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The Greatest Popup Ever

February 1, 2007

I stared at my computer screen, almost a little unsure of how to respond to the question that was just thrown at me. It was a popup. I’ve never really understood why people still find this form of advertising effective. We are not in the year 1997 anymore. The internet is not “the future” anymore. The entire thought of an international worldwide connection like the internet probably would have seemed quite silly to people one hundred years ago, and I’m sure these people would wonder why we waste so much time setting up advertisements when such infinite knowledge and opporotunity are within less than a hundred keystrokes away. It is ridiculous to be advertising your product in this day and age in such a way that only angers most internet users. Even on computers that don’t have popup blockers, these things only come around once in a blue moon. But I never really considered how strange some of these popups have gotten to be, shaped by the obscure logic of our society.

The very headline of the popup on my task bar almost brands it as a popup, because it starts with the standard “http://” address. I already know it’s trash. I already know someone wants to give me a free ringtone, or give me a free Playstation 3, or sell me porn, or something. It’s almost an invitation for the right click close maneuver that has been programmed into my fingers. But if every popup started on the task bar, their lifespan might be a little bit longer, because we don’t always immediately notice an addition to the curious little thought organizer on the bottom of our screens. Hell, many of us may blink while the popup would rear it’s ugly rectangle, not even noticing it appeared. But if that happened, popups would be much more sinister, hiding behind your current window, so when you quit the current application when you were tired and ready to shut down the machine, it would be there for the pounce. But that is just way too sinister, even for corporate America.

So it just kind of pounced at me straight off, when I was already engrossed in the bright screen, so I wasn’t going to let myself be phased by a popup as poorly constructed as this was. But I guess I was. I don’t know why I didn’t just click the X and end the poor things tiny lifespan right away. I mean, this thing was just abysmal, partly because the popup itself was poor, and partly because of the way society as molded it. And I’m not just using the word abysmal because it is one of my favorite words. If there was ever a time to use this word or a situation to justify my love for it, it was this time and situation.

The first thing that struck me was George Bush’s face. It is already an image that is burned into every Americans mind, so that is exactly the reason why it would be the ideal image to present on a popup. Because a day doesn’t go by in this country when millions of people don’t argue with one another over the effectiveness of the presidents strategy, even if his popularity is at an all time low. So when you really think into this, it isn’t such a bad idea to put our presidents somewhat skewed mug on an advertisement. At least he attracts attension, right?

Wrong. Very wrong. I’d say a good half (if not more) of the US doesn’t care or even want to deal with politics, so the popup has already pissed them off enough to make the measley program dead. Like an ant that is on the dinner table, but not quite at your food yet. It’s in the way, and if it’s not in the way, it’s going to be soon, so it must leave. Beyond this demographic, the other half of the US that does actually have an opinion on George W. Bush is most likely not going to take part in this “opinion poll” anyway. Mostly because they subconciously know that actually contributing to the survey would actually not distinguish them in any way as a good republican/democratic member of the community. It’s a random “opinion poll,” so no point is really proved to anyone. This may seem like a stretch, but it honestly seems true to me. That sure as hell went through my mind when the advertisement appeared. And if that wouldn’t make the viewer decide, than drifting your pointer across the advertisement would make them realize that even not choosing an actual answer would take them to the same page that answering either option would. The ad has already been destroyed.

But if that wasn’t enough to convince you to just kill the thing and put it out of it’s misery, the poor construction of the actual popup would be enough to do that anyway. There is a blue outline. And it is bland enough to make anyone disappointed. And probably left wing enough to anger any self respecting republican to the point where the border would be burning in popup hell within seconds. Not to make any generalizations, but red seems to be the color of the republicans, while blue is the color for the democrats, in this day and age. Mr. Bush is wearing a red tie for christs sake. This blue is not the color of the proud liberal, but more the color of the shirt that you found some classmate wearing passed out in your hallway when you woke up with a hangover. It doesn’t matter what your political affiliation is. This thing is dead.

George Bush’s face might be the only mildly smart move on the marketing boards part. His face is thought provoking. It is sinister. It is proud. It is stupid. It is happy go lucky. You might as well be staring at a blank piece of paper, because this mans face can mean anything to you. One second, he looks like a dignified lawyer. Given a half minute, he looks like the spawn of satan, and in the next ten seconds, he has transformed into a freedom fighter, and twenty two short increments of time later, he resembles someone you may or may not have met at work one day. It’s ingenious. He hypnotizes you. I have to say, even if I don’t like Mr. Bush, I DO like his smile. It makes me chortle whenever I see it. It’s just really funny to me, for whatever reason. This particular shot is very versatile, but usually when I see him, I think about his slightly tilted head and his less than perfect teeth, and his eyes. He looks exactly like the average male second grader would look like if he were to be fourty years older and still seven years old at heart. And what would I be doing if I was seven years old? Eating the candy bar that ws concealed in the wrapper that is now on my closet door, with Mr. Bush’s brilliant face on it. Apparently, our president contains a suprising amount of saturated fat and is segmented into tiny squares made so that you can break them apart with ease.

The actually text is pretty pathetic too. The words “Opinion Poll” are underlined and are in a font that is usually reserved for messages in all caps that you would want to ignore anyway. I guess I haven’t actually said the question.

Do You Like George W. Bush?

Just look at him. You know he likes you. He’s smiling at you. He wants to be your friend, and if he could get to your house right now, you know he would play mancala with you.

Just look at him. That kiniving pig. He isn’t taking you seriously, and he doesn’t care about you. You are just another chance for a vote for him. He wants to skin you alive.

See how motivated you are to make an answer? I doubt you fall into either of these categories, but probably somewhere in between, in the demographic that knows that that picture is not actually the president. It’s pixels. So his feelings won’t get hurt no matter what the hell you think of him.

Some other text says:

Answer For A FREE Dinner For Two at Olive Garden!

Or at least that is what it wants to say, but the asterisk after the FREE and the rare symbol after the Garden are undeniable. That asterisk is always there, and it’s evil. I know I could have my FREE Dinner for Two at Olive Garden if it weren’t for this asterisk. Because you know it is going to involve me donating some kind of money or reading some kind of fine print that I just don’t feel like reading. It does not even ask me to answer the question correctly. If there was a “correctly” pushed into there, I would at least be confused enough to try to see which answer would earn me my FREE* Dinner, and when I would win that FREE* Dinner, I would feel happy enough with my good decision to try to claim it. However, this is not the case, because I am not a fool, nor does the word correctly ever make an appearance. And sure enough, that asterisk leads me to a message that says “see offer details.” There we go.

The rest of this sentence is pretty much bull. Both average, under average, and above average citizens alike have been put off for any of the previous reasons. But the fact that Olive Garden isn’t exactly a fancy restaurant probably crossed their minds too. I could just go to Olive Garden if I wanted to. I could even take someone else with me. What, are you saying I’m poor? Are you saying that I’m so poor that I need to answer a survery to go to frickin Olive Garden? Is that what you’re saying? Yeah, that’s right. What if I don’t even like olives? Then what?

Wait, why is Olive Garden interested in whether or not the American people like George W. Bush?

Wait… Does George W. Bush want to go to Olive Garden with me?

I…I don’t know what to say.

The only comfort in this entire popup comes with the copyright information, which is copyrighted 2006, so at least you don’t feel like you are still in 1997 when this message looks like it was made.

Upon answering the question, I was directed to a blank page. Then I noticed a message at the top of my screen dictating that Mozilla Firefox had just blocked a popup. I proceeded to wonder how the original popup got there. I allowed another popup to open. It was almost as bad as the last one, and I could probably explain why in three pages or more, but I have better stuff to do.

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One comment

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