Kinder Surprise

This ad from the late 80s makes you wonder what they put in those Kinder chocolates besides toys. Maybe if you eat enough of the "Kinder Surprise" the humpty-dumpty guy will start to make sense. Me Scrooble Now. Whee!

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jul 22, 2008 - Comments (1)
Category: Advertising

Follies of the Mad Men #5



[NOTE: this is actually two image files, upper and lower, and you need to click on each one for enlargement. From The Saturday Evening Post for October 23, 1965.]

Sorry I didn't get this one up in time for Fourth of July--but then again, WU hadn't debuted then!

In any case, this ad is very confused. It seems to be appealing to the mystical vibe of the ever-iconic American War of Independence, what with the flintlock pistol and all. But then again, Sexy Car-crawling Girl is patently an attempt to attract the Pepsi Generation, those wild 'n' wacky "rebellious" kids, with their surfboards and long hair and love beads.

So who's supposed to want to buy a Polara? Mom and Pop Daughters-of-the-American-Revolution? Or little Janie Peace-Sign?

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jul 22, 2008 - Comments (11)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Guns, History, Patriotism, 1960s, Cars

The Everywhere Girl

You've probably seen this girl before, though you may not remember where. Her name is Jennifer Anderson, but she's more popularly known as the Everywhere Girl.

Her rise to ubiquity started a few years ago when she agreed to do a photo shoot for a stock-photo agency. She didn't get paid much. It was a royalty-free assignment. She posed around Reed College, pretending to be a college student (even though she had never been to college herself). It was a one-day assignment. At the time, she didn't think it was a big deal.

But for some reason, the images of her taken during that shoot became some of the most popular stock photos ever. They've been used by Gateway, Dell, Hewlett Packard, Visa, the BBC, the US Navy, Microsoft, Greyhound Bus Lines, numerous textbook publishers, as well as a whole host of other businesses. Whenever advertisers want an image of an attractive young college student, they seem to turn to Everywhere Girl. has been tracking her appearances for years. The Idee Blog has many examples of ads that have used her image. She also has her own blog. And Getty has the images of her from the original photo shoot. Finally, she was recently discussed in an article in Slate about "the weird science of stock photography."

Posted By: Alex - Fri Jul 18, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category: Advertising

Follies of the Mad Men #4

[From Good Housekeeping for October 1939.]

Here's a great example of Madison Avenue trying to a) make a problem that doesn't exist or is minimal into an overwhelming burden that only their product can alleviate and b) bring the vaunted "miraculous" power of scientists and scientific imagery into the marketing mix.

Did women in 1939--or ever--really ask their friends for a hygienic crotch alert?

Posted By: Paul - Fri Jul 18, 2008 - Comments (5)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Fashion, Hygiene, Science, Gender, Women, 1930s

Obscene Torture

Cruel, sadistic prison guards subjecting inmates to horrible excruciations. It's a sad practice as old as history. But seldom before today has the vile ritual reached such depths as reported in this story.

What exactly is the new nadir of torture? Here's the quote:

"Houghton also said that Botas and Viveiros forced him to watch a Burger King cartoon on his office computer and sing along to a jingle that accompanied the commercial. He said that all three officers laughed and 'were getting a kick out of it … that they could take advantage of me.'”

Oh, the humanity!

Recovering my senses, and getting over the evident confusion on the prisoner's part between "cartoon" and "commercial" (his mind is obviously shattered, after all), I had to ask, "Which Burger King commercial?" Not watching much TV, I'm unsure what's currently on the airwaves that might have registered on the radar of the abusive guards. But they were after all using a computer, presumably to visit YouTube. So I found five possible torture jingles.

Which one do you find most excruciating? Or do you have another candidate?

See them after the jump.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Thu Jul 17, 2008 - Comments (3)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Crime, Stupid Criminals, Food, Government, Officials, Prisons, Torture

Follies of the Mad Men #3

[This image comes from Playboy for July 1980.]

Let's suppose that you're a magazine named Playboy that encourages its readers to believe they can have lots of sex if they follow the advice of the magazine. Then you create another magazine in your empire called Games. You decide to advertise the latter in the former. And the theme of your ad is that anyone who reads the new magazine will not want sex anymore, even when a nubile young woman is thrusting herself upon the reader.

This is where your head should explode.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jul 15, 2008 - Comments (6)
Category: Business, Advertising, Games, Magazines, Sexuality, 1980s

Amazonian Miracle for Sale!

If only you had been reading Popular Mechanics magazine for February 1929! Then you could have purchased the same Purple Ray healing device that Wonder Woman uses! Okay, so it was a "Violet Ray." Same difference, right?

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jul 14, 2008 - Comments (15)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, History, Inventions, Medicine, Science, Technology, Comics, 1920s

Follies of the Mad Men #2

[From The Saturday Evening Post for December 16, 1967]

Whenever you put a giant woman in a skirt next to normal-sized people, the inevitable first thought engendered in the viewer is, "Can I see up her dress?" In this instance, the second thought is: "Is she going to pick up that car and use it as a marital aid?"

Posted By: Paul - Sat Jul 12, 2008 - Comments (10)
Category: Business, Advertising, Giant People in Ads, Products, Fashion, Obsessions, Fetishes, Sexuality, Cars

Wrinkled Head Commercial

This is a Japanese TV commercial for COSMO Securities. It reminds me of the artwork of Giuseppe Arcimboldo -- if Arcimboldo were to have made his heads out of human bodies rather than food. (via 3yen)

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jul 10, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category: Art, Advertising

Obama Lincoln


Check out this new portrait from famed painter Ron English, and read what happened in Boston when it was recently displayed.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Jul 09, 2008 - Comments (3)
Category: Art, Business, Advertising, Government, Officials, History, Historical Figure, Politics

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Who We Are
Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.

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