Category:
Business

Follies of the Mad Men #4

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[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

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[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!

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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

Happy Hula-hooping!

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Celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the invention of the Hula Hoop!

Posted By: Paul - Sun Jul 13, 2008 - Comments (3)
Category: Anniversary, Business, Products, Customs, Decades, 1950s, Fads, History, Inventions

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

Plastic Pink Flamingo Shortage imminent!



Crude oil heading toward $200.00 a barrel? Trivial! More important here at WU Central is the upcoming dearth of avian lawn ornaments as the company that makes them goes bankrupt!

Read the whole sad story here.

How will extortionate charities get their money now, if the practice of "flamingoing" is doomed?

Posted By: Paul - Thu Jul 10, 2008 - Comments (10)
Category: Animals, Business, Products, Customs, Domestic, Inventions

Obama Lincoln

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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

Foo Kin Chinese Food

My pal Pete Kaplan stumbled across this one. Who knew that up in Cooperstown, NY, they had such pronounced Liverpudlian accents?

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Posted By: Paul - Wed Jul 09, 2008 - Comments (7)
Category: Business, Advertising, Food, Restaurants, Weird Names

Selling Ice to Eskimos

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Darren McEwen alerted me to this photograph (from 1943) currently featured in National Geographic's Flashback section. He notes that it looks like a guy trying to sell a refrigerator to eskimos. Actually, the women are Bolivian cholitas, not eskimos. The caption explains:

Urban cholitas have little to do with popular beliefs of a timeless, unchanging indigenous culture," explains American University anthropology professor Lesley Gill. Today, "they are urban born and frequently well-to-do. They make their money primarily from commerce, and their style of dress expresses a dynamic, expensive, and completely modern sense of Aymara femininity. Many hats come from Italy, for example," Gill notes, "and nowadays the cloth for their skirts comes from Korea.


If you want a real picture of a guy selling ice to eskimos, here's legendary pr stuntster Jim Moran in 1938, bundled in furs up in Alaska with an icebox, trying to make the aphorism a reality. (Photo from Mark Borkowski's Improperganda.)

Moran's most infamous stunt was when he tried to tie midgets to kites and fly them over Central Park. His idea was that the midgets would carry billboards on which he would sell advertising space. When the police told him he wasn't allowed to do it, he remarked, "It's a sad day for American capitalism when a man can't fly a midget on a kite over Central Park."

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jul 08, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category: Business, Advertising

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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, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

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.

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