Monday, March 25, 2013

Maybe this ironic contextual ad placement is a good thing

This was supposed to be a post about something else. Over the weekend, Twitter user @mazface posted  a picture of a card for sale at a British Halmark store that seemingly ripped off the sexist "demotivator" parody poster above.

The Demotivators meme has been around for years. A company called Despair Inc. sells hilarious parodies of those cliché motivational posters that showed up in offices and gyms back in the '90s. It's a very old joke, but for a decade or so Despair Inc. has also allowed users to make their own demotivational posters using a generator app. Just like with meme generators, by giving anyone the ability to create professional-looking captioned images online, it has become a default medium for making and sharing jokes of varying quality.

So anyway, if Hallmark is selling cards printed with a stolen, sexist, and rather weak joke, that's shameful. But let's get back to the screencap at the top for 500Motivators, which came up in a Google search for the source image.

Because I Am A Girl is a global campaign to promote gender equality in the developing world by supporting the provision of education and resources to girls in need. I really like this cause. I've written about their Canadian ad campaigns, and my son sponsors a girl through the program. 

The fact that BIAAG Canada's Google ad was served up on this site isn't particularly remarkable. But that it appeared above this particular image is.

You could call it a contextual "fail" —  I won't. The internet is full of this garbage. But seeing an ad for a girl-positive movement in such a space reminds me of activists and social workers who brave wretched hives of scum and villainy to provide a positive message of hope. 

Girls are the answer. Not only to poverty, but also to the internet's obsession with women as sex objects.

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