Ever seen this ad?

VeniceThe ad on the left has been choking the New York Times Web site for months now, which can only mean one thing: it must be effective. I’m still trying to figure out why. What is it supposed to mean? The girl in the picture looks to be about 12 years old — maybe 13. Are we supposed to be saving for college because our slutty 12-year-olds show so much academic promise?

Maybe the girl is actually supposed to be college-age. Who knows, these days, with anorexia and all, maybe that’s what college girls look like. So we’re supposed to be saving for college because buying all those kilts and crop-tops in college can get expensive?

Maybe it’s the old misdirection ploy: remember, back in the early days of the Web, you could go to Altavista and look up the top search terms: Pamela Anderson, Alyssa Milano, etc. Then “savvy” Web marketers would put those words in their Web sites to increase their hit counts — because you know if someone’s looking for naked pictures, they must also be interested in hiring a freelance Web designer. Maybe this ad works the same way: the advertiser figures New York Times readers will think the ad links to nude pictures. Then they’ll think to themselves, “Hmmm. No nude photos, but as long as I’m here, I might as well apply for a loan.”

I guess what we’re supposed to do is look at the picture and imagine what would happen to our slutty 12-year-olds if we don’t send them to college. Because as we all know, college is the ultimate refuge from one-night-stands, drugs, and experimentation with homosexuality. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

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