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Stop Sign

What It Is: Virus- and spyware-protection software for your PC, with support from real, live people.

Quote: "Wouldn't you like to know how many viruses are sitting on your hard drive right now?"

stop_sign.jpgCost: Packages begin at $19 per 90 days.

Shills: Switches between Jodie Harwood, a friendly-enough American woman, and a pair of thickly accented young Russians desperately trying to sound American. One Charlie Birdsell leads an expert demonstration with the help of IT drones Hondo, Ross, Jon and Catharina.

Set and Costumes: Nondescript offices and business casual, for the most part.

Gimmick: Blocky, distinctively non-tech savvy computer animation showing "your" computer crashing at an intersection. Well, if it can do metaphors, maybe it's not that primitive.

Trope-free Gimmick: Ross and Jon subject two PCs - one with Stop Sign and one without - to assorted hack attacks as Hondo and Catharina try to fend them off. As Jodie and Charlie repeatedly point out, hacking often equals identity theft. Amid some friendly shit-talking, Ross steals all of Hondo's personal information from his non-protected PC.

Fake Journalistic Segment: Katie Severud talks to a man named Ryan Douthit, publisher of Tekbug magazine. Long story short, it's a tech publication with a website that looks like this. The two exchange forced "serious-ass-TV-interview" looks and comments like "Viruses, spam overload, Trojans, identity theft - these are big issues!"

Other Grabs at Tech Cred: A few testimonials are superimposed over testimonial e-mails. Also, the owner of a Washington-state computer shop asserts that computer viruses are the biggest threat to business computers, when clearly the real danger comes from shitty coffee.

Evaluations: The random appearances of the Russians suggest this infomercial was hastily edited together from two initially separate spots. If a company can't manipulate me through sleek marketing- i.e., graphics I couldn't have made with MS Paint circa 1998 - how can it summon the cunning to protect me from hackers? And, despite the mysterious foreigners and tinny dialogue, this spot is unbelievably low on kitschy laughs.

Evaluation: 0.5

- Scott Gordon


From the Little Giant Ladder to the Swivel Sweeper, check out the entire Infomercial Review catalog.


Posted on July 17, 2007

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