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AMBER ALERT FOR SALE

Clear Channel has offered to upgrade the “Amber Alert” signs around California. Not because Clear Channel cares about kidnapped children, (Clear Channel rightly hates kids) but because they want a new place to put ads. Currently, the “Amber Alert” displays look like giant Casio calculators. The upgraded ones will be more like those annoying electronic billboards from Blade Runner that are increasingly blighting Los Angeles and other major cities. When kids aren’t being kidnapped, Clear Channel will run ads on the signs. When the kids do get kidnapped, the signs will let you know. So California gets some upgraded signs and revenue from ads. Clear Channel gets to put giant, distracting billboards right above the highway - billboards targeting the type of consumer who wants to stop the kidnap/murder of kids. Not that this will help kidnapped children. Like many Californians, I’ve trained myself to ignore advertisements. Sandwiched between ads, messages like “Save Kidnapped Maria” will pass out of my mind as quickly as suggestions that I buy Vagisil or watch “The Closer.”

So drivers will be put in danger from distraction, advertisements will encroach even more into our lives, and kidnapped children will be less safe. On the other hand, they’ll have more money to fix potholes, so I say we go for it. But why stop there? In these tough economic times, we shouldn’t just mortgage our children’s safety. We should be brave enough

So drivers will be put in danger from distraction, advertisements will encroach even more into our lives, and kidnapped children will be less safe. On the other hand, they’ll have more money to fix potholes, so I say we go for it. But why stop there? In these tough economic times, we shouldn’t just mortgage our children’s safety. We should be brave enough to mortgage our own. Why not upgrade our 911 system with a generous grant from T-Mobile? People will be fine listening to a fifteen second ad before they report their stab wound. Get the meter maids to hand out Thai restaurant menus. How about some ads on the sides of our Ambulances for Virginia Slims? We got a budget hole to fill. Now lets get Advil to sponsor our police beatings.

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