Someone Oughta Have Earl’s People Look Up “Karma”

earl1.jpgI wish I could show you the before picture of the print ad for the new series My Name Is Earl that can be found in the current issue of Entertainment Weekly, but it just had to be destroyed.

Personally, I’m a fan of Jason Lee and perhaps his new show will rock enough to get me to tune in and/or Tivo it. But I seriously doubt it. Especially after having my page-flipping Sunday evening solitude so entirely disrupted when I came to this ad and turned past it only to jump at the loud sound of Jason’s voice coming from straight outta nowhere and telling me “My name is Earl! Do good things and good things will happen to you! It’s called Karma!” I quickly ascertained that the voice was not from inside my head but rather inside the page via a small speaker wired to a small pressure sensitive circuit board embedded in it. My first thought was “cute” followed by “man that’s a lotta dough and a hard sell,” and one that I wasn’t buying.

Trouble was when I turned the next page Jason piped up again. “My name is Earl! Do good things and good things will happen to you. It’s called Karma!” And again with the next page. And again. After the fourth “My name is Earl” I backtracked to the offending page ripped it out of the mag and then tore the guts out of it (pictured after the jump) to shut good ol’ Jason the fuck up and that’s where my true flabbergast set in.

earl2.jpgSure there’s the tinny sounding little speaker and the circuit board as I’d suspected, but I had to blink when I counted the power source as being not one, not two, but three G10-A CNB Micro Cell batteries used to power calculators and other small electronic devices ó such as circuit boards for annoying ad campaigns.

Now I’m not sure what EW’s monthly publication run is, but I’d bet it’s into the millions and most people are gonna read it, come across the ad, maybe freak out the person sitting across from them on the bus or in the waiting room when Jason launches unannounced into his little speech, and (barring those that are tossed into a recycle bin) ultimately every one of these issues and its three little power cells are going to wind up in landfills and trash dumps all over this country ó all for the sake of pushing a show that may potentially be yanked off the air in a matter of weeks. For a series that’s all about Karma this ain’t no good thing.

And for the record I’ll be taking my three batteries into work where there’s a battery recycling station.

19 Replies to “Someone Oughta Have Earl’s People Look Up “Karma””

  1. He totally scared me, too! I hope this doesn’t become a regular feature in EW advertising, because I prefer my magazines quiet (and mercury free).

  2. That thing scared the crap out of me when I got it in the mail on Thursday. I thought it was the DVD that made it so thick, then I turn to this ad and AUUGH!

  3. I was downloading the new “autumn” themed bejeweled game on MSN in another window while I was reading your post. Suddenly I heard booming through my speakers, while I was reading the info on the jump page in your post… “MY NAME IS EARL!” No shit. I thought you had put it on the jump page. Nope. Just a lame ad MSN piped in while I was waiting for my game to load. Yikes. This show better be a hit or some heads are gonna roll, huh?

  4. I received entirely too much joy out of the “My Name is Earl” ad. It is freaking amazing. I have the guts with me all the time. It freaks people out. No one knows where the voice is coming from. I’m going to use it in my next rap song too… wait… Eminem already did the “My name is…” thing huh?

  5. It’s not only Earl that is being advertised this way. I found an ad for Supernatural in a magazine that also had this same set up. The supernatural ad also had the bonus item of two tiny leds that were used as headlights for a car in the ad. After a couple of plays of the ad, I ripped open the ad to check out the insides. I found the same set up as above plus the two leds. I thought about the things I may be able to do with this device, but in the end, I just took out the batteries and through the rest away. I then used the batteries in an old calculator of mine that had been dead for a few months.

  6. Serious, I almost had a heart attack when that thing opened up. I jumped 10 feet and dropped the damn magazine…only to have to have to cautiously approach, waiting for jason lee to jump out of the pages and attack me until I cry and cower, promising to watch the damn show.

  7. i had the exact same experience this weekend. i ended up tearing apart the page, throwing the microchip against the wall, and vowing never to watch My Name is Earl.

  8. A similar ad for the show Supernatural scared the crap out me when I opened up my new issue of Rolling Stone. That one lights up too. Lights. Not cool when I was alone in the house and I hear the sound of a car starting when I open an innocent magazine.

  9. I did the same exact thing to mine just this morning! Tore that sucker apart! The guts are also now sitting on my dining room table awaiting a trip to the recycling center. What a waste…

  10. This must be a West Coast feature. I’m in Philly and all I got was a DVD with the first episode of “Everybody Hates Chris” and a set of “Lost” trading cards (collect all 21!). I don’t think there was a single “Earl” ad in there.

  11. I thought both inserts were awesome. Scared you? That’s ridiculous. I give both networks credit for exploring new advertising methods. We all know that ads are being ignored and these networks need to find some way to promote their shows.

  12. I am SO glad I found this thread, I thought I was the only one who innocently opened my EW this weekend only to have the living Jeebus scared out of me by a hick voiced Jason Lee. I had a beer in my hand and it spooked me so bad I screamed, dropped the beer, then cursed NBC and thought of ways I can get back at NBC for causing me to both spill my beer and stain my carpet in the process. A nice peaceful Sunday interupted in such an ugly way. Thanks a lot NBC. You owe me a goddamn Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and a steam job on my carpet. Oh, and Earl could be the best show on the planet and I’ll NEVER watch it thanks to that annoying ploy.

  13. If battery-powered obtrusive overkill is “awesome” to you Brett, to each his own.

    But for your info this ad method you’re so enthralled with is not at all new. I have a 16-year-old copy of the long-dead L.A. Style magazine that I’ve kept only because within it is a marvelous Absolut vokda ad with illustrations of several endangered species. In the top corner of the page is a tab that reads “please lift to hear a special message” (giving the reader the OPTION of listening that Earl’s ad certainly doesn’t). And when you do lift the tab it releases a button and a voice beckons you to join Absolut in increasing your awareness of the importance of all creatures on this planet. Plus it still plays after all these years and it didn’t need three calculator batteries to power it.

  14. Re: your comment at the end about how wasteful this is for one dumb show: Right now in NYC there is a “guerilla” marketing campaign where people spray-paint “did you see the lights?” on the sides of buildings! [advertising ABC’s “invasion”] First of all, AS IF anyone is so excited about some shitty ABC series that they’re legitimately creating graffiti about it… Secondly, defacing property to advertise some shitty ABC “Independence Day” rip-off series? It all enrages me. GRRRR!

  15. Didn’t see the EW ad. However, “My Name is Earl” is a terrific show. You’ll laugh non-stop from start to finish. Intelligent comedy in a hillbilly themed package. A must see.

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