“Harmonica Lessons Online with Howard Levy” — Ads We Didn’t Skip

Ad: “Harmonica Lessons Online with Howard Levy,” ArtistWorks

Agency: Unknown

Why: “You’ll be part of a worldwide community of harmonica players.” I watched this whole ad in the belief it was a parody (it wasn’t). To be honest, I’m not sure if that says more about me or the ad, but it’s probably a little of both.

So what about it (and me) led to this false conclusion? Well, first, attending online harmonica school is a pretty wacky proposition. Second, in these modern days, when something offbeat is presented in such an earnest, unselfconscious way, the dissonance between the message and the delivery shouts “Internet joke!” It’s the way Zach Galifianakis has trained us, and there’s no turning back.

Will I buy what they’re selling?: Well … no. I’m not a musical person. But I am now aware of the mechanism used for online musical instruction.

— Drew (@drew_ng)