Eric’s latest post, Did we go too far?, wonders whether our Evil Mastermind ads cross a line or two in the portrayal of female characters. The discussion in the comments is interesting, and I won’t add my redundant $0.02.

One tangent I’d like to pick up on from those comments — a few people questioned the wisdom of running ads that have nothing to do with our products. This is basically true of the full-length comic, as well as the flash banner in question. The one-page print ads do reference product features somewhat.

But as one commenter put it:

these ads (and comic book) whilst being a bit of fun, would not persuade me one iota to buy your products. Which is kind of the point of an ad, no?

In this case? In my opinion? No. Not directly, anyway. The point is to get your attention. What does a lizard have to do with auto insurance? What does a dancing “king” with a papier-mache head have to do with burgers? (please make that one stop. I have nightmares)

Not much. But you notice them.

We gave away tons of comics at TechEd; there are fact sheets at the back on Vault and Fortress, but that’s not really the point. The point was the converstations they started — people coming to the booth because they’d seen the comic or the T-shirts. People with whom we then got to discuss their current version control or ALM situation, and how we might be able to help with that. So my hat’s off to everyone behind the comics — especially John Woolley, who’s so talented it’s almost annoying.

In fact, if I have any concern, it’s when the comics get too close to our world — I love the “Your Code is Sub-Optimal!” tagline. But if you’re not familiar with the ads already, it might lead you to believe we build profilers, refactoring tools, compilers, etc. But by my own earlier logic, that’s just the start of another conversation. So I sleep peacefully.