The Culmination of a Lifetime of Training Sitting on a Gadget That's Just Been Invented

Just The Facts

  1. ZenithOptimedia estimates that global spending on advertising exceeds $500 billion US.
  2. The same source indicates that global spending on internet advertising took up 10% of that pie in 2008, and that this share is likely to increase substantially in the future.
  3. A study conducted in 2000 showed that informercials of 15 minutes are as effective at generating sales and positive viewer response as those that last 30 minutes or longer. And yet, the dominance of the mesmerizingly repetitive hour-long infomercial continues unabated to this day.
  4. In 2004, scientists proved conclusively that in a) selling us useless poor-quality crap that we don't need and b) employing infuriatingly transparent advertising techniques, ad executives are, excuse the technical jargon,
  5. Infomercials can and will sell anything. You know that old barstool in your basement? A little creative advertising can turn that bitch into a tactical cross-training health unit.

The Culmination of a Lifetime of Training Sitting on a Gadget That's Just Been Invented

Cracked on Advertising

Here at Cracked, we take a strong anti-capitalist stand, and we don't believe in advertising.

We do, however, believe in providing high-quality Cracked merchandise. So why don't you step off that consumerism treadmill and walk on over to the Cracked store? We don't have to tell you that a handsome technosaurus t-shirt would look great on you. In your heart of hearts, you always knew. Also, you should know that we're literally giving the stuff away !!! (figuratively speaking) If you click on that link within the next 15 minutes and tell them that the collective Cracked voice sent you, they will give you absolutely no discount.

Other websites? They put their content on as many pages as possible to increase their ad revenue. Here at Cracked, we publish multi-page articles to enhance the reader experience, and for no other reason. If we thought it would make you, the reader, happy, we'd put the entire internet on a single page so that you could scroll to your heart's content.

For serious though, non-Cracked corporations be all annoying the hell out of you with advertising, don't they? Who are they to offend your sensibilities in exchange for content they provide free of charge? We know. They're total bastards. Before reading on, could you be a dear and give that banner at the top of the page a click? We're convinced you'll find their product and/or service quite suitable to your needs, if your needs include sassy t-shirts.

Buggering the Truth

Perhaps the most tried and true method of getting someone to do something they wouldn't ordinarily do is to lie. Examples of this include "Come on baby, it's my birthday." and "I'm pregnant, let's get married." If it's true in real life, it is also true in advertising.

For example, say you've got a warehouse full of teddy bears with a snap-on strap for some reason. Forget the obvious questions like, who decided to produce these things in the first place? Or, where can I get my hands on some matches and a can of lighter-fluid? Instead, focus on a way to market that stuff effectively as something else. It doesn't have to make total sense. It just has to seem useful to lonely depressives and the congenitally disembrained. 


"The Maria Shriver look-alike (18 seconds in) tells us that seatbelts make it hard for her to breathe. Instead of investing in a ribcage implant to provide the protection her internal organs so desperately need, she opted for the Tiddy Bear." (Quote from the Cracked article 'As Seen on TV: The 10 Most Laughably Misleading Ads')

"Experts have been telling us for decades that the secret to achieving good fitness is like the secret to sex: repeat one movement over and over again until you get health benefits or your butt gets sore. The Red Exerciser, as a swivel-stool, is guaranteed to produce at least one of those two outcomes with prolonged use."(Quote from the Cracked article 'Sticks to Stools: 7 Random Objects Sold As Exercise Machines')

The Medium Is the Message, and the Message is

You cool cats think you got it all figured out don't you. Think you're media savvy? Let us know your answer after you've had a hot chick crawl into your brain and put a product placement there (See the Cracked article: The 5 Creepiest Advertising Techiniques of the (near) future). Legitimate university research has to jump through hoops to get permission to hand you a questionnaire about body weight perceptions and shit like that, while ad firms are allowed to document everything you do with the stated intent of manipulating you. Look through the looking glass here people. To see what other ways people try to control your mind, read David Wong's article 6 Brainwashing Techniques They're Using On You Right Now.

Sodomizing the Client

The effectiveness of the above techniques might very well make one question the value of humanity. Thankfully, ad execs are not perfect. Like a high-priced hooker, some advertisements suck overtime, and may actually do more damage than good. This lack of efficiency should forestall our inevitable death by cheaply-made-crap asphyxiation for another year or two. 

Whether it's hamfisted attempts at poorly thought-out product placements within video games (for more on this, see the Cracked article 'The 10 Least Subtle Product Placements in Video Game History') or Super Bowl ads that are powerfully lame, (See the blog post 'The 10 Lamest Super Bowl XLII Ads (Part 2)'), ad executives show that they aren't above accepting money to put out crap, not unlike the numerous cracked writers who are forced to star in low-budget shizer videos in order to make ends meet (making the ends meet is our specialty, but costs extra).

How unsubtle were some of the video game advertisements? The band Journey made a game based entirely around themselves and their music. They clearly thought very highly of themselves. Indeed, "Journey couldn't have made the message any clearer even if they added a "piss on the worthless masses from the hotel balcony" bonus level." (Quote from the Cracked article 'The 10 Least Subtle Product Placements in Video Game History').

Other ads offend because they are fundamentally unwholesome (Cracked Article: Awesome Ads (For traumatizing children)). The number 1 item on that list is likely to be the most disturbing video you've ever watched. As the author notes, "If insanity were a living creature, chances are this is what its nightmares would look like." Yes. It makes one wonder about the people who made the thing and thought it was perfectly calibrated for their target audience: innocent children. It's as if some demented carnival sideshow promoter decided to open an ad agency.

See also, Cracked Article 'The 30 Strangest Movie Posters of All Time', ' 6 Baffling Old-School Video Game Commericals'

As If the Real Thing Weren't Bad Enough: Spoofing Advertisement

Advertising is ubiquitous in our culture. Cracked has made it its mission to speed along our inevitable transformation into a devolved species that communicates exclusively through photoshop commentary about the ads the 'sighted' children are broadcasting onto our eyelids.

For a peak at what this wondrous utopia will look like, checkout the Cracked photoshop contest: 'The Terrifying (Inevitable) Future of Advertising'. Here's a comforting example that epitomizes the Cracked community's fundamentally optimistic world view (Photoshop credit to ElZombieCharro):

Runner-up photoshop entry for the contest 'The terrifying (inevitable) future of advertising', by ElZombieCharro

If you like your consumerist utopias to be ironic, check out these unfortunately placed advertisements: 13 Worst Possible Ad Placements. Hungry? We could really 'go' for a snickers (Photoshop credit: Mortal Wombat).

runner up photoshop entry, '13 Worst Possible Ad Placements' by Mortal Wombat


Alternatively, if you are a member of our key 'demented carny' demographic, you might be interested in a future where intrinsically disturbing stuff is marketed to kids: see the Cracked photoshop contest 'What Campaign Ads Would Look Like If the Voting Age was 6', wherein we learn that some bullies don't want your 'change' (photoshop credit: Lord Cownostril).

 Runner-up photoshop entry, 'What campaign ads would look like if the voting age was 6'

The Ads We Like (No, really)

Check out the Cracked forum thread: 'Best sports commercials'.