“This is either a real thing, or it’s all in my head. If it’s a real thing, consider this post an exposé that’s blowing the lid off of this new form of subversive advertising.” Thus begins an entertaining, paranoid post by media conspiracy theorist David Friedman (he’s a photographer, actually) on his Ironic Sans blog. Friedman theorizes that instead of planting easily detected fake rah-rah reviews on Amazon.com, companies are now simply mentioning their products in fake reviews of related products. They don’t tout or hype their goods and/or services, but “casually” drop names. He cites this example: “An astonishing number of people who review speaker mounts happened to mention that they bought the mounts for their Onkyo HT-6100 speakers,” and concludes: “Onkyo was never on my radar before. Now I have the impression that a lot of people seem happy with their Onkyo HT-6100.” My first thought after reading this was: David has too much time on his hands. My second thought was that I should place an order with the good folks at Onkyo. Actually, in a world where ads are everywhere, all the time, in increasingly eclectic formats, Friedman might be onto something. Such sly placements could prove most effective. Morgan Spurlock could plant mentions of his latest documentary like so: “POM pomegranate juice was so refreshing when my buddies and I got thirsty watching The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.” Subtle! The fact that the film deals with product placements, and that POM is a sponsor, raises the irony to mind-melting levels (way past Vonnegut on the irony scale … we’re talking Joseph Heller here, people). Keep probing those subversive reviews, Dave Friedman: The truth is out there! Photo via.