Lothlórien 7 – 1,000 free hobbits!

The other day, we at NUblog were minding our own business – for once – and happened upon a seeming parody of an article claiming that mighty AOL had released a new set of training wheels for the mullet set.

The story was legit. Surfing over to the convergent juggernaut’s site to check on the accessibility work moving along with suspicious slowness inside a company with all the money in the world, one of those ad windows, lovable as a litter of polydactylic kittens, pops into being. Suddenly we’ve got a brandy snifter of dry ice and eye of newt tossed in our faces:

Try new Hobbitland™ AOL® 7 free!
AOL 7 ‘Lord of the Rings’ tie-in with uncial type

We’ve heard of convergence, but this takes the cake. AOL now skins its pop-up ads in order to tie the carpet-bombing of AOL discs into its convergent media properties. How’d they do it this time?


Yes, just as nothing screams “chop suey” like “Oriental” brushstrokes spelling out those very words, nothing says “Wicca” or indeed “hobbit” like uncial script.

Keeping in mind that online advertising is content whether we like it or not, we’ve never seen such a devious case. Yes, it says Lord of the Rings at the bottom like some kind of half-arsed disclaimer, but the ad attempts to sell you on AOL discs and hobbits all at once – subliminally, through multi-channel input, like reading the word “red” rendered in green.


Of course, they had to go and ruin it by typesetting most of the rest in the Ur-generic font of the ’90s, Adobe Garamond, elsewhere used to render peanut-butter and kidney-bean packaging. Or was that the true subliminal advertising?

Posted on 2001-10-16