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What's the Deal with that Sketchy, Omnipresent Melissa McCarthy 'Mike & Molly' Internet Ad?

By Dustin Rowles | Trade News | June 29, 2016 | Comments ()

By Dustin Rowles | Trade News | June 29, 2016 |


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If you’ve spent much time on the Internet, in particular pop-culture sites like this one, you’ve probably seen this ad.

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There are actually several iterations of this ad, each expressing sadness or surprise that Melissa McCarthy’s Mike and Molly was cancelled, and sometimes the ad attributes the cancellation to McCarthy’s weight.

They announced the Mike & Molly cancellation a long time ago, and most of us probably didn’t even realize that the series only ended its run last month. So why is the ad everywhere now (there’s a good chance, in fact, that you’re seeing it at the bottom of this very post)?

My wife asked me this question when she saw it for the 4,000th time the other day, and I asked her if she’d clicked on it. She had not, and as many times as I have seen it, I’ve never clicked on it, either. Until today.

It’s a Disqus ad, so you’d probably see it on any site that runs Disqus comments. Disqus, however, also runs Taboola ads, which is the leader in these native ad placements, so it’s likely on any number of sites that integrate below-the-article ads like these:

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It’s a separate conversation, but you’d be surprised at how many thousands of clicks those ads get on this site alone. We used Taboola ourselves for a short period of time, but they kept throwing up ads with gross fingernails or emaciated celebrities and straight-up beach ass, so we went back to Zergnet, which now also occasionally incorporates Taboola ads, which is to say: There’s no escaping them.

This particular Melissa McCarthy ad, however, is obviously super effective, otherwise it wouldn’t appear so frequently on so many pop-culture sites. It plays on our curiosity, not about a show that no one cares about, but about how Melissa McCarthy’s weight was involved in the decision to cancel a CBS sitcom about an overweight married couple. It also appeals to two sets of audiences: The Melissa McCarthy fans who love her in movies like Spy and Bridesmaids, and the other Melissa McCarthy fans who like her in Tammy and The Boss, and who watched Mike & Molly (even in its final season, the show was still banking 8 million viewers a week).

So what’s up with the ad? It turns out, the ad is for a weight-loss supplement that’s being advertised on a site that purports to be TMZ (it is not TMZ). This particular weight supplement was allegedly used by McCarthy (unlikely), which led to her shedding 50 pounds in five weeks, which led to the cancellation of the show, because she was too thin to continue playing an overweight wife.

They also include a quote from McCarthy in a TMZ exclusive. This quote has been completely fabricated. It does not exist in the real world. McCarthy never said any of this.

TMZ Exclusive Interview Featuring McCarthy - “I.. just.. I can’t believe it! They’re cancelling an amazing show JUST because I decided to finally be healthy. It makes no sense! They said I no longer fit the part, which is outrageous. It all started when some of my colleagues recommended Garcinia Cambogia, something they had seen on a Dr. Oz episode. It didn’t take long after my consult with Dr. Oz to notice results. I saw a HUGE difference in less than a week!”

There’s also a before and after photo:

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I am not 100 percent positive, but I think the AFTER photo is from about 15 years ago, which means that taking Garcinia Cambogia Extract doesn’t make you lose weight so much as it allows you to travel back in time. That’s awesome.

The weight supplement also helped Carrie Underwood lose 33 pounds in just one month.

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I think that having a human baby removed from her body may have also played a small factor in her weight loss,as well, but I am no scientist.

The domain is not actually TMZ.com, but TMZ Celebrity News, and if you click on the home domain, it strangely takes you to a Google Map. Doing a WhoIs lookup unsurprisingly provided no identifying information, although it says that domain was created only two weeks ago. That ad has been around for months, so I am assuming that the sellers of Garcinia Cambogia Extract run these ads on a domain until they are caught and shut down, at which point they run it on another domain to elude being identified.

What I’m saying is: This very successful ad uses a celebrity’s likeness without permission, attributes quotes to her that were never said, and exists on a domain that purports to be another site.

Nothing sketchy about that.

This seems like something the Reply All podcast should investigate.

For the record, Melissa McCarthy did apparently lose 50 pounds this month. However, her secret was not weight-loss supplements. It was going to sleep early and leading a boring life.


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