At this point in the game, most advertisers have figured out that the best way to sell their products is through sex, fear, or a disgusting combination of both, which is probably why I'm always itching to try meth these days.
Stop trying to tempt me, meth!
But hey, it could be worse. Back in the olden days, advertisers made the bold move of using the saddest pictures possible to depress viewers into buying their products out of pity. If it works for three-legged dogs, why wouldn't the sad factor work for terrible products?
6Muhammad Ali as You Never Wanted to See Him
Here's a top-notch acting tip used by notable on-screen criers like Meryl Streep and Laura Dern: Minutes before an emotional scene, feast your dry eyeballs on this 1979 picture of Muhammad Ali shilling cockroach poison, and no river will hold back your tears.
I had a dream my life would be forever Rumble in the Jungle.
The saddest part of this campaign wasn't even this print ad -- it was the commercials, when Ali revealed some slight pre-Parkinson's symptoms while simultaneously selling his soul to the devil.
What tragedy prompted the most egotistical athlete in history to lend his name to a product that we associate with filth, ugliness, and disease? Was he bankrupt? Taking jobs to pay off an ex-wife or mob boss? Crazy? Sadly, NO. While not at the peak of his athleticism, in the late 70s, Ali was at the peak of his fame, getting invitations to speak around the world, still negotiating multimillion-dollar fights, visiting Gerald Ford at the White House, and posing for Andy Warhol. This was not a man who was hurting for money or attention. And still, he plugged roach spray.
In the future, everyone will be famous for over 50 years.
This ad is what it looks like to not be able to give up a spotlight, even for the brief second it takes to realize that you're using the spotlight to sell cockroach poison.
5What's Hotter Than a Wet Cigarette? Everything.
This 1974 Salem cigarette ad is the advertorial equivalent of finding a cigarette butt in used toilet water, then scooping it out, and eating it. There's no scenario where those actions make sense, yet here we are, looking at a raggedy man with a grey tooth sucking on a wet cigarette while sporting a grin that demands restraining orders, no questions asked. One look at that face and you know this dude is naked. His denim cutoffs were tossed next to the cooler full of Lone Star and the dead hitchhiker he hasn't bothered with disposing of yet.
Ron Orman Jr/iStock/Getty Images
Picture this guy, but like, super dead.
Unless Chester the Menthol Molester just stepped into a sinkhole that he was delighted to discover, there's no way he got neck-deep in a body of water with a lit cigarette without some help. We, the viewers of this eye-attack, are forced to consider the following equally awful options:
A. This man lit his cigarette, then immediately knelt in a pond and laughed.
B. This man swam to the middle of a lake, then bummed a cigarette from boaters, who also lit it for him. He laughed at them for playing his game.
C. This man was having the time of his life when he was decapitated, and this was how his head landed on the water.
I'm sorry, Salem, but none of these scenarios make me want to take up smoking in lakes. Try harder next time.