About the Evils of Advertising

10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Evils of Advertising, with Carrie McLaren and Jason Torchinsky
12:20 pm Friday Jun 26, 2009
by Heather Schwedel
In celebration of the release of Ad Nauseam: A Survivor’s Guide to American Consumer Culture, we talked to editors Carrie McLaren and Jason Torchinsky, best known for their contributions to Stay Free!, the magazine and blog that pour haterade on America’s love affair with advertising. We came away with ten salient nuggets, including the duo’s current picks for dumbest ads, and why they just aren’t that into Mad Men.

1. Stay Free! started in McLaren’s college days at UNC as an indie music zine, and yes, it’s named after the maxi pads. McLaren decided to refocus on critiques of consumer culture when she heard about a particularly egregious use of advertising: Girl Scouts were selling space on their sashes (previously reserved for wholesome, ad-free merit badges!) for ad money.

2. McLaren and Torchinsky think using Volkswagens as a standard of measurement is a sign of the apocalypse. Have you not heard of this particular metric? Trust us, it’s out there: one of the essays McLaren and Torchinsky included in Ad Nauseam enumerates dozens of examples of everyone from scientists — trained in the scientific method and significant figures and all that! — to layfolk describing objects as “about the size of a VW bug.” A few such objects include: a 720 pig, debris from the Mir space station, and a computer disc drive circa 1979. Continuar lendo