Thursday, February 12, 2009

Prey

Look, I understand that the cost of television advertising has dropped significantly in the last decade courtesy of greater competition from cable networks and the Internet. I know that the extremely low risk of scamming through the internet combined with the power of automation and mass spamming (law of large numbers) has made it so that people can actually make a living scamming people from the comfort of their computer chairs. I understand this, and yet I can't help but wonder how some of the most blatantly retarded scam concepts make it to the airwaves. Why aren't networks refusing to advertise? No doubt they only care about the ad revenue, but that begs an even more important question: Where are these scam companies getting their money? Who is falling for this shit!?

I wrote this off as business as usual for a long time. Scams and shitty products have been advertised on TV for as long as I can remember... however, these things always landed in the "Obviously bullshit" section of the station guides (2am to 5am). For the last two or three years, I've been seeing these scams advertised during popular shows, in prime time, and this year even the Super Bowl. WTF? The only reason I leave my TV on during the Super Bowl in the first place is for the commercials, and now you're gonna put Cash4Gold on? Standards? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

None of these links go to their web sites. I don't want my blog anywhere near the referrer lists of these bottom-feeders.


Kinoki Footpads
(actual ad)

ANCIENT JAPANESE SECRETS! I love when commercials advertise that something is based on medical pseudoscience from a millennia ago. It's tantamount to saying "This product is made from the feathers of the magic unicorns of Gumdrop and Candy Cane Island!" In reality, 1000 years ago was a time when "exorcism" was a legitimate medical cure, scurvy (which you prevent and cure by... eating fruit, zomg) killed tens of thousands regularly, and the average life expectancy was almost a third of what it is today. Still think ancient medicine is worth trying out? We didn't eliminate polio by wearing "ionized" bracelets - it took real medicine.

If you love ancient Asian "medical science" so much, go get your qi realigned by having a needle poked into your foot to cure your Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Oh and don't forget: if you ejaculate, you lost some of your life force. Every time you masturbate, God doesn't just kill a kitten, he also shaves a year off your life.

Kinoki footpads: Put Japanese wet naps on your feet and, while you sleep, magic will suck out metal through your toes just like how the trees do it! ...?


Crazyfox \ Wolf \ HomeBusiness4757454.com
(Video may be slightly edited from the original ads)

You'd have to be crazy to visit this web site... crazy like a fox! Either that or you don't remember which of the 50 URLs they used on the commercial. News flash: Legitimate businesses want you to be able to find them. That's why they go to such great lengths to buy out URLs that are almost the same as theirs (Netflix.com owns Netflicks.com), that's why they buy domains that are easy to remember, and that's why they don't change their domain every week. If something is being advertised with unnecessary numbers (crazyfox200.com), it's often because they are playing a shell game with you to avoid being held accountable, most notably through domain name-based review and commenting services like McAfee SiteAdvisor. This is especially obvious when you see a new domain name on their next commercial, again with pointless numbers (134crazyfox.com). I wish I had listed all the "Crazyfox" domains I'd seen in the last three years. Some were hilariously stupid. I think I shit my pants laughing when they started doing Crazywolf.com's without changing the tagline of the commercial... "Crazy like a fox? That doesn't make any sense when you've labelled him a wolf in your URL!"

The idea that anyone could fall for this makes me feel nauseous... in the testicle. How many syringes of Imbecilin do you need to inject before you believe this has any modicum of legitimacy? Sadly, given that the commercials only seem to be increasing in frequency, someone must be falling for it.

Crazyfox: Send him a shit-ton of money, he'll send you back a pamphlet about joining his pyramid scheme, encourage you to quit your job, change his URL (and species!), and fuck your kids.


HeadOn & Pals
(Information! Apply directly to the forebrain!)

This one got enough attention as a joke nationwide that I figured people by now know it's a scam, but believe it or not I've seen many a forum post where people ask "I know it's a stupid commercial, but does it work?" NO! HeadOn, ActiveOn, and any derivatives I can't recall right now are total jokes. The "active ingredients" are barely effective headache treatments when in chemically significant amounts, and when diluted throughout the wax candle that you just bought have no effect on your body. And even if they did, rubbing stuff on your skin doesn't cure headaches. I don't ever remember my doctor giving me a prescription with the advice to smash two caplets into my face every 6 hours as needed.

HeadOn: Rub candlewax directly on your forehead so that the next time we see you out in public, you have a Scarlet Letter of gullibility and we can try other schemes on you.


Riddex
(These bugs seem pretty scared)

Plug the Riddex into your wall and it'll emit EM Pulse waves through the wiring of your house to scare off roaches, mice, and other pests! First: Low frequency EM waves are barely detectable to begin with (especially the kinds that would be emitted by a device like this). Second: We're not even sure if bugs can detect them at all. Third: There's no reason to believe that, if bugs and rodents could detect the waves, they'd be repelled by them at all. Lastly: Even if they were somehow scared away, the effect would be extremely temporary and minor in comparison to the myriad of other non-poisonous non-lethal methods of pest control. But who needs to test the efficacy of something before they make money hawking it to millions of desperate, naive people!?

I have a pest prevention tool of my own I'm considering marketing. I've seen it repel many types of bugs, rodents, and other pests, it takes roughly the same amount of electricity as this piece of shit (while performing another helpful function as well), and it's available at virtually every drug, convenience, grocery, department, and home renovation store in your area: a light bulb.

Riddex: Plug it in and tell yourself it's working, even though you have no way of detecting what it's doing and we don't have one iota of scientific proof that it works.


Cash4Gold.com
(The infamous Super Bowl ad)

I'd been laughing at the Cash4Gold commercials for over a year before the Super Bowl. How they managed to rip off enough people to buy a Super Bowl ad is beyond me. Here's how their system works: You call them up or go to their web site and they'll send you an envelope for you to put your gold jewelry, etc. into and mail back. Once they've received it, they'll melt it down and send you a check for what they say it's worth. It'll be fair market value. They promise. Seriously. Why would they rip you off? What do they have to gain (besides your gold at a dirt cheap price)?

Also, can someone explain to me why I should be taking financial advice from MC Hammer?

Cash4Gold: Send us your gold and we'll send you a check back. Trust us. Don't get involved with those shady dealers that quote you a price before they take your jewelry. Those places don't have Ed McMahon on their commercials, and he's the guy that used to come to your door with the big checks! Remember?


Human beings are supposed to be predators. We have eyes in the front of our heads, have an omnivorous diet, and use tools and communication like no other species on the planet. So why in the hell are so many of us acting like prey?

Word of the day
Alopecoid (adj.) - Similar to or resembling a fox

2 comments:

  1. Humans were omnivorous scavengers. That doesn't ruin your point, though.

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  2. Heh, and there are some salves and balms out there that actually do ease or completely eliminate certain symptoms of colds and illnesses - headaches included - but I needed a good lead in for "Smash 2 caplets into your face every six hours as needed"

    Thanks for reading!

    ReplyDelete