25,000 Flesh Eating Turtles. What Could Go Wrong?

You’d think that by now everyone’s seen enough movies to know that releasing thousands of flesh eating anythings into the wild is a bad idea, but apparently government officials in India aren’t watching the same films. Which is why they decided it would be a good idea to release 25,000 carnivorous turtles into their main waterway.

To be fair, it actually was a good idea. In many parts of India, the traditional death rituals involve cremating bodies then laying the ashes to rest in the Ganges River. Unfortunately the bodies often aren’t completely burnt. Without putting too fine a point on it, this results in people disposing of their well-done loved ones in the river by the thousands. If their relatives can’t afford cremation, as is often the case, the bodies are simply given to the river as is.

Truly a horrifying sight.

Morgue, graveyard and spa.

In addition to being used as a graveyard, the Ganges is also used for swimming, bathing, drinking and probably at least a few awesome water-skiing competitions – none of which go well with dead bodies. Putting aside the sheer ickiness factor, there are severe and obvious health risks involved. Corpse pollution, as it’s called, is an undeniable problem. At this point you can probably see where the flesh eating turtles come in.

The turtles, which used to inhabit the river in large numbers and helpfully dispose of bodies, were eventually thinned out by poachers who would hunt them for meat. The 25,000 strong replacement batch was bred on a nearby farm. In order to avoid becoming the ground zero of a low-budget horror flick, farmers took care to raise them on dead fish “so that they wouldn’t develop a taste for the living.”

Industrial-grade turtle chow.

Industrial-grade turtle chow.

The turtles grew up big and strong and were eventually released into the Ganges. And that’s when things immediately went wrong. After all the planning and foresight, they had overlooked one important factor: why they needed more turtles in the first place. They might as well have declared hunting season open. Turtles once again started getting poached in large numbers. These days they’re pumping over a thousand turtles a year into the Ganges, but they just keep getting hunted and the bodies in the river just keep piling up. Millions of dollars and countless turtles later, and they’re still no closer to solving the problem. It might be time for a plan B. Possibly something involving piranhas.




3 Reasons Nationwide’s Awful Superbowl Ad was Awfully Good

Insurance company, Nationwide, pissed off a lot of people by throwing a dead child into the middle of everyone’s Superbowl festivities. Here’s the ad in question.

It might, generously, be described as a bit of a buzzkill. The overall message though, is that kids are fragile and accidents can be avoided with a bit of caution. Judging by the number of vitriolic responses to this ad, that’s a surprisingly controversial stance. Despite the outcry, it’s a highly effective ad for several reasons.

1. Firstly, it set the mood very efficiently. And in order to work, it had to. Insurance is a dry topic. It’s not something a roomful of festive less-than-sober individuals are going to think about, much less talk about, without a serious mood jolt. This ad provided exactly that jolt. It was the televised equivalent of a sobering slap to the face.

Only marginally less effective than a real slap to the face, but much more convenient.

Only slightly less effective than real slaps to the face.

In short, the ad was meant to make you feel bad because happy people are in no condition to contemplate insurance premiums.

2. Secondly, it got people talking, both on social media and in the real world. As soon as it aired, Twitter was all atwitter with talk of it. It was so out of sync with other ads that people simply couldn’t let it pass without comment. And so, lacking anything else to say in 140 characters or less, people started arguing over whether it was a good ad or a terrible ad. Suddenly it turned into a debate centerpiece, and because everyone loves a good bandwagon, people went out of their way to jump aboard, watch the ad and develop an opinion.

"imho they didnt kill enough kids lol"

“imho they shouldve killed more kids”

It’s the kind of exposure and brand engagement that people dream about, and Nationwide only got it because they set out to ruffle a few feathers. Of course, whether all that buzz translates to even a single extra customer is up for debate.

As for real world chatter, it was even more spot-on. Imagine all the awkward silences that filled houses across America right after that ad. Now imagine all the people who felt the need to break that awkward silence by saying something, anything, about Nationwide. That dead child yanked people out of their football comas and suddenly forced them to actually think about accidents and insurance.

3. The third and most obvious reason it was a good ad was because it’s memorable. It stood out in a field typically crowded with glamorous car ads and talking animals shilling beer.

And on occasion, glamorous animals shilling cars.

And glamorous animals shilling cars

Funny ads are more entertaining to watch, but when they’re surrounded on all sides by other equally funny ads, they quickly fade into the background. A memorable ad has to stand out from the pack, even if that means pissing a lot of people off. Whether or not its worth it another question entirely.