Thursday, April 21, 2011

On the Other Hand...

Unlike the last post, there is nothing subtle about this disaster. This monstrosity (pun intended) was a "sweepstakes" spot that ran before the movie on the VHS release of Little Monsters starring Fred Savage and Howie Mandel (circa 1990). I put "sweepstakes" in quotation marks because it's really nothing more than a (very) transparent attempt to swindle parents out of money at the hands of their kids. I mean, what kid wouldn't want to call this 900 number? They make it look really fun and cool... and you can win prizes! Oh, sure, kids can enter to win the prizes by mailing in a postcard and all, but what restless kid is going to take the time to do all that when they can get the instant gratification of dialing the phone?

And did you notice how they charged per minute instead of per call? I'm sure once they got kids on the phone, they gave them all kinds of incentives to stay on the line for as loooong as possible. Of course, the chances of MGM's hustle being discovered in most households before the phone bill arrived was next to zero. What self-respecting adult is going to watch this abomination of a movie? And if they do -- if only to be a responsible parent and monitor what their kids are watching -- they would most certainly scan past all of the ads at the beginning of the movie. (Remember, this was before the days of DVDs that could prevent you from skipping the ads.) No, this scam was aimed squarely at the kids who watch and rewatch this movie when their parents aren't around.

If there's one thing that's more reprehensible than people who prey on the naiveté of kids, it's... no, wait... there's nothing more reprehensible than people who prey on the naiveté of kids.

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