Just when I was getting bored of the endless stream of 2012 doomsday hype (tripe), my interest was suddenly reinvigorated when I saw this advertisement:
2012 Calendar Magnet
$2.99 + shipping
Our calendar magnet is a real 2012 calendar. So you can have it on the refrigerator for 3 1/2 years! The calendar magnet is 4.25 inches wide and 5.5 inches long. It is also very clear and easy to read (looks better than the picture above, but is smaller). The shipping cost within the U.S. is $0.79 and for International orders $1.89.
No way. Oh yes. Yes, they did! The most well-known 2012 protagonist website is selling doomsday fridge magnets depicting an Earth plus comet barrelling towards it.
I had to triple-check, just in case this was the doomsday blogging equivalent to Punk’d. No, this is real: fridge magnets.
I haven’t spent a lot of time dredging up the real science beneath the astronomical 2012 doomsday scenarios recently, because I really am scraping the bottom of the barrel. Occasionally, some science pops up, opposing the pseudo-science and lies being spread by a few individuals hoping to cash in on people’s fears, so I write about it (the most recent being the Planet X/Nemesis research). But to be honest, I’m running out of material; there’s only so many doomsday scenarios out there.
That’s not to say 2012 doomsday prophecies are going out of fashion, on the contrary, it’s just that the various End Of The World (EOTW) scenarios are becoming more and more science-lite. Most theories are dispensing with the science all together by focusing on religion and blaming it all on ancient civilizations (those poor Mayans, haven’t they been through enough?), supporting their argument that on December 21st, 2012, the world is going to suffer a cataclysmic KERBLAM!
So, if you’ve been following my “No Doomsday in 2012” articles at the Universe Today (the series now has its own index), you’ll know that the key reason why most of this 2012 doomsday theories have such longevity (predominantly leading to the terribly misinformed Planet X nonsense), is because someone is making some money, either by selling a book or DVD. There’s no more potent marketing technique than profiting from people’s fears.
Which leads me to the point of this post.
Back on December 21st, 2008 (note the date, cheeky isn’t it), I wrote an article debunking the nonsense that had been published on the infamous 2012 comet website (you know the one, there’s probably an ad at the top of this page). Shortly after publishing “2012: No Comet”, the website in question decided (in their infinite wisdom) to issue a statement about my article. Apparently, despite debunking the whole comet theory into the dust, I had missed a vital point… the Bible Code predicted a comet impact and God had something to do with it. Unfortunately, that was game, set and match. They’d won. They trumped my science with religion. As we all know, that never turns out well for logical science argument.
But today, I returned to the site in question (as I noticed they have increased the frequency of the naff animated Google Ads to attract traffic to their redesigned site). What do I see? No, they haven’t started selling a book. Or a DVD. Apart from site advertising, there wasn’t any noticeable means of making money. But then I see it, the mother of all 2012 marketing ploys… fridge magnets!
How bloody awesome is that?
Personally, I thought it was hilarious. Just when I thought the whole 2012 thing was getting a bit lame, they create a fridge magnet. With an equally lame graphic. Plus a disclaimer in the ad to hide the fact that the magnet is… well… lame.
Why in the chuff would you want a mini-calendar of 2012 anyway?
I would include a pic of the ad here, but I don’t want to give anyone the idea that they should buy one (even if it was for comedy value), but I have saved a screenshot of the whole page, just in case they decide to upgrade their marketing strategy (plus a cached version).
Profiting from doomsday hoaxes $2.99 at a time (+shipping).
After all, even doomsayers need to eat, perhaps foretelling doom isn’t as recession-proof as we all thought…
Note: The graphic at the top of this screen is from the superb Flash animation called “The End Of The World” by Fluid. It’s very funny (but NSFW) and well worth watching if you haven’t already seen it.