Ironic, Isn’t It?

October 23, 2013

Nothing like a dose of irony to keep your day-to-day problems in perspective.

Ironic spokesman. The image of popular stand-up comedian Larry the Cable Guy adorns lots of products—he’s even got his own line of snack chips as well as boxed dinner mixes, including cheesy mashed potatoes, beer bread, cheeseburger macaroni, and fried chicken batter. These obviously aren’t health foods. More than that, overindulgence in these kinds of foods can lead to heartburn. Fortunately, you can take a pill for that, such as Prilosec OTC. What celebrity endorses Prilosec OTC in TV commercials? Larry the Cable Guy.


Ironic refund. Beginning in 2001, the Walt Disney Company distributed a line of educational videos for babies called Baby Einstein. The 30-minute videos of puppet shows, abstract images, nature footage, and famous works of art, were scored to a classical music soundtrack and interspersed were vocabulary segments to help babies learn new words. In 2009, Disney offered refunds to parents who had purchased Baby Einstein videos after a 2007 study found that watching TV and videos as an infant may inhibit brain development. Another study showed that kids who regularly watched Baby Einstein videos actually learned fewer words by kindergarten that those who hadn’t watched the tapes.

Ironic stardom. Norwegian comedy duo Ylvis—brothers Vegard and Bard Vylisaker—host a comedy show in Norway called Tonight with Ylvis. In 2012, Ylvis took the show to the central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan in a joke attempt to become pop stars there. They told Spin that they did it there because “we’d never become pop stars in the U.S., so we chose another country where it would be easier.” Despite relentlessly promoting themselves, Ylvis did not catch on in Kyrgyzstan. “The whole humor is that we didn’t succeed and had lots of obstacles.” But this year, Ylvis did actually become pop stars in the U.S. Their silly novelty song “The Fox (What Does the Fox Say)” is a top 10 hit. They’ve performed on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and the video for “The Fox” has racked up more than 124 million views on YouTube.

Ironic dog food. In 1957, Disney produced a movie version of Fred Gipson’s 1956 award-winning children’s book Old Yeller. You probably know the story—a boy loves his dog, but eventually has to shoot it when he becomes infected with rabies. In 2010, the Kroger chain of grocery stores licensed the rights from Disney to use Old Yeller…as the name of its store-brand of dog food. It gets worse: Later that year, a batch of Old Yeller was found to be laced with aflatoxin, a fungus that crows on corn that, when ingested by dogs, leads to vomiting, diarrhea, and jaundice. Kroger issued a recall.