No ad campaign has tried "existential despair" as a
marketing strategy. (The state-of-the-art proven
strategy is to create the emotions of fear,
anger, or avarice.)
Today, with targeted online ads, we have the technology
to deliver targeted uncomfortable truths to drive
of comfort food.
State of the art: I web-search for "socks", then sock ads
the only thing I see in banner ads. For months.
My idea: I web-search for "socks", then I see a bunch of
explaining that since 30% of people have affairs, and
affairs last for more than a month, the number of times
I'm likely to be cheated on is greater than one, and
nothing I can do about it. Eventually I buy ice cream to
in bed while crying, thinking "we were in luuurve!
State of the art: I get a speeding ticket, then I get
hundreds of letters from lawyers offering to represent
For weeks. Eventually I take a driving class.
My idea: I get a speeding ticket, then I see a bunch of
explaining that intelligence is heritable and my failures
life so far prove I am genetically unfit for jobs that
enable me to afford to raise a happy family without
making terrible tradeoffs between time at work, time
children, and enough money to buy a good education for
the children. Eventually I buy ice cream to eat in bed
crying, thinking "but I'm a niiiice guuuuy! why can't I
State of the art: A popular international magazine
publishes a cover story that is critical of a political
of a politician who the magazine's owners support,
and benefit from. The story affects my vote, and I help
that politician (and indirectly help the magazine's owners
to) gain even more power.
My idea: A mass-mailing sent to me provides clear, well-
researched examples of how I will never be as loved as
various men who are in prison for mass-murder, as shown
by the number of adoring, attractive fans these men
and the steady stream of mail these men get. The mass-
mailing goes on to explain the general principles of how
physical attractiveness, antisocial behavior, and
for risks help people become successful in some fields,
then shames me by calling me entitled and effeminate
feeling sad that mass-murderers and traveling rock
musicians are loved more than engineers. Eventually I
ice cream to eat in bed while crying, "but I designed
of the infrastructure that those scumbags use every day
State of the art: Job boards advertise that I can find a
by replying to the posted listings. I do, and eventually
a better job.
My idea: Job board that lists only "elite" jobs available to
rich, well-connected, socially-gifted people. These jobs
are all "advisory", "board", or "junior executive" roles
intended to provide training and benefits to the job
recipient, not to extract profit from the employee. This
job board also explains how rich people (who live off
investment income) see full-time paid work as
"dishonorable", and also explains that through trusts and
other legal tools rich people are able to keep their
secret from the public enabling them to hide in plain
amongst hard-working people who don't share their
After I realize that I can't apply to any of the jobs on this
"elite" job board, I buy ice cream to eat in bed while
crying, "but this is the land of the freeeeee!"
Ice cream sales would skyrocket if this ad campaign was
introduced. If well-crafted, the messages would spread
virally on their own.