels of the Netherlands. According to Yahoo's Life Engine, then, women who use the dating service are shallow whores who pose seductively and spread their legs for the delight of male subscribers. No wonder that woman in the ad is smiling! Yahoo must make her feel so empowered.
Given that I don't trust most of these ads -- it's pretty much a given that either they're flat-out scams or there's a really annoying catch somewhere -- I find myself wondering if "Click here to claim your FREE Gas" is the internet's version of the "pull my finger" gag. And hey, speaking of biological processes and gas, has anyone ever taken the time to dwell on the similarities between gassing up your car and sexual intercourse? Think about it, you have a nozzle that penetrates the car and fills 'er up, as it were, except in this case the limiting factor isn't the nozzle's stamina but the car's capacity for fulfillment. I could go further with that, but y'know what? I'm not gonna. Suffice it to say that many people rely on their cars for a lot of crap, and if the comparison between giving your car gas and sex is even remotely accurate, then giving it free gas off the internet is the equivalent of allowing your twelve-year old daughter to get knocked up by some shady old man you met in #oldmenwhohavesexwithpreteens. What? If that made no sense to you, GOOD. You need no further proof that the information superhighway and the kind paved with asphalt shouldn't be mixed.
Yep, more free food ads. Now, if you've read the article about the Red Lobster Fun Book, you know that this, too, isn't entirely on the up-and-up. But should we be surprised? When you want to hook a fish or kill a rat, you furnish the trap with bait, and more often than not that bait is edible. Why should that strategy be any different for humans? After all, you an' me baby ain't nothin' but mammals. Anyway, besides the general OMG THEY'RE TRYING TO MAKE U EVEN FATTAAAR comments, I've got nothing specific to say about this one... but keep in mind that Red Lobster is behind it. The real Red Lobster. So maybe Mephistopheles is his name, 'cause I've no idea what he's up to in serving up his brethren on platters for free. However, if he's willing to make those kinds of sacrifices you can bet that something absolutely HELLISH is about to go down. Don't take the bait! And prepare for the worst...
And here's another disturbing trend I've noticed -- ads that encourage you to gun somebody down in order to win a fancy prize. Granted, these are probably descended from carnival games that have you shooting ducks to win stuffed bears, but there's a big difference between shooting a plastic duck and shooting an animated human caricature that's more/less made to look like a distinctive kind of person with distinctive ideals and possibly even distinctive religious beliefs. But with tensions running high, I guess it's no surprise that now we've got a "Shoot the Terrorist!" game. However, here's the problem. First and foremost, that terrorist is not a threat. Sure, he's running around like a madman and firing what appear to be uzis in each hand, but note that if he were really firing bullets, given his proximity to the policeman he would've mowed that cop down a long time ago. But they'll just keep chasing each other until you put the poor deranged "terrorist" out of his misery, 'cause you sure as shit can't shoot the cop (I tried). Speaking of the cop, that brings us to our second point -- there's already a riot cop on the job. Moreover, he's got a gun and a better shot than you do, so if the "terrorist" needs to be shot he should probably be the one to do it. Plus, y'know, he's authorized to use that assault rifle he's toting, whereas they just tossed this one at you with the promise of an iPod if you score a headshot ('cause the guy's practically all head). What, are they trying to make vigilantes out of otherwise good and law-abiding citizens, using nifty gadgets to lure them down that dark and lonely forest road into caves filled with bats and computers and fancy air, land, and sea vehicles? I wonder.
Ah, now it makes sense. They want to turn people into vigilante superheroes of sorts so they can justify getting someone else to shoot them down, and the cycle continues until everybody's dead and the prizes once again belong to the earth. But seriously, wasn't the Hulk supposed to be a good guy? I mean I know he caused tons of property damage and probably accidentally stepped on a few babies, but at the end of the day, deep down in the heart of Bruce Banner, I thought he meant well. Well, apparently good intentions count for naught, since you're expected to shoot him in the face to win a PS2. The kicker? They didn't even try to get a really menacing shot of the Hulk to make it look like he's a danger that possibly needs to be shot for the protection of the innocent -- he looks more confused than anything here, like he doesn't know what the fuck is going on. These wacky 'net ads... next thing you know, they'll have you gunning down
Two things. First, if your dog has the ability to turn to ticks and shout, "YOU, AGAIN!" forget about saving 50% on petmeds by buying online, 'cause you don't need to be so cheap that you have to clip coupons from spam e-mails. Why? Talking dogs are worth millions. Hell, as experience has proven time and time again with such examples as Scooby-Doo and Astro, they don't even have to be able to speak well to gain popularity. Trust me, you'll have money to burn once you make a call to an agent and get that dog on the road. Secondly, if your pet is beseiged by cartoon fleas half the size of its face, again, forget about saving 50% on petmeds -- if you buy online, you're gonna have to pay out of your ass for shipping BECAUSE YOU NEED THOSE PETMEDS RIGHT AWAY. Or you can wait and let 'em take their time getting there, but I guarantee they won't be much use when they arrive, since by that time your dog will have been devoured alive by giant cartoon insects. You might as well just garnish the lil feller and start digging a hole in the backyard. You know, for the bones. And maybe someday your next dog can dig them up and have a party. WOO!
And again with the shooting things. Once again, the coveted prize is an iPod, but this time your target is a BEAR. Cruelty to animals jokes aside, this one makes a little more sense, seeing as how that bear looks pretty damned menacing and if you don't do something he's probably gonna make a meal of that poor idiot who's running in terror. But here's the thing -- that expression on the bear's face isn't so much one of slavering bestial ferocity as one of feigned anger, and that look on the potential "victim"'s face doesn't seem quite genuine to me either. My take? They're acting. Note that the ad doesn't tell you to "shoot" the bear, but simply to "hit" the bear. We're just playing here; it's all good.
"Start looking Sexy ... Results may vary." That's good to know, because for a second there I thought that managing carbs would turn you into an ugly surfergirl with a white flower-shaped growth protruding from her skull and the most hideously twisted Joker grin this side of Wakiki. Also, given that sharp telltale lump on the lower left side of her torso, she's apparently about to give birth to an Alien baby. Well, no wonder she's smiling like it hurts. She's put a lot of work into this, folks, as evidenced by the fact that she even took the time to autograph the ad down at the bottom. Her name? See for yourself -- it's apparently "www.CarbManager.com". Who the fuck names their kid www.CarbManager.com? Oh ho ho, this ghastly grinning girl's got all kinds of reasons to smile, doesn't she? I wish I could shoot her for an iPod.
And hey, speaking of shooting things for iPods, it's apparently open season on criminals, and as the word "SHOOT" is clearly in use, we're through with the kid gloves and back to the real deal. Again, I find this disturbing. When bears about to eat people are involved, we're told only to "hit" the rampaging beast, but where members of our own species are concerned we're expected to go in with guns blazing and "shoot" to kill. Not to protect the innocent, not to uphold honor and justice and all of that crap, but for an iPod. WELL. Note also that again, as indicated by the flashing lights and the visible cop car, the police are already on the job, and unlike last time, where the "terrorist" was going nuts with his impotent cap guns, these so-called criminals don't even have the appearance of being armed. That scared fucker above doesn't even have a good haul -- apparently in his haste he was only able to grab a giant stamp and an urn -- and he's so poor that even his sack had a hole in it and required a crude patching job on the spot. He really needs the money, folks, and here this ad is asking you to take his life for an iPod. I dunno what to say, except that if the people of Agrabah shared that mentality we wouldn't have the Disney classic that is Aladdin. No, our diamond in the rough would've been too busy being dead to hook up with Jasmine, Abu would've been barbecued and eaten by that fat lady who wanted to fuck Aladdin, and some asshole sitting atop his camel would be fiddling with a brand new iPod. But y'know what? He wouldn't even be able to play songs from the movie on it. 'CAUSE IT WOULDN'T EXIST. :(
Admittedly, this second guy seems a little more dangerous, what with his ability to outrun the fucking cop car, but I still don't think shooting him dead is the answer. Think about it -- how many people do you know who can outrun a speeding cop car, lights flashing, sirens wailing and all? Even cheetahs can't do that. Would you shoot someone this amazing? Perhaps rehabilitating him and getting him to run for the U.S. Olympic track team would be a better solution.
So anyway, back to the ads. This one touts, among other things, a spyware blocker, and once you get past all of the
And yeah, with all of the restaurants vying to stuff you full of enough free shit to take your clothing sizes into the triple-digits (consequently, I haven't seen very many ads for plus-size clothing... perhaps there's a secret food-clothing alliance?), you knew McDonald's was going to get in on the action. With various "Get Fit, America!" type programs gaining steam and Super Size Me currently making the rounds in theaters, spreading the word about the potential dangers of eating at Mickey D's, it's more important than ever that McDonald's find ways to keep your greasy ass bursting out of your jeans and a Big Mac firmly held in your chubby grip. We've already touched briefly on the "i'm lovin it" campaign and McDonald's attempt to burrow into your heart (clogging arteries all the way) by offering up cups with hip blue skater chicks, but really, what better way to keep you stuffing your face with McDonald's food than to give it up FOR FREE? We're dealing with masters here, folks. Hell, they've even got adult Happy Meals now. ALL IS LOST. :(
So this isn't an internet ad, but just the same I thought it'd be interesting to close with since it fully illustrates the lengths to which McDonald's and other advertisers will go to mold you to their will. Among other things, we've already seen them try to fatten you up for slaughter, turn you into a breeding ground for Alien parasites, and get you to kill your fellow humans for the sake of winning an iPod, but I never thought I'd see this. Imagine my surprise when, strolling past the McDonald's drive-thru the other day, I caught sight of the rather strange ad above. My first thought was, "I dunno about you, Mr. Cicada, but that guy sure as shit doesn't do anything to whet my appetite," but then I realized that there were two other people in the picture, both of whom appear slightly distorted due to motion blur. Moreover, the one on the right has her head thrown back rather awkwardly, and though I can't see her eyes and can't say for certain I'm almost sure that her mouth is open not in laughter, but in pain. Also, note the submissive head-down posture of the person on the left. This was all weird enough, but then I looked again at that guy... and y'know what? He looks damned familiar.
A quick edit was enough to confirm my gut suspicions: The guy in the picture is, in fact, Blanka of Street Fighter fame. Sure, they fixed his teeth and kinked up his hair a bit, and without the lush canopy of Brazil's forests to shelter him he appears to have picked up a few freckles from being out in the sun -- and of course they've dyed his hair and painted over his skin to throw us off the scent -- but I know Blanka and damnit that's him. Seriously, why else would they use someone so ugly and wearing such a twisted expression of hideous enthusiasm in their advertising? With few exceptions, anyone who recognizes Blanka is going to be like, "HOLY SHIT, BLANKA EATS AT MCDONALD'S! GOTTA GET ME SOME TOO!" So as if these bastards weren't suffering enough from the lack of exercise due to sitting on their asses playing video games all day, now they'll be stuffing themselves with McDonald's to boot, since somehow that sinister clown hopped into the Capcom universe and got BLANKA HIMSELF on the payroll. But there's something far worse at work here. Recall those two unknown souls in the photo with Blanka. One's head was bowed in defeat; the other's was thrown back in agony -- but why? Now we know. Since this is Blanka we're talking about, he's obviously used his ELECTRICITY ATTACK on them. And now the horror of the new McDonald's advertising campaign becomes clear. The key element? SHOCK THERAPY. It doesn't matter whether you know that that's Blanka or not; if you're not down with Ronald and his wares he's gonna have Blanka shock the living shit out of you until you submit. And judging from the look on Blanka's face, he's all too happy to comply. Such is the way when advertising becomes torture.
YOU SHOULD BE.
Just click the image above! Simple, no? ;)