Stealth Advertising

Just when I thought I had enough reasons to hate the entertainment industry they come up with an idea like this.

From a recent Reuters article on

A breakthrough in television advertising debuted without fanfare last spring as a brand-name box of crackers appeared on the CBS sitcom ”Yes, Dear” for about 20 seconds, seen but hardly noticed by millions of viewers.

Unbeknownst to them, the image of Kellogg’s Club Crackers had been digitally painted onto the top of a coffee table after the scene was filmed, launching the latest advance in a marketing practice known in the industry as product placement but derided by critics as ”stealth advertising.”

This is worse than the advertisements which now seem to frequent the bottom third of the screen as you’re trying to watch your favorite program. At least when Shrek started popping his ugly head into the frame you knew you were seeing an advertisement!

Now when you see a box of crackers, pop-tarts, a box of trojans, a bottle of Coke, or a BMW in a series you’ll never know if it was put there by a careful writer, a skilled set dresser, or just a network advertising department who has no interest in the artistic integrity of the show.

Now I’m not naive enough to think the entertainment industry hasn’t been taking payoffs for putting brand name products in their shows, but at least it was part of the original composition, not an afterthought. There can be some give-and-take between the advertisers and the writers and, while advertising is inevitable, at least there are some checks.

So where does this end? Well, my bitching probably won’t get them to stop placing ads in more and more programming, so I’d like to offer this suggestion for the future of “stealth advertising.”

Advertising in the news. That’s right, the news. Try these on for size…

Would George W. like a cracker? (or should that be “Is George W. like a cracker?”)


How about some great moments in history? Everyone needs crackers…

There were crackers on the moon right?


What’s a war without crackers?


You can go great places with crackers!


And my personal favorite.


Tasteless? Well, yes, but since we’ve already turned anything artistic into a commercial, what’s left? Just the news.

advertising, internet advertising, humor, funny, stealth advertising, george w. bush, bush, news, entertainment

Good Idea, Bad Idea – Internet Advertising

Inspired by Animaniacs, I now present you with Good Idea, Bad Idea. Today’s topic: Internet advertising.

Good Idea:

The Million Dollar Homepage: This is a very fresh idea with an interesting result. Alex Tew of Wiltshire England came up with the idea of selling one million pixels on for one dollar each so he could put himself through school. He reached his goal and then some in January 2006. Way to go Alex!

There will be plenty of copy-cat sites, but I will always hold the original as a great example of out-of-the-box thinking.

Bad Idea: Not only a rip-off, but somewhat degrading. It’s a fresh new type of prostitution, but its still prostitution. The site features a moderately attractive woman who, as people buy advertising, will be undressed, one painfully small panel at a time.

Anyone who buys advertising here is a moron. For starters, there’s better porn out there. More importantly, the ads only show up when you mouse-over the body part purchased, and nobody who is looking for pictures of a naked woman is going to mouse over her best parts just to find out who sponsored them.

The only thing that could somewhat redeem this site is if it had a “Crying Game” surprise ending. This guy is such an ass clown I won’t even link to him. He’ll get a little press, but will be recognized for the hack he is.

advertising, internet advertising, ads, internet, ass clown

The Million Dollar Homepage

Million Dollar HomepageAlex Tew of Wiltshire, England came up with an innovative idea to finance his education: sell space on his website 100 pixels at a time at $1 per-pixel!

What’s the big deal? Well, there are tons of ways to advertise online, but Alex is only selling exactly one million pixels on his page and has committed to maintaining the page for the next 5 years.

Sound like a stupid idea? Well, yeah, if everyone did it, but this idea is so unique, and the first of it’s kind (that I know of anyway) that it’s getting huge press. It will be imitated, but noone will get the worldwide recognition of the original.

Where’s the money go? Alex named four potential uses for the money… First, his education. That seems like his main drive. Second, he wants to give his parents some vacation. Third, he needs new socks, and what’s left over after that he has some (undoubtedly unique) business ideas he wants to sink some money into.

While the site does remind me of a “Where’s Waldo” book, a wall with too many bumper-stickers on it, and an exploded (or perhaps imploded) billboard factory all at once I’m sure it will continue to get plenty of attention.

At the time of this article, Alex is selling his last 1,000 pixels on eBay. The current bid for the item is US $23,500 with 7 days to go. Good luck Alex!

internet, advertising, internet advertising, ads