The Late Movies: Creepy Commercials

I don't watch a lot of commercials, mostly because I DVR my favorite shows, but also because I usually flip channels or zone out whenever they come on. But lately, a certain thin, pale blonde woman has managed to hold my attention, the same way those dead twins got Danny's attention in The Shining. Creepy commercials just fascinate me, mostly because I always wonder how they get produced in the first place. Do the creative directors set out to make a Twilight Zone episode, or is it just bad luck? In honor of the ghostly blonde starring in my nightmares, I present a collection of some of the creepiest spots I've ever seen.

Let's start with an instant classic. I can't tell you how many weeks of therapy I would need if this ever happened to me.

What happens when you try using a certain technology before its time? You get Freddy Krueger with a bow tie.

If you were competing with the Energizer Bunny, would you use a family of mannequins that look like they escaped from a Stephen King novel?

A commercial for Nytol shouldn't keep me awake at night hiding under the covers, should it?

You mean...these things live in my toes? Great news, guys. Great news.

Exactly what species is this? And how high was the art director who thought it up? (And can we make them attack the guy?)

Who would've thought you could take Santa and the Easter Bunny to a dark, Quentin Tarantino place? Thank you Emerald Nuts.

This is probably just a personal one, but Bob creeps me right the heck out. Go away, Bob.

And finally, the woman to whom this collection is dedicated.




How Google Chrome’s New Built-In Ad Blocker Will Change Your Browsing Experience

If you can’t stand web ads that auto-play sound and pop up in front of what you’re trying to read, you have two options: Install an ad blocker on your browser or avoid the internet all together. Starting Thursday, February 15, Google Chrome is offering another tool to help you avoid the most annoying ads on the web, Tech Crunch reports. Here’s what Google Chrome users should expect from the new feature.

Chrome’s ad filtering has been in development for about a year, but the details of how it will work were only recently made public. “While most advertising on the web is respectful of user experience, over the years we've increasingly heard from our users that some advertising can be particularly intrusive,” Google wrote in a blog post. “As we announced last June, Chrome will tackle this issue by removing ads from sites that do not follow the Better Ads Standards.

That means the new feature won’t block all ads from publishers or even block most of them. Instead, it will specifically target ads that violate the Better Ad Standards that the Coalition for Better Ads recommends based on consumer data. On desktop, this includes auto-play videos with sound, sticky banners that follow you as you scroll, pop-ups, and prestitial ads that make you wait for a countdown to access the site. Mobile Chrome users will be spared these same types of ads as well as flashing animations, ads that take up more than 30 percent of the screen, and ads the fill the whole screen as you scroll past them.

These criteria still leave room for plenty of ads to show up online—the total amount of media blocked by the feature won’t even amount to 1 percent of all ads. So if web browsers are looking for an even more ad-free experience, they should use Chrome’s ad filter as a supplement to one of the many third-party ad blockers out there.

And if accessing content without navigating a digital obstacle course first doesn’t sound appealing to you, don’t worry: On sites where ads are blocked, Google Chrome will show a notification that lets you disable the feature.

[h/t Tech Crunch]

Why Subliminal Messaging Doesn't Work (Unless You Want It To)

Subliminal messages—hidden phrases in TV programs, movies, and ads—probably won't make you run out and join the Navy, appreciate a band's music, or start smoking. That's because these sneaky suggestions don't really change consumer behavior, even though many people believe otherwise, according to Sci Show Psych.

We say "don't really" because subliminal messages can sway the already motivated, research shows. For example, a 2002 study of 81 college students found that parched subjects drank more water after being subliminally primed with words like "dry" and "thirsty." (Participants who weren't already thirsty drank less.) A follow-up experiment involving 35 undergrads yielded similar results, with dehydrated students selecting sports drinks described as "thirst-quenching" over "electrolyte-restoring" after being primed for thirst. Experiments like these won't work on, say, chocolate-loving movie audiences who are subliminally instructed by advertisers to purchase popcorn instead.

Learn more about how subliminal messaging affects (or doesn't affect) our decision-making, and why you likely won't encounter ads with under-the-radar suggestions on the regular.


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