An Open Letter to Kixeye

Dear Kixeye,

I am writing you regarding your the advertisements that you have elected to put on the side of every BART and Muni car in the Bay Area. You know the one—the one with the wolf? And its mouth is open? And it's shouting “WORK AT KIXEYE / BE AWESOMER.” You know the ones.

Yes! Those.

First of all, congratulations. Congratulations on pioneering the exciting new frontier of memevertising. In this frantic and confusing age of holographic dead people and glasses that teach us to play ukelele, it's hard to break through to your average mama-grizzlybear consumer. BUT YOU DID IT! You said, “let's take jokes from the internet and use them to get people to come work at our startup!” A week and a half later, your very well-conceived ads were gracing every Muni bus, light rail train, and BART train in the city, extending an invitation to tens of thousands of commuters to seek employment at your startup.

But there are a few problems with your campaign, Kixeye. You see, when you exercise esoteric facets of internet culture to promote your recruitment campaign, you separate your potential applicants into two kinds groups of people:

  • Those who understand the reference.
  • Those who don't understand the reference.

The latter contingency are people who are just confused about why a wolf is shouting at them to work at your company and are nonplussed by your ploy to be “awesomer.” This ad is not for them. Clearly.

The former category, the small group of people that will have any idea what this joke is alluding to, will understand that you have very aggressively misappropriated this peculiar segment of internet humor. What you wanted to use was the “Courage Wolf” meme, where you do something that results in being successful by being courageous. But, Kixeye, the joke you made was created using the “Insanity Wolf” meme, where the joke is that you do something excessively insane or irrational (to quote, “Insanity wolf tells his viewers to rape, kill, and commit other acts of insanity”). What you basically ran is an ad telling people that they would have to be insane to work at Kixeye. I'm guessing that it's just a happy coincidence that anyone would have to be totally insane to want to work at a ding-dong startup that simultaneously boasts an obscure reference to something on every bus and light-rail in the city, but somehow misses the joke that nobody got in the first place. Maybe one would have to be insane to work at a company with whatever knuckleheads thought that it was acceptable to pollute the city with this ad.

Anyway, good luck in the coming business quarter!


Sam Bartos

Comments (19)

Wow, totally nailed it! You deconstructed and contextualized this advertisement so perfectly. I bet you read most ads and just…ya know, like, roll the ol’ oculars, flip those bangs of yours, and plant that smirk on your face. Man, these ad-makers just don’t get it. With your keen sense of perception, no ad will be safe; they’ll be subject to a verbal face-palm thanks when you put their attempt at humor in it’s place through your understanding of throwaway culture. Nothing is new when you’ve seen it all before.

Somehow I imagine this company’s office is filled with morbidly obese alcoholics trolling each other on 4chan all day.

Maybe you’re overlooking the 3rd contingent: Hipster Bloggers Who Still Live With Their Moms.


The thing I have an issue with is that the ads are not funny.

Memes make me laugh.

This ad does not.

So the expectation for humor is set, then it is not met.

But we are talking about this random company, so I guess they “win.”

Let me just say: this post is spot-on and the haters can suck it. Good work.

I love your posts, Sam. More please.

This manifesto is boring as shit. This post was saved, though, by the bizarre aspect of the author being a bitch in the comments section

It’s the most talked about ad in the city, the company has doubled in size in terms of employees in 6 months, and it’s posted on Reddit and ridiculous blogs (like this) every other goddamn day. It’s an incredibly successful marketing campaign.

If you’ve ever worked at a startup, you would know that it is excessively insane and irrational. I’d say the ad is spot-on.

This blog post and the 21 accompanying comments suggest that this ad is working exactly as designed.

I’ve had the same conversation with multiple people upon seeing this ad. I have no idea what Kixeye does, but now I know I have no interest in working there.

i don’t think the word ‘nonplussed’ means what you thnk it does.

overall quite an excellent rant though, sir.

Sams pic alone tells the story of his geek nerdness. Ugly, skinny, total geek.

I understand your pain Sam. They really should’ve used the courage wolf instead. It would’ve been much more appropriate.

Those Kixeye ads really do annoy me though.

Thanks for this.
I’d seen the adds, really REALY disliked them, but didn’t have a clue what (if anything) they referenced.
Now I know. And I like the ads even less.

The wolf image was used without permission from the artist. Needless to say he wasn’t paid for it either.

Wow did all 10 of Kixeye’s employees show up to post here? Bizarre.

Played almost 4 years BP bannend with no reason told .

Spend more then 600euro on the game , and got bannend out of the bleu .

For cheating they say ! ..only problem is they don’t tell me what i did wrong .

Never seen a bunch of low live people’s like Kixeye before . 

Will let everone know what to expect from them ..on youtube , blogg , facebook ect ..

Pls everyone help me with it ..they bastards and we need to warn people for them .