Exclusive: Mad magazine spoofs Madoff in April issue


In a parody of a Slumdog Millionaire ad, Mad Magazine plans to spoof Bernie Madoff and all the investors he allegedly scammed. The entire scandal is so complex the government still hasn't even charged Madoff. Mad Magazine editor John Ficarra told me that Jeff Kruse suggested the parody and he thought it was a great idea. In fact, he told me he's surprised he didn't get caught up as one of Madoff's investors himself. He said, "If there's a bad investment out there, I find it."

Set up like a movie ad, it's called "The #1 Scam of the Year!" with a starring cast that was swindled including, "Kevin Bacon, John Malkovich, Sandy Koufax, Zsa Zsa Gabor and countless families, schools, charities, banks and investors." The ad also says the film is "produced by Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg with the money that wasn't stolen from them."

Ficarra said there was so much to work with it was easy to write. Kruse wrote the text of the ad spoof and it was designed by Sam Viviano and Ryan Flanders. Ficarra said the entire project was done in one day - "terrific turnaround." He plans to run the ad in the April issue of Mad Magazine, but is toying with holding it for their 20 dumbest things issue. I told him he should use it for both. He said he probably will.

Mad Magazine recently got widespread publicity on another ad spoof of Circuit City. Initially corporate overreacted and told their people to pull the magazines off the shelf and destroy them. Ficarra told me he was shocked by the uproar. "I didn't even know our magazines were sold at Circuit city," he told me. I like to think "we're the reason they are going out of business, because we put the final nail in that electronic coffin."
In the end Circuit City made nice, and put the magazines back on the shelf. The ad drew so much attention, Circuit City probably didn't want to miss out on the customers looking for the magazine. Ficarra said they offered Mad Magazine staffers a $25 gift certificate to make up for the error in judgement.

I used to subscribe to Mad Magazine, but dropped it as I got older. Looks like it's time to resubscribe. Ficarra told me their subscribers have "aged-up" with the average subscriber age now 26.

Lita Epstein has written more than 25 books including the "Complete Idiot's Guide to Value Investing."

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