Disastrous commercial

By Phil Plait | August 28, 2009 11:03 am

So I’m watching some TV for the first time in a while (man, watching "They Live" was cathartic), and a commercial comes on. It’s a peculiar mix of one of those feel-good pharmaceutical ads showing people being happy and all together with nonsense about the end of the world in 2012. The ad is from the IHC: the Institute of Human Continuity.

It is a very slick ad, and the IHC website is also very well done.

The thing is: it’s made up. Fiction. It’s viral advertising for the movie 2012 which comes out later this year. I’ve been getting tons of mails from people who have seen this commercial and asked what’s up with it. A lot of folks got it, but many didn’t.

I love movies, and I love disaster movies, and I even love bad over the top ridiculous disaster movies. And at some level I don’t mind Hollywood making a 2012 movie because it’s just another topic tailor-made for Irwin Allenification… but this commercial makes me unhappy.

First and foremost: the 2012 doomsayers are full of crap. Pretty much every single thing they claim is complete and utter garbage. The Mayan calendar does not end in 2012. The Sun’s flare cycle does not peak in 2012. There is no special Galactic Alignment in 2012. There is no such thing as the giant planet Nibiru. Etc., etc. The people promoting this garbage are either self-deluded, or they are con artists trying to bilk people out of money by scaring them to death, a time-honored tradition among the dishonorable. But people are really getting scared about this bilge — and a lot of them are kids who don’t yet have the critical thinking skills to be able to see through all this.

And that’s why I don’t like this ad. The only sign that it’s a viral commercial for a movie is at the very beginning when, for a fraction of a second, the Columbia Pictures logo is flashed onscreen. On the IHC website it’s at the very bottom, in teeny tiny letters, saying that the site is copyright Sony Pictures.

In other words, the ad plays up on the fears of the 2012-pushers, essentially fear-mongering itself.

Again, I have no problems with realistic movie ads in general, as long as it’s clear it’s about a movie. This commercial hides that as much as it can, and it’s designed to play up on fears.

I’m still interested in seeing the movie — and I wonder if it may actually dispel 2012 fear-baiting because it will be so ridiculously over-the-top — but I hope they stop advertising it in this way.

[P.S. The building in the ad looks familiar. Does anyone recognize it?]

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Debunking, Piece of mind

Comments (110)

  1. [P.S. The building in the ad looks familiar. Does anyone recognize it?]

    It’s London City Hall, isn’t it? That’s a cool building…

  2. T.E.L.

    The Columbia Pictures logo at the very start should be enough to give it away- unless Columbia has gotten into the saving-the-world business.

  3. John Powell

    To be fair, the ad also has a “This Film has not yet been rated” subscript at the end. I don’t think my kids would be fooled into thinking this was anything but a movie ad.

  4. Greg

    Wait! What? There’s a giant rogue planet called Nibiru? And it doesn’t exist? Why haven’t I been told of this before?!?!

  5. Ron

    What if The Rapture happens before 2012? What will happen to the pets left behind when all those Christians get raptured? Wonder no more: http://eternal-earthbound-pets.com/Home_Page.html

  6. And just to weigh in on the previous question, I really don’t see what’s so bad about this marketing campaign. It’s cute, it’s clever, and it should be rather blatantly obvious to anyone with even rudimentary neurotransmitting skills that it’s a movie teaser rather than an actual advertisement for an actual organization saving humanity from an actual disaster.

    Are people going to get fooled by it? Sure. There will always be idiots who believe they can fly because they put on a red cape, or that radioactive spiders will give them super-strength, or that there are blair witches in the woods of suburban Maryland. Stupid people will believe stupid things – always have, always will. But that doesn’t mean everything should be dumbed-down to the lowest common denominator, does it?

  7. Paul

    Do you think it will top Armageddon? One can only hope.

  8. Ken

    “2012″ is by Roland Emmerich, so you speak truly when you say “Irwin Allenification”. The open question is whether Emmerich believes in the 2012 nonsense in any way, or is just pulling together random junk to serve as a background for CGI explosions and a doomed love triangle.

    By the way, hadn’t heard Nibiru tied in with 2012, but it doesn’t surprise me. May I recommend Jason Colavito’s “The Cult of Alien Gods: H.P. Lovecraft and Extraterrestrial Pop Culture” for a kind of fun sociological analysis? He argues, pretty convincingly, that the big names in the early pseudo-archaeological ancient astronauts movement were heavily influenced by HPL – after all, Cthulhu is a space alien, in Lovecraft’s stories.

  9. tacitus

    I will be interesting to see what date the doomsayers will start using once 2012 is in the past. The odds are that it will be between 2020 and 2025 — far enough away to develop a scary scenario, but not too far away that people won’t be scared enough.

  10. I have four words for you: “War of the Worlds”

    One more word: “sheeple”

    Also: “Unix 2038: The End”

  11. Honestly, I find myself wishing we had an institute that was ready for any kind of global disaster with that level of preparation and flashy website goodness.

  12. Todd

    @toasterhead, yes – that’s London City Hall.

  13. Ron

    @ #7. I’ll bet some of them will focus on Apophis in 2029, but I also look for them to make up another date like they made up 2012. This link mentions some future dates of doom as well as past failed predictions. http://www.abhota.info/

  14. You’re taking this way too seriously. 2012 nonsense is nearly harmless, unlike anti-vax or homeopathic or chiropractic nonsense.

  15. I know the key folks behind this film…they know it’s not true – it’s just a disaster film a la “When Worlds Collide.” They are some smart Germans who love flicks like that. Of course, the gullible public is a whole other story. For example, while working on this film, one of the receptionists became absolutely convinced it was all real. I swear, people just “want to believe too much.”

  16. tacitus

    “Unix 2038″ is certainly a candidate, but it’s too far off to be of much use to the doomsayers. They need a more immediate thread to scare the crap out of people enough for them to start buying their woo.

  17. Paul

    Reminds me of the Starship Troopers ads…. “Would you like to know more?”

  18. Bill Nettles

    FICTION? You’ve got to be kidding. You mean that I don’t need to hold on to my reservations for the campsite at Devil’s Mesa? Spielberg’s spaceships won’t be picking us up there? All those numbers that the little girl in”Knowing” scribbled out are meaningless? Wow.

    That means we have more than 2 years to finish the Mars colony, right?

  19. 7. Dennis Says:
    August 28th, 2009 at 11:34 am

    I have four words for you: “War of the Worlds”

    One more word: “sheeple”
    ____________

    Though to be fair, there are some good logical explanations for some of the panic caused by the first War of the Worlds broadcast (the people who rioted in Quito and Buffalo really have no excuse, sorry).

    On the night of the broadcast, the majority of the New York market was listening to the extremely popular Chase and Sanborn Hour – Orson Welles’ show wasn’t very popular. People only started switching to CBS after a not-so-popular band came on the Chase and Sanborn show, long after CBS had run the initial announcement that this was a radio play and not an actual news broadcast.

    The other thing to keep in mind is that in 1938, radio was still in its adolescence and the “Breaking News” bulletin was a new invention, and it was being used primarily to transmit developments about the growing war in Europe. A rather large number of people who had participated in the panicking assumed that it was Germans invading, not aliens.

    So you really can’t compare the two. We’re much more smart and sophisticated now, right? Right?

  20. Duane

    Isn’t it interesting that during the “a lottery will be held to make sure all have a chance to survive” montage, only white people are shown?

    Hmm. Innnnterrrrresssstttting.

    BTW, that should be your first clue the whole thing is a shuck.

  21. Darth Curt

    I saw that commercial last night, and I thought to myself, “I can’t wait to see what the BA has to say about this.”

    Thanks for blogging, Phil! I don’t always agree with you, but I do love the anti-anti-vax stuff, the outer space stuff, and the movie reviews. Keep doing what you do.

  22. Harmless? I dunno. I’m giving some lectures next month on a cruise ship and I was asked to include something about the Mayans and 2012. Now I have more fodder! ;)

  23. Krissa

    Good point about kids seeing this stuff. Not cool.

  24. CGM3

    In his book, “Lost Continents”, L. Sprague de Camp devoted a chapter to the numerous books and stories concerning Atlantis and similar lost continents, closing with the notation that just about every conceivable variation had been written EXCEPT one in which there were NO lost continents. If only “2012″ would be a movie about a “foreseen” disaster which does not come to pass after all…

  25. Brain.wav

    Sorry, Phil, but any site that requires Flash to do ANYTHING is not “slick.”

  26. Merijn

    As an aside, I would love it when the sun will come back alive again yielding pretty pictures. It’s boring as hell being a follower of spaceweather at the moment :-)

  27. Jeremy

    I don’t know. Anyone fooled by this (and they’d have to be pretty stupid, considering the “this film is not yet rated” bit at the end of the trailer) is liable to learn a little something from the fact that it’s a movie ad, I’d think. They’ll be that much harder to sell on 2012 nonsense having been burnt by it once, and it may serve as a rudimentary lesson in critical thinking. I don’t see the harm, honestly, since the movie is coming out long before the “actual” 2012 hysteria will be reaching the kinds of peaks that could actually be dangerous to people.

  28. Whitney

    I saw that commercial last night. It really ticked me off because a few months ago my stepsister called me insisting that I get on the internet and go to the IHC website and sign her and her son up for the “lottery” thing. She thought it was real. Even after I tried explaining that it wasn’t real she still insisted I sign her up anyway, “Just in Case.”

    Of course she heard about the website and was told that it was real by her boyfriend of the time, and he’s a marine, so of course he “knows” about things like this.

    *headdesk*

    Things like this really do cause damage and unnecessary panic. I really wish they would be more open about the fact that it’s an ADVERTISEMENT.

  29. MP

    I am as annoyed by the 2012 crowd as anyone else, but I think that really this movie will be a net positive. First, it turns the 2012 promoters into viral marketers for the movie. I think they will resent this and stop some of the nonsense. Second, I don’t think anyone will be able to take 2012 nonsense seriously by the time the movie comes out. Any (okay, most) attempts to spread the 2012 gospel will be met with “you mean the movie? That’s fiction you know.”

  30. bigjohn756

    @Duane
    Thanks, I learned a new word today. Shuck. It’s usually used in the plural, so, you could also have said ‘the whole thing is shucks’. And, here I thought I couldn’t get any smarter.

    @Brain.wav
    You might as well get used to Flash. It’s become ubiquitous. Like it or not, you’re stuck with it.

  31. gruebait

    “The Mayan calendar does not end in 2012.”

    Wait, what!? srsly?

    Actually, I thought it did, for this cycle. Of course my calendar for August also ends.

  32. quartine

    well all i got to say is the world is going to end at some point smoke a doob and get over it…

  33. Mary Peed

    I was amused by it. I saw a commercial during Star Wars the other night and went to the web site. Found the copyright notice and realized it was a movie… I thought it was very effective, as it made me look (even posted to a friends list that said “Made me look”) and I don’t tend to pay attention to most movie trailers.

  34. SleepNeed

    Phil,

    I hate to tell you but this is Hollywood we are dealing with, if anything this will build hysteria!

  35. Chris

    2012 doomsayers misunderstand what the date on the Mayan calendar means: It means this current cycle of Mayan existence ends and another begins. A new cycle. It doesn’t mean the end of the world. In Mayan myth, this current cycle began when the Maya emerged from the caves their gods had put in them in.

  36. 24. Chris Says:
    August 28th, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    2012 doomsayers misunderstand what the date on the Mayan calendar means: It means this current cycle of Mayan existence ends and another begins. A new cycle. It doesn’t mean the end of the world.
    _____________

    I also don’t understand why they place so much emphasis on the predictive ability of this calendar. If it were really that good at predicting the future, wouldn’t the Mayans have come up with a smallpox vaccine before the Spanish invaded?

  37. Mailman

    I first saw this ad on the Discovery Channel. During Mythbusters.

    It was like a real-life inappropriate Google ad.

  38. Kevin

    One of my co-workers was telling me yesterday that she believes that the world will end in 2012… I was having the hardest time not laughing at her.

  39. rodrigo

    By the way, that is not the Mayan calendar at the beginning… that is the AZTEC calendar or Sun Stone. So an F for astronomy, physics and also anthropology and social sciences!!!

  40. Duane

    @BigJohn756, thanks, man! It’s actually a cropping of the term “shuck and jive.”
    ps. The definition of intelligence is willingness to learn new things.

  41. Stan9FOS

    I’m always intrigued by those who travel to Central America to show us an example of the Mayan calendar, which so obviously describes the end of civilization, while standing in – wait for it – the ruins of the Mayan civilization. Hmmm…

  42. Brian

    But people are really getting scared about this bilge — and a lot of them are kids who don’t yet have the critical thinking skills to be able to see through all this.

    I’m sympathetic to your point, Phil. But on the other hand, I could argue that kids are exactly the ones who should be getting exposed to these commercials. I mean, this is part of how you develop your critical thinking skills: by being exposed to slick, persuasive bilge water, and then being shown that it is, in fact, bilge water. (The third part, examining what happened and understanding why you got sucked in, is of course the most important part, and this commercial won’t help with that. But you can only lead a horse to bilge water.) Yes, they’re young; they haven’t developed their critical thinking skills. On the other hand: they’re young, so they still have a chance to do so before they’re adults.

  43. The first time I saw it, a big “WTF?” was running through my head. It wasn’t until I saw the small “this movie is not yet rated” disclaimer at the end that I realized it was a spoof ad for the movie. (The sign of a good spoof is that it’s just on the right side of “crossing the line” to being blatantly obvious.)

  44. Bill Ringo

    If there were youtube when Starship Trooper came out I’m sure we’d have been subject to the same sort of thing. Science fiction allows us to suspend belief and even lightly trample on the short hairs of physics. I mean, come on, parallel universes. Sheesh….

  45. 14. toasterhead Says:
    1938
    _____________

    1938 -> 2038, Coincidence? I think not.

    15. Duane Says:
    only white people are shown
    _____________

    They were Photoshopped by Microsoft.

  46. Mike

    Yea I saw that add the other day, I didn’t notice the columbia thing before hand, but I did see the [this film is not yet rated] thing at the end. Either way, never occured to me that anyone would view the ad as anything but a movie.

    District 9 recently used the same form of advertising, by having commercials for their fictional company that does whatever they do with aliens. (I haven’t seen District 9 yet, don’t ruin it for me)

  47. Kevin:

    One of my co-workers believes that the world will end in 2012… I was having the hardest time not laughing at her.

    Does she own a house? Buy it from her for $500 with the contract stating that you take possession on 1-Jan-2013.

    Just make sure to have things properly notarized and filed. (That, and that she is still responsible for the mortgage, taxes, and so on, until you take possession.)

  48. I’m going to have to agree with most of the posters above — I don’t have any problem with this ad. It’s pretty obvious to me that this is for a movie — the Columbia Pictures logo is very visible, as is the “This Film Is Not Yet Rated” and Columbia Pics logo at the back end. I agree that the website is a little slicker, but how else are people being driven to the website except through the commercial/trailers? The campaign is similiar to the sites that were set up for District 9, and I think those are genius.

  49. Kevin

    @Ken B:

    Nah, by then I’ll be hopefully in a different area than I am now – I wouldn’t want a house back here in DC (sucks here.)

    However, I am going to make plans for a Dec. 22 get-together in the year 2012. I’ll call it my ‘End of the World Party!’ Now if only I could get R.E.M. to come play… that would be appropriate. (Whoops – Band recognition fail)

  50. JoeSmithCA

    I still think the 2012 trailer spoof does a better job of attracting interest to the movie. :)

    I personally predict the end of the world will happen within the next 10^999,999,999,999,999 years.

  51. Sarcastro

    But… but… Terrance McKenna’s Timewave Zero theory proves it with The Maths!

    Math based on the I Ching, but math nonetheless…

  52. Heidi

    Even the Mayan “experts” and researchers who believe the Mayan 2012 “prophecy” don’t think the world will end; they believe it will be an event that changes the way we interact, live, etc. It’s still bunk, but at least they’re trying, like the Creationists…

  53. I work in the building on the right hand edge of the shot. As previous commenters have said the round building is City Hall in London.

  54. Joe Meils

    Every few years, there is a hoax or urban legend that doomsayers latch onto… there was “War of the Worlds” of 1938 (the radio play, not the movie or book) the great planetary alighment in the 1980′s, and there was the Y2K bug just a few years back.* Now we have the 2012 nonsense.

    I hope, if anything good should come of this, it’s that yet another generation learns to not be so gullible.

    *I know a guy in Denver who STILL has cans of cahews in his basement that he’d stockpiled as “survival food” for after everything fell apart on Jan. 1st of 2001. I think he sank almost $2k into “getting ready.” Putz.

  55. JeffS

    Man, I watched the same movie as Phil. I have to say, you have have excellent taste in entertainment.

    … and I’m all out of bubble gum

  56. Cory

    Lol, if anyone believes this is real, they’re idiots. “Lowest common denominator”-safe media and advertising is a dangerous direction to head (even if the movie itself is a good example of it).

  57. MadScientist

    I think the movie deserves an internet campaign to boycott it. I wouldn’t watch the movie if I were paid to.

  58. Greg

    (please delete)

  59. Thorne

    I saw this commercial on the tube this morning. The Columbia logo slipped past me. I looked up when I heard “Mayan calendar.” I watched the damned thing with my mouth open. Then I missed the ratings notice because I turned to my wife and said, “What the F**K was THAT!”

    Thirty minutes later I was here and voila! Thanks, Phil.

    I also had someone tell me they were worried about all the 2012 crap. I told her not to worry. The odds of the world ending in 2012 were far, far lower than the odds of her getting killed in a car wreck before then. That seemed to calm her down. ;)

  60. Michelle

    …Huh. It IS very slick. I hadn’t noticed the Columbia logo until you mentioned it in the article.

  61. AJ

    According to the IHC site, the solar system will be at the centre of the galaxy (the ‘Great Alignment’) in 2012.

    Interesting… hadn’t heard that particular stupid before.

    We’d really have to get a move on to do that. Anyone invented a planet-sized warp drive yet? :-D

  62. I, too, have no trouble with this. Columbia lady at the head, “this film not yet rated” at the tail.

    Furthermore, as a couple of posters above have suggested, I am all for the incredulous, ill-educated nincompoops of the world getting suckered out of houses, cars, large sums of cash, children, whatever…if they buy into this crap. Serves ‘em right. Maybe they’ll learn to use their brains.

    My only regret will be the inevitable news story about some poor kid who gets poisoned or shot or otherwise offed by an idiot of a parent who “doesn’t want him to go through all that.” I’d vote for pre-emptive parenticide, but the red tape would be horrendous.

  63. Mike

    I thought this was amusing when I first saw it. It took me on a roller-coaster ride of emotions. At first I thought “what the hell is this crap?” with the introduction that in 2012 there is going to be a disaster. Then I thought “you’ve got to be kidding..” when my mind crept toward the idea that this might be an actual ad of a monstrously mislead group of people. Then it hit me: that movie is coming out soon.

    I’m definitely seeing the movie by the way. Yeah it’s a bunch of phooey, but I love disaster porn! I just hope the director has figured out that no one wants to see the actors struggle through pitiful, boring dialogue and just gives us wall-to-wall disaster! Rolling buildings! Surfing airplane! Flying Bentley?! Why not!

  64. Keith

    Phil, thank you for commenting on this. I was hoping you would, and figured it wouldn’t be long before you did.

    I agree that this is dangerous for people already inclined to believe in the non-existent cataclysm that’s coming. The commercial and website state things that are more inaccurate than a cross-eyed marksman with Parkinson’s disease and a rifle with misaligned sights. We, the BA readers, know better. But Joe Average American sitting on his couch seeing the commercial for the first time might not.

    If any unwarranted mass panic happens on Dec. 23, 2012, I think the prominent 2012 proponents and the makers of this film should be held civilly and criminally liable for any and all damages and loss of life.

  65. @AJ #62 – I was at a work event and during the social gathering part, someone I was supposed to “make nice” with, told me the same thing about the earth moving to the center of the galaxy. Only he said “center of the Universe.” When I explained to him that there is no “center of the Universe” and the reasons why not, and then starting to launch into the way that the Bg Bang works, he interrupted me and said “But the universe they showed has spiral arms.”

    I said, “Oh, you mean the center of the galaxy.” He said that the earth is going to rush to the black hole at the center of the galaxy in 2012. I asked if he knows that the solar system is 26,000 ly from the center of the galaxy, and how he expected the earth to travel that far that fast.

    He changed the subject.

  66. alfaniner

    @#55 “*I know a guy in Denver who STILL has cans of cahews in his basement that he’d stockpiled as “survival food” for after everything fell apart on Jan. 1st of 2001. I think he sank almost $2k into “getting ready.” Putz.”

    If that was the Y2K date he was preparing for then he’s probably twice as dumb as you think.

    Not having paid 100% attention to the ad, it alarmed me enough to check out the website. Sometimes a well-done parody is indistinguishable from the real thing.

  67. coolstar

    I thought this was a very good ad for what is certainly going to be a very bad movie. A movie no more or less ridiculous than a lot of movies that Phil apparently likes. And it reminded me of the fake ads in “Starship Troopers” also, as well as local car dealership ads during “cash for clunkers” where the narrator was pretending to be a newsreader. Yes, the 2012 bilge is annoying, but a teacher could hardly ask for a better jump off point either. As others have mentioned, the net result of 2012 crap is likely to be a plus for people’s critical thinking skills (think Shrub presidency but with MUCH lower consequences).

  68. DenverAstro

    You people have this whole thing all wrong. The world IS going to end but not in 2012. That is the year the real Silver Surfer will show up to prepare us for the arrival of the Great Destroyer, Galactus, in 2013. THAT’s when we all need to put our heads between our legs and…well, you know.
    I got this information from Dick Cheney so you KNOW we can count on it as TRUE! cough, snicker
    >:o)

  69. Steve Morrison

    @bigjohn756:

    Flash is now ubiquitous, and we’re stuck with it? Oh noes! The world really is coming to an end!!

    [/me sells worldly possessions and waits on a hill for the coming Apocalypse]

  70. Mike Wagner

    For those wondering about Emmerich’s motivations.
    He wants to make a kick ass disaster movie. That’s it.
    He’s stated he doesn’t believe in the 2012 nonsense, but if you’re going to make a disaster movie there really isn’t a better time to do it.
    Though I won’t be surprised if we get a meteor movie out of him just prior to 2029, if nothing else big is found to be passing.

  71. Scott

    Man… I like your blog but..

    EVERYTHING FICTION IS FULL OF CRAP. THAT IS WHY IT IS FICTION.

    Either suspend your disbelief (aka good sense) and enjoy the fantasy or ignore it.

  72. Jeremy

    The notion that this movie promotes the 2012 nonsense couldn’t be any more absurd. I can think of no better way to undermine a stupid idea than by making a preposterous disaster movie out of it. Some of the posters here have badly misplaced hostility. Blame the people profiting off of claiming this nonsense is real, not the ones making over-the-top movies about crazy end of the world fantasies.

  73. IVAN3MAN AT LARGE

    Over 70 comments already and nobody has spotted this…

    Phil Plait:

    This commercial hides that as much as it can, and its designed to play up on fears.

    That should be it’s (it is), not “its”. ;-)

  74. Jen

    I am amazed this commercial is even allowed on the discovery channel. I have to give them two thumbs up for scaring the crap out of the kids who don’t realize this is a movie add, and quite honestly I didn’t know it was an add until I read this. It is irresponsible of them to run it in my opinion. Anyone remember when “the war of the worlds” was on the radio and people were sent into mass panic? This add will probably do the same. Pretty dissapointed in Discover, expect better from them.

  75. Plutonium being from Pluto

    Witghout reading any comments on the familiar building (or anything else) my guess :

    Was that building from a Star Trek thing – maybe the Federation HQ as portrayed in Movie IV ‘The Voyage Home? (The whales one.)

    Now to scroll back up & see if I’m right or not … Thinking some one’s surely already answered that.

    ——-

    D’oh! London Hall. I never woulda guessed. :-O

  76. This is an awesome ad! It is clear that it is for a movie. I mean a lottery to see who survives? Come on, Phil! No one in their right mind would fall for this. Oh wait… I think RCH is calling on the other line…

    BTW, Emmerich is going to be directing Asimov’s Foundation … be warned!

  77. Flying sardines

    The Mayan calendar does not end in 2012.

    It ended about the time the Spanish conquistadores arrived back in the 1500′s instead! ;-)

    The Sun’s flare cycle does not peak in 2012. There is no special Galactic Alignment in 2012.

    Even if there was what it looked like they were showing was the “Jupiter Effect” nonsense where the planets were supposed to line up and their combined gravity would then pull on the Sun and Earth causing all manner of catastrophe. Pure humbug (in the Penn & Teller sense o’th’ word) natch. Moreover, that past woo scare happened back in the early /mid 1980′s.

    There is no such thing as the giant planet Nibiru. Etc., etc.

    Well there might be one day – when the IAU finally get around to naming exoplanets properly. ;-)

    In theAdvertiser (Adelaide newspaper) yesterday there was an article on a suicidal Hot Jupiter that is raising tides on its star and spiralling inwards to its destruction. (Any chance of a post on that discovery here, BA?) That could aptly be named ‘Nibiru’ I think. Course it is hundreds of light years away & no threat to us whatsoever! ;-)

    Is there anything sillier than taking seriously the “scientific” predictions of a group of anicent people who thought our Sun needed the raw, newly carved out, still beating hearts from human sacrifices to rise each day?

    Other than actual recorded observations of comets, supernovae, eclipses etc ..fro arcaheoastronomy Mayan science is utterly valueless albeit interesting from an anthropological / historical-cultural /myth telling viewpoint.

    That said, mindless “disaster porn” movie with a ridiculous premise and likely great FXT, yeah I’ll watch. Sounds like every Emmerich film from ‘Independence Day’ to ‘The Day after Tomorrow’ Like those esp. the latter, it’ll just make those taking the disaster seriously look silly. Which in TDAT case was actually a bad thing but here I agree that it’ll hopefully do the 2012 =Aiiiieeee! mob some damage.

  78. In 2012 will Mars be as big as the Moon? That would be pretty sweet. Thanks ok bye.

  79. Roen

    Anyone old enough to remember the radio program, “War of the Worlds”? This end-of-the-world trash is getting a wee bit old. I think that every year we should randomly select 10 (or more, whatever) of these believers and publicly execute them as an example of how stupidity can be dangerous….

    … crap… wonderful, the wife just told me that this would be breach of human rights or some such nonense… she’s such a buzkill.

  80. @79, Roen…. screw your wife! Oh wait…. that’s your job, but….. I like your idea!

  81. bassmanpete

    toasterhead @ 19 said re War of the Worlds:

    So you really can’t compare the two. We’re much more smart and sophisticated now, right? Right?

    In the late ’60s or early ’70s, one of the commercial tv stations in the UK aired a video taped play about a flying saucer over London. It had been advertised and promoted by whatever station it was (after all this time I can’t recall which one).

    The play started with no introduction, titles, cast, etc but went straight to that particular stations regular newsreader (Reginald Bosanquet? Help me here anyone who also remembers it!) announcing that a flying saucer was hovering over Trafalgar Square. It then cut to a ‘live’ feed from Trafalgar Square. The quality of the pictures should have told everybody that it wasn’t real (video tape looked so ‘smooth’ compared to the more contrasty live broadcasts). Nonetheless hundreds of people rushed out into the streets of London looking for this flying saucer, others outside of London called their local police stations to get more information. Even my parents, I cringe to admit, thought it was real.

    You’re right toasterhead, we’re not more smart & sophisticated. In fact I think the situation is even worse today with, amongst other things, so many people thinking that reality tv is real.

  82. Cory

    Lol @79. “Let’s respond to the stupidity of gullibility with the stupidity of violence!”

    People like you should be drug out and sh- oh wait, crap.

  83. MKR

    “3. John Powell Says:
    August 28th, 2009 at 11:12 am

    To be fair, the ad also has a “This Film has not yet been rated” subscript at the end. I don’t think my kids would be fooled into thinking this was anything but a movie ad.”

    I didn’t see the logo or subscript. If I were gullible, I would be very concerned after seeing that ad.

  84. Geomaniac

    You have to have a brilliant marketing campaign if you have a shi**y movie. Of course I will reserve judgment on just how shi**y it is until I have actually seen it.

  85. Mblack

    The problem is, this movie looks Baaaaaaaad ! Think Godzilla bad, possibly worse.

  86. The Worst Astronomer

    Just piping in to repeat that Emmerich is directing Asimov’s Foundation. So sad. Dead before it even had a chance to live.

  87. zamia

    A commercial for a movie in 1973 showed a man sitting reading when a big furry arm reaches through the window and grabs him.

    Before I saw it, I was awakened in the few hours by my 4 year old.
    “I’m scared.”
    “Everything’s fine. Go back to sleep.”
    “But I’m scared of Big Foot.”
    Big Foot! There was a movie out and they put the ad for it on a show fit for little kids.
    I was about mad enough to call the head of the TV station and explain how inappropriate it was. I figured he deserved to be woken in the middle of the night!

  88. AJ

    “66. Mike Haubrich, FCD Says:
    August 28th, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    @AJ #62 – I was at a work event and during the social gathering part, someone I was supposed to “make nice” with, told me the same thing about the earth moving to the center of the galaxy. Only he said “center of the Universe.” When I explained to him that there is no “center of the Universe” and the reasons why not, and then starting to launch into the way that the Bg Bang works, he interrupted me and said “But the universe they showed has spiral arms.”

    I said, “Oh, you mean the center of the galaxy.” He said that the earth is going to rush to the black hole at the center of the galaxy in 2012. I asked if he knows that the solar system is 26,000 ly from the center of the galaxy, and how he expected the earth to travel that far that fast.

    He changed the subject.”

    ……… gaaaah!

  89. delia

    toasterhead/;; yes.. those people are called republicans, or FoxNews Viewers.

  90. Jay

    It reminded me a little of the commercials that the Scientologists have been running lately – slick, vague, and just slightly unsettling.

    I’m a little bit surprised that there aren’t more people trying to find some connection between 2012 and the Book of Revelation. Maybe there are, and they’re just not very high profile yet. (There is a show that one of the cable networks runs from time to time featuring some guy who used the I Ching to validate the 2012 date, in sort of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup of woo.)

  91. Mike Rondeau

    I actually laughed out loud when they said” Science has confirmed this”…I then also wanted to throw Death From the Skies at the TV. But why damage a perfectly good book and TV. after you watch it a few times you get the feeling the people behind it are making fun of those 2012 creeps.

  92. Roen

    91. @Jay:

    That’s because the fiasco when 2000 hit (then 2001, 2002, 2003 etc ad nauseum) still leaves a lasting embarrassment for them. When it didn’t happen in 2000, they then figured “OMG! We were using the wrong calendar!” or “OMG, we forgot about zero not existing back when revelations was written!”. We’re still here. I’m not ruling out a renewed attempt to shoehorn 2012 to fit revelations but a lot of religious people are confused. I know of a few that were “losing their faith” as a result of fire and brimstone not raining down from the skies when all the religious “experts” they knew swore on the bible that in fact we were finished.

  93. Jay

    @Roen:
    Isn’t cognitive dissonance an interesting thing?

  94. Jonas

    The building reminds me of the ARC (Anomoly Research Center) from Primeval.
    I didn’t know the IHC ad was tied to the 2012 movie, I thought it was another silly move. — I kind of liked it, once I realized it was fiction.

  95. Roen

    Yes, Jay, it is. But if we’re lucky, each time this end of the world things comes around, they lose some followers and we gain a few free thinkers.

  96. Next year you can get hold of a copy of “2012: Reflections on a Mark in Time” which, from a scholarly point of view, separates fact from fiction around 2012.

  97. Justin

    I don’t mind the commercial or the movie. The people who are scarred by this stuff are the people who scare me. I like when Hollywood does this type of thing. They promote their fictional world as if it’s real and it helps to keep the fourth wall from coming down. Go forward, Hollywood.

  98. Gary

    I get the feeling someone saw the District 9 viral marketing campaign (which was actually quite well done) and thought it was awesome, so they co-opted it and slapped it onto a much less deserving movie.

    Attention Sony Pictures: no amount of clever marketing will save this from being a terrible film, so please stop insulting us in the meantime.

  99. mike burkhart

    I have said it before and I’ll say it again the Earth and the inter planets will be destroyed billons of years from now when the sun enters the next stage of its life ( and one of the last stages ) and becomes a RED GIANT Since none of us will be hear then I do’nt worry. this is a problem for our dencents .

  100. Damon

    Pffft, that trailer doesn’t play on anybody’s fears.

    It’s just plain awesome.

  101. verify the following indices for the existens of nibiru or planet x
    #1: Robert Harringtton
    #2: max sun spots 2012 (nasa)
    #3: Harald lesch (german tv)
    #4: Polshift-Theorie
    #5: Sumer ancient Records (sitchin is the expert)
    #6: ancient catastrophes (deluge noha)
    #7: different calender
    #8: fake human history

  102. Jason

    Actually, the biggest thing that turned me off about those commercials was the shameless ripping-off of the District 9 MNU trailers. It would have been less obvious if they would have waited before making something in the exact same style.

    Besides the laughable doomsday fad this kind of movie nourishes, there are many things wrong with it besides 2012 idiocy.

    The movie comes off as so desperate, unoriginal and hastily thrown together that it’s almost criminal. It has earned the most disgusted “UGH!” from me I’ve ever uttered in quite some time.

    … so very, very trashy.

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