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Advertising in Delusional White America


Ad Men don’t fall far from the creative tree, or in Don Draper’s case he falls from the skyscraper but always seems to land on his feet.

Don Draper–liar, cheat, sexual harrasser (portrayed in the hit AMC show Mad Men by Jon Hamm)  escapes a tattered, lonely, rural past by taking on a new identity, a lot like Jay Gatsby’s backstory. He creates a fairytale life for himself in the context of a successful businessman with expensive suits, trophy wives and 2.5 children–the American dream . . . manifest destiny.

But, like Gatsby, Draper is a fraud. He’s not Draper at all, having stolen another man’s identity to get out of the Korean war. For some reason, white Americans understand this concept of self reinvention better than others. We understand it and applaud it. It is part of the fabric of our being.


Perky iconic brands living happily ever after.

That makes sense, too, since we live in a land where immigrants’ criminal pasts were left in their homeland, and where names were changed at Ellis Island. We live in the movie making capital of the world, where illusion is big business and escapism via visual entertainment occurs on a daily basis. We live where Disney exerts influence, convincing us dreams come true for every good person who started out in rags.

We live where coffee is latte, small is ‘tall’ and lemonade is a ‘refresher’ (which warrants a higher price if shaken by a professional barista).

We euphemize every untidy process and eliminate natural odors to avoid embarrassment. We attempt to sterilize our countertops, toilets and mouths with equal diligence.

We adorn every nook and cranny with decorative stick-ups, plug-ins, simmer pots, potpourri and diffusers. We perpetuate the idea of a recently purchased automobile by hiding a can of air freshener called “new car smell” under our worn-out seats. Heaven forbid we should smell anything unpleasant. Ever.

Why the heck do we keep up such pretenses? We’ve been conditioned, that’s why. We have swallowed the hook, line and sinker of popular ad campaigns. We are hypnotized by the Don Drapers of the world, the men and women behind the curtain who think up lures and package them in jingles, hype and attractive actor-consumers. We are Stepford consumers.

Woo-hoo. I believe. I believe my children and I are squeaky clean, eternally fresh, well organized people who care enough to send the very best, spreading sunshine wherever we go on God’s green earth, thanks to Hallmark, Mr. Clean, Summer’s Eve, Orbit and 3M (makers of Post-It Notes, papers that organize your home, school, office . . . life). If you believe, clap your hands!

On the other hand, if you know yourself to be a real, flesh and blood human, with stinky orifices and children who fuss and drip stuff, you’ll appreciate these sarcastically re-captioned ads featuring highly content white folks. I got a kick out of them.




For more funny re-captioned photo ads, go to


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About Author

Baron Von Kowenhoven

Baron was just a shy kid with a dream, growing up in the 40’s with a knack for story-telling. After a brief career in film, Von Kowenhoven went to Europe in search of fringe-scientific discoveries and returned in the 90’s to unleash them on the entertainment and political landscape of America.


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