Rapture-tising: The End Is Really, Really Near

According to Billboards and Crackpots, Saturday Is the Day

By Published on .

In case you missed it, the beginning of the end starts this Saturday , when the Rapture strikes. At that point, the saved will be taken up to heaven and the rest of us will be left behind. The only possible way to save your sorry self is to accept Jesus as your own personal savior. And you can't say you weren't warned, thanks to a concerted advertising push by various parties proclaiming May 21 as the big day.

Billboards (17 in Canada alone!), subway ads, street teams (they're all over New York), banner ads and a dedicated website are among the media properties being used to spread the good news (or bad news as the case may be). The only thing stopping me from calling these folks media savvy is the site is optimized to run best on Internet Explorer. (I was going to try to run down the total ad spending to get the word out, but the end of the world has me reconsidering my priorities.)

No earthly (or heavenly) idea what I'm talking about? The May 21 people are happy to explain in this video:

Or you can turn to this Salon explainer, which will be helpful to those readers not familiar with the finer points of end days. The Rapture? "The worthy dead will first rise up to heaven, followed shortly thereafter by about 200 million faithful followers saved by God. Those left behind will endure several months of ghastly torment. And what remains of our fair Earth will swiftly careen toward its ultimate destruction -- which will occur in October."

And who is behind all of this? 89-year-old radio host Harold Camping. Camping's been wrong before, according to Salon, but as they say, try, try again. FamilyRadio.com, one of the sites affiliated with Camping, seems to be having its own end-of -day freakouts, no doubt overloaded by traffic.

Of course, no apocalyptic party would be complete without some Facebook jokesters or creepy Craigslist advertising. And, whether this is some ironical attempt at humor, a scam or something else, this is probably my second-favorite Rapture-related advertising:

Are you attending the rapture on May 21st, 2011? I expect to be left behind when it happens, so if you aren't going to need your worldly possessions; be they money, cars, canned food, durable goods, etc; I would gladly take them off of your hands. Serious responses only, please. And remember, time is short! You can contact me by replying to this ad.
My favorite ad? This one's obviously a satire -- and it's old -- but the video for After the Rapture Pet Care takes the cake:

Ironically, this could all be good for newspaper circulation. Check out the last line of the full-page ad that ran in USA Today. "Note to All Readers: Please buy multiple copies of this paper and send an original to your leaders, relatives and friends with a personalized note pleading them to heed the warning."

The circulation department had to love that -- even if they won't be around much longer to enjoy whatever boost resulted from it.

Seen any other Rapture-tising? Drop a link in the comments.

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