Selling the Apocalypse: The Challenge of the Morning After

It’s becoming a common storyline.  First, you introduce the unthinkable (“A mother of a child beauty pageant contestant injected her own eight year old daughter with Botox!”).  Next, various news organizations run with this sensational story, assembling a cadre of experts to comment on how this reflects modern society’s moral degradation/overstimulated digital centrism/ever declining civility.

But oftentimes, there’s also the coda—balloon boy is found hiding in the attic, Y2K wasn’t so nasty afterall, the Botox Mom story was a set up by a UK tabloid.  And so this coda provides a platform for yet another round of handwringing, often around those exact same themes of modern society’s moral degradation/overstimulated digital centrism/ever declining civility.

Dennis Ryan, Olson, AdvertisingAnd that is the question I have for the hysterical alarmists behind the Rapture™, presently scheduled to commence with global earthquakes tomorrow because, as the headline reads, “God Is No Respecter of Persons.”  (Apparently the Almighty is also not particularly adept with English language prose, but that’s a side issue: it’s hard to blame a deity forced to communicate through such simple-minded vessels.) The marketing department at has been spending enormous sums running full page newspaper ads in USA Today.  No doubt their purchasing department was savvy enough to hedge by making these investments on credit, but still—they are spending a lot of money.

If you can force yourself through their three columns of long, digressive copy, they source their prophecy in Harold Camping’s book 1994? which you may have already surmised predicted these end times would hit seven years ago.  But this ad has an answer for that and why the second part of The Great Tribulation™ skipped that appointment: “Critics ignore the “?” in the title and the fact that Mr. Camping was quite clear in his book that 2011 was an alternative year for the end of the world.” Ohh, right–that clears things up nicely, thanks.

Somewhere in the files of USAToday, a layout exists that references Mr. Camping’s new book “Time Has An End” which explains how critics also ignore the ongoing truth that indeed Time does have an end, it just wasn’t May 21, 2011.

So after this lovely weekend, we have that to look forward to. Let’s all make a point of reading it together. Happy Friday.


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson


David says:

For me the world did end in 1994, but that only lasted for four days, then I got over it.

joe says:

If it doesn’t stop raining soon, these believers may recieve alot of support.