Onion Sandwich

Um. Websides is getting kinda serious. Apologies all around. I promise WE PROMISE to make it fun and lighthearted for all three of you reading. In fact, the websides staff promises to make you smile tomorrow. Its a guarantee.

Until then, Murder is off on a rant about the new ONN (Onion News Network)

Viral videos were at one point seen as content that you could advertise around, right? Like a TV show has commercial breaks, this meant, on the simplest level, plugging Adsense around the video box itself or selling banner ad space across the top of a video's page. It was there, but it was inherently separate.

But in this case, rather than separating the advertisement from the content, the advertisement has become the content. Of course, the easy answer is to say that incorporating the ad into the video makes it more in your face, and that's why I feel so strangely probed afterwards. But it's more than that. What I'm saying is there's practically no way to distinguish the two.

Look at the similarities between the Dewar's content and the Onion content. While the Onion satirizes a modern newscast, the Dewar's ad appeals to nostalgia and satirizes the silent-film era newsreel. Both take a completely sarcastic tone and use it as a medium for humor. The difference is that that is what the Onion does, while what Dewar's does is sell whiskey. Sandwiching the Onion content between the Dewar's content is brilliant as well, because while the Onion content is longer continuously, by the end of the video there's been just as much time devoted to both.

But the Dewar's ad content, humorous, engaging, and ultimately effective as it is, could not survive without the Onion content. By attaching itself to "real" internet video content and replicating itself after it, it becomes more than an advertisement, it becomes the video content. The two are now indistinguishable. The advertising is doing more than selling a product, it is trying to sell itself as something more than just an advertisement, and that's what's so brilliant/scary.

Sandwiching the Onion content between the Dewar's content does more that hide the fact that you're watching both for an almost equal amount of time, it ends up creating the underlying feeling that it's the Onion content that is out of place. Instead of noticing a Dewar's ad in the middle of an Onion news segment, I'm noticing an Onion news segment in the middle of a Dewar's ad.

Who's thirsty with me?

- Murder

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