The Details

While standing at the Jarvis red line stop this morning, on my way to my place of employment, I noticed this ad:

Newspaper ad
Taken with a crappy iPhone camera...I should really start carrying a real camera with me.

This was an ad for The Courier Journal I believe, I don't remember; it was one of those big newspaper companies. At first, I liked the image. Using random, disjointed stock newsprint as a background texture is a style/technique that's always appealed to me; I've always like the gritty, chaotic mood it conveys. I liked the pop of the blue and how the message type is placed in varying sizes and angles, theoretically to match the style of the newsprint background. However, upon closer inspection, I couldn't help but notice this:

Newspaper ad fail

Although it's probably blatantly obvious what I'm referring to, I'll go ahead and spell it out: In the bottom right-hand corner of the gun handle, used twice, is a newspaper clipping with the headline, "It's official-'Octomom' now a legitimate word".

This is a problem for me.

Why the hell is there anything Octomom-related in an image focused on gun-related urban violence? Twice? And if the designer was so short on stock newsprint (which I doubt), why put both duplicates of the same clipping so close together? Yes, I understand that the clipping was simply used as a background texture and that if one were to peruse the rest of the image, they'd find that the rest of the newsprint wasn't necessarily related to the theme either, but it's still a problem.

The designer, whoever it was, had a vast supply of newsprint stock to work with, and not only did they use a clipping containing a giant-ass headline about bloody Octomom and how that...thing is now not only a pollutant to our culture, but our social lexicon, but they use it twice and place both duplicates right next to each other to make them stand out more. They could have just gone with a different clipping. Hell, they could have used the body of the Octomom piece with the headline removed. But they didn't.

Why didn't they? If I had to guess, I'd say it's because they assumed that since the newsprint was nothing more that a background texture, then the contents of the newsprint was irrelevant. Normally, they may be right, but since the Octomom headline is so prominent it becomes a problem.

Why is it a problem? Because now when I look at that ad, I'm not thinking about gun-violence, and I'm definitely not thinking about buying a paper from whatever company commissioned this ad. Instead, I'm thinking about Nadya Suleman, her mutant fallopian tubes, and her ever-growing army of neglected podspawn.

Then again, maybe the whole thing is intentional. Maybe there's some unconscious/subliminal juju going on. After all, the bit about Octomom is surprisingly close to "a cry for help".