A little firm called Denizen is suing the J. Walter Thompson ad agency because its recent creepy TV ad gimmick closely resembles a creepy TV ad gimmick they showed JWT years ago. The offending ads, for Microsoft web engine Bing, have characters from the NBC show The Philanthropist talking about how much they love Bing, and also include plot details that enhance the story line — for example, the characters talk about going to Nigeria in the commercial, and then in the show they go to Nigeria.
We understand why Denizen is suing (for money), but it seems incredible to us that anyone would brag on having foisted such a loathsome technique upon the world. In the 1950s, when actors from TV shows would step in front of cameras to pitch cigarettes, there was little chance that adult viewers not committed to mental institutions imagined the characters these actors had played were really telling them to buy the products; now, after decades of dumbing-down, idiocracy, and brainwashing, the line in the consciousness of the typical American numbskull between reality and fantasy is dangerously faded, and this latest tactic cannot help but further deprave people who are dim enough to regularly watch network television into thinking TV, advertising, and real life are all part of a continuum.
When it comes to trial we hope the judge has the moxie to throw the representatives of Denizen in jail.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 27, 2009