NBC tests sanity with pretzel-like ‘Earl’ ads

If you want a glimpse into the mind-numbing, soul-crushing future of advertising, look no further than this bizarre promotion for NBC’s My Name Is Earl. Or is it for esurance? Or the new Speed Racer movie? It’s like one of those Russian dolls. Let me explain: First, there’s this banner ad on MSNBC. It offers to catch you up on the plot of My Name Is Earl with a summary by NBC president Jeff Zucker. That would be strange enough, except the NBC promotion is also “brought to you by esurance.” Clicking on the banner directs you to a pre-roll video for esurance, but the ad actually focuses on the insurance company’s tie-in with Speed Racer. After the pre-roll, you finally get to see the promotion you wanted to see. But guess what? Zucker starts off by showing you an esurance ad on his monitor! This fantastically pointless pig-pile of marketing doesn’t make me want to watch Earl, or buy insurance, or go see Speed Racer. It makes me want to throw Zucker in an alley with Roddy Piper and a pair of sunglasses.

—Posted by David Griner