Saturday, November 5, 2011

Banner Ads

It seems as though Internet ads are everywhere. News sites utilize them to supplement waning print revenue, Facebook relies on them to remain in operation, and thousands of companies are paid to ensure that users click on whatever ads are placed before them. I imagine that this must be a tireless job since most savvy Internet users have become extremely cynical toward banner advertisements and are reluctant to click on them.

Several years ago, the most popular approach was the interactive game. There you are, reading a fascinating article on cancer research, when you see a picture of President George W. Bush super-imposed over a cartoon torso. By moving your mouse to the ad in question, you activate a set of boxing gloves and begin your objective of punching the commander in chief’s lights out. Once you have done so, you are redirected to a website that sells unrelated goods such as oil filters or refurbished chemical toilets.

Recently, this strategy has been replaced by combining completely unrelated pictures and text in the hopes that sheer curiosity will lure consumers. A few examples:
As you can see, this first ad combines a surprised, bald Caucasian woman with a vague caption regarding early detection of cardiac distress. The juxtaposition of these two components leads us to several conclusions:
1.      The woman in question is, in fact, having a heart attack and is demonstrating one of the initial four warning signs (known informally as the “Culkin”). 
2.      The woman is shocked because such sound medical advice is being offered for free. 
3.      The woman just saw a photo of mustache-era Larry Bird.

The second ad features a young woman dressed in minimal clothing while talking on the phone. The caption claims that she has found a way to make $72/hour online and by clicking on the link you can discover how she makes $8,000 a month.

Call me jaded if you will, but when I see a scantily-clad co-ed claiming that she makes large amounts of money by spending time online I automatically assume that she is employed by an adult webcam service. And before you judge me, let’s look at the math.

If the “mommy” in question clocks a traditional 40-hour work-week at $72 per hour her income would exceed $135,000 per year or $11,500 per month. This is a $2,500 discrepancy which federal income tax would be unable to account for since we can assume she qualifies for some child-tax credits. So what other interested party would be entitled to a percentage of the revenue generated by an attractive, enterprising young woman who favors revealing outfits…….I’m just sayin’

The next ad features a bikinied-woman, sitting on a beach, wearing a Santa Claus hat. Perplexingly, she is not selling bikinis, Santa Claus hats, or trips to the coast. The caption here is attempting to sell inexpensive shares of a small public company (also known as penny stocks). In most cases, the organization behind the ad has already amassed large holdings in the company and is attempting to increase the value of their own position by luring others to invest.

While a similarly-dressed solitary beach-goer may have quite a story to tell, it is best to seek investment advice from someone wearing pants.

The final, and most intriguing, of the ads involves what looks to be a demonically-possessed toddler bent on revenge. In fact, I believe an appropriate caption for the photo would be “from footage later recovered by police.” Strangely, the ad’s stated purpose is to encourage ongoing adult education, presumably by making the adults feel unsafe around their offspring and thus more likely to seek an excuse to spend time outside the home.

Of course, a more innocuous answer could be that the poor little girl is being afflicted by some sort of digestive malady and the photo was simple taken at a rather inopportune time.

1 comment:

  1. Banner ads - problem

    The pictures do not display.


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