Is it possible to remove the annoying ad with the dying starfish?

Certainly, this is not what my career should feel like.

enter image description here

  • 23
    Oh yeah, and the sand...I mean, if that stuff gets into your keyboard. Or what about the salty water. That can't be good... And how is this a bug exactly? – Bart Aug 11 '12 at 11:06
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    @Bart Feel free to retag this :) I could not find a suitable category for this – Boris Treukhov Aug 11 '12 at 11:07
  • 36
    Dying starfish is certainly a step up from kicking the baby. – yannis Aug 11 '12 at 11:20
  • 12
    Don't you have more important things to complain about, like pluralization bug? – Ry- Aug 11 '12 at 15:19
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    I see nothing wrong with this ad... I'd love a job that felt like I was lying on the beach. I think most users (myself included) would never put the 2+2 together that this creature is actually dying. – scunliffe Aug 11 '12 at 15:32
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    @scunliffe "I'd love a job that felt like I was lying on the beach." ...yeah, as if that is the message they tried to convey. – Bart Aug 11 '12 at 15:48
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    @minitech shall I clean off my giant S? – Jeff Atwood Aug 13 '12 at 17:52
  • Oh how I wish I had been more active on meta so I could vote the reworks below. – lyonsinbeta Aug 13 '12 at 18:32
  • 3
    @Joel - can we know what is planned, or will this be a surprise? :) – Shadow Wizard is Vaccinating Aug 14 '12 at 14:19
  • 3
    I have seen this on the site today. Looks good! @Joel: Would you please change to status-completed? – nhahtdh Aug 14 '12 at 15:05
  • Whoa. Oh boy, do you know what this means? This is a precedent! Stand by to be overflowed with user suggestions for each and every other ad on the site! – Mr Reenlist'er Aug 15 '12 at 15:15
  • Huh. I thought this was just a strange joke. – Pops Aug 17 '12 at 20:16

11 Answers 11


To address this issue, I suggest the immediate casting of a new, less lackluster starfish. I propose this fellow:

This is what your career should feel like.  If you're a starfish.

Justice has been done! The SE Director of Marketing contacted me last night and the super-starfish has been signed for a modelling contract with Stack Overflow.

  • 44
    Add a monocle and we have a winner. – Bart Aug 11 '12 at 16:08
  • 3
    @Bart and a handlebar moustache? – Rory Aug 11 '12 at 16:13
  • Mmmm...indubitably – Bart Aug 11 '12 at 16:15
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    Dahling, you look mahvelous! – Ernest Friedman-Hill Aug 11 '12 at 18:38
  • 1
    Distant cousin of Mr. Peanut? – lyonsinbeta Aug 13 '12 at 18:33
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  • 8
    Though without the monocle....will they never learn? – Bart Aug 14 '12 at 15:21
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    I think it's pretty clear that a monocle would have make this feel just a little bit silly, no? – Jaydles Aug 14 '12 at 15:55
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    I was about to remind people that it doesn't have eyes for a monocle ... then I remembered the martini glass – Rory Aug 14 '12 at 16:03
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    -1 too much ideologically capitalistic.. as if money would mean happiness!.... very sad – bluish Nov 13 '12 at 9:21

Yeah. And there's a lot more wrong with that ad than just that.

  • The orange of the starfish is potentially offensive for people who don't like dutch royalty and/or victims of the Orange Free State.

  • the Careers logo looks like the reception bars on your mobile phone; the fact that there's six bars could make people from rural areas with bad reception feel inferior. Did anybody think of that when dreaming this up in their fancy New York office?

  • the "this is what your career should feel like" text is hovering above the water. Are you insinuating that my career is supposed to sink? Or that it is about to sink?

  • regarding showing careers ads in general. Isn't this sending the message that my career isn't going exactly as it should? How dare you suggest such a thing?

  • 4
    And what did they do to the starfish? Cover it in Doritos flavouring? That's animal abuse surely. – Bart Aug 11 '12 at 11:21
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    Don't forget to mention that obnoxious "by stackoverflow" tagline. Like the rest of the network doesn't exist. – yannis Aug 11 '12 at 11:22
  • To be fair, the starfish is on a small mound of sand, a positive! It's getting ahead in the world! – ben is uǝq backwards Aug 11 '12 at 11:57
  • 2
    @Ben a mound? That's symbolic of a tumor, a pustule, a boil just waiting to explode. Thanks, I missed that. It makes things even worse!!!! – Pekka Aug 11 '12 at 11:58
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    @Pekka Don't worry, it's a mound for sure.... a SACRIFICIAL MOUND!! – Bart Aug 11 '12 at 12:00
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    FWIW: I've had better cell reception in the middle of Nebraska than I did in NYC... This ad is offensive to city-dwellers also! – Shog9 Aug 11 '12 at 15:48
  • For your second point the having more bars merely shows a more accurate representation of the true signal strength. Signal strength is still 0-100%, so having 6 bars allows the carrier to show in increments of 16% while 5 only shows 20% (less accurate) increments. So no need for people to get offended over this. – trevor-e Aug 13 '12 at 19:18
  • @Atlos but what if I'm in an area that never gets more than 2-3 bars? – Pekka Aug 13 '12 at 19:20
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    @Pekka Well the reception percentage will be the same, but the phone can have a variable amount of bars to represent that number. So the (bar : insecurity) relationship can vary depending on your phone. I've heard that iPhones have up to 20 bars to represent signal strength to make users feel superior to Android users. – trevor-e Aug 13 '12 at 19:24
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    I am dutch, and I am offended by orange (especially during soccer season) – Toon Krijthe Aug 14 '12 at 9:45
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    @Gamecat Luckily we have nothing to do with this Orange Free State thingy.... reads article.... nevermind. – Bart Aug 14 '12 at 9:48
  • @Bart, history hurts. – Toon Krijthe Aug 14 '12 at 9:49

I suppose if you're the sort of person who identifies with the starfish, you could take it badly.

But what if you identify with the viewer: the overlord staring down on the starfish, which is withering in the hot rays of your unbridled contempt!

Yes, what if your career is that of a senior developer, and the starfish is one of your unworthy minions! The starfish is gasping, begging, to drink in the delicious seawater of your knowledge? Your career is to pick up that sad, startled, starving starfish and place him lovingly back into the ocean of your vast experience -- leaving behind the unblemished beachfront of pristine architecture

It's all in how you look at things.

  • 13
    Best. Analogy. Ever. – Frédéric Hamidi Aug 11 '12 at 11:48
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    This is so goood – Pekka Aug 11 '12 at 13:03
  • 1
    If you identify with the starfish then you should probably find a new job immediately. – lyonsinbeta Aug 13 '12 at 18:35

Having looked at this for a while, I can see how this is offensive in oh so many ways. For the sake of being constructive, how about a more neutral alternative:

But how about the light oppressing the dark? Or or...pfff

Surely you can't find any fault with that....

  • 37
    This is what your career should feel like followed by a bottom bar in the colour of crap, yeah, nothing at fault with that. – yannis Aug 11 '12 at 11:38
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    @YannisRizos Admittedly some of my feelings on my career might shine through there. But can you really blame an artist for a display of personality? – Bart Aug 11 '12 at 11:40
  • But this whole thread is about blaming an artist for personality... – Ben Brocka Aug 11 '12 at 18:12
  • How strange. @BenBrocka seems unaffected by my mind trick.... – Bart Aug 11 '12 at 18:22
  • This would be better if there was a "Please fill in blank line below: ______________________" – animuson Aug 11 '12 at 20:05
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    @animuson All content is CC-BY-SA....go for it – Bart Aug 11 '12 at 20:06
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    Damn it guys! My carrer should not look like an empty square! Why not add something nice like a beach and a symbol that would definitely make it look like holidays, this would be awesome! – Vincent Robert Aug 13 '12 at 18:36
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    @VincentRobert You might have something there....white sand...a starfish perhaps? I mean, I'm just throwing out wild ideas, but that might just work... – Bart Aug 13 '12 at 18:37
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    @Bart - It's still missing a compelling "call to action". A big gray button labelled "Get Started" perhaps? – TCPMAN.EXE Aug 13 '12 at 18:51
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    @mootinator Damn, we're on a roll here. I'll contact SO's marketing department. We are sure hires. – Bart Aug 13 '12 at 18:52

I was walking along the beach one day and I noticed a boy in the distance. When I got closer, I saw that there were thousands of dying starfishes on the beach and he was throwing them one by one back into the sea.

I said "There are thousands of starfish and you'll never be able to save them all"

Then he started throwing them at me


I'm not a fan of the orange. In Canada, that could be misinterpreted as support for the NDP party. As such, I'm recommending a design which doesn't favour any particular color over another. This way we can appear politically neutral and avoid any sort of pointless controversy.

Also, the font should suggest my career should be a little more fun, don't you think?

enter image description here

  • 2
    Not double...not all the way....I'm not sure I can support this. – Bart Aug 13 '12 at 18:09
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    Not even rainbows are politically neutral anymore. – Ernest Friedman-Hill Aug 13 '12 at 18:12
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    joke's on you because hipsters have moved on from Comic Sans hatin to Papyrus hatin now. – Jin Aug 13 '12 at 18:12
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    +1 - There's no way this could possibly offend anyone at all. – Bill the Lizard Aug 13 '12 at 18:12
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    I want my career to feel like riding on the proverbial rainbow-emitting unicorn, can't you show that? – Ernest Friedman-Hill Aug 13 '12 at 18:13
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    In the US this means something TOTALLY different.... – Lance McCarthy Aug 13 '12 at 18:13
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    you did us the favour of proving you were Canadian, I like that :) – Gates VP Aug 13 '12 at 18:16
  • @GatesVP Oops, apparently I politely misspelled colour for the benefit of the US audience, and let favour get past me. How gauche. – TCPMAN.EXE Aug 13 '12 at 19:05
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    Where's pink? And black? Are you trying to say something here? Something offensive!? – Ben Brocka Aug 13 '12 at 19:18
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    Haven't you heard? There is no pink light: youtu.be/S9dqJRyk0YM, of course, there's also no black light, so he's really just trying to offend things that don't emit light :) – Gates VP Aug 13 '12 at 23:57

Yes, of course it's dying. Starfish out of water, like any fish out of water, need to be thrown back into the sea as soon as possible. All they can do is lie there, hoping that someone will rescue them! What's pleasant about that?
Therefore, I propose this. Much, much better.

Same as above, except under water

Or if they mean your career should feel like the kind of holiday where you do nothing but lie on the beach all day, well, these things get old really soon, and make you itch (as does the sand) for going back to your real job, doing real things again.

Or do they want you to identify with a the life of a starfish, having only your five paws to type with, thinking in base five and having a hard time with numbers in base ten?

I mean, they can't just mean that your career should feel like a starfish, do they? I'm not entirely sure what a starfish feels like, but I'm quite certain I don't want my job to feel like that.

No, not a good ad.

  • 14
    I don't know about this one. Those sea urchins look pointy. They seem to represent the looming consequences of the slightest wrong move. – Ben Brocka Aug 13 '12 at 19:23
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    Down on the cold ocean floor, hoping that even the slightest ray of sunlight will reach you to illuminate what can only be described as a dark watery grave... I like it – Bart Aug 13 '12 at 19:26
  • Starfish are mobile, they bury themselves most of the time. – Nick Larsen Aug 13 '12 at 20:08
  • Be careful about throwing starfish in the water; many of them are venomous. – Vivian River Aug 11 '13 at 2:31

Also a starfish:

If your carreer feels like:

enter image description here

try this


In the interest of addressing concerns that the above ads focus excessively on careers, I have mocked up the following ad:

enter image description here

  • 48
    From the two I prefer the white one on the right. – Bart Aug 13 '12 at 19:22
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    this color offends me deeply. – Jin Aug 13 '12 at 19:40
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    Oh I see, so your career should feel like you're being smothered by Caucasians? – mclark1129 Aug 17 '12 at 20:47

Isn't it what your career should feel like?

Isn't it what your career should feel like?


This one is the ultimate I think:

Even better

  • 1
    My thoughts on that? Entirely neutral. Well done good Sir. – Bart Aug 12 '12 at 10:06
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    Doesn't this discriminate non-Caucassian people? – Michael Stum Aug 13 '12 at 17:53
  • I don’t like the color though. – poke Aug 13 '12 at 17:55
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    a+++++ would click again – Jeff Atwood Aug 13 '12 at 17:56
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    It occurs to me that the font used is not Comic Sans. You are suggesting that work should not be fun, apparently. – maartenba Aug 13 '12 at 17:58
  • @maartenba Whoops, I had that thought the same time as you apparently, heh. :) – TCPMAN.EXE Aug 13 '12 at 18:06
  • @mootinator Yeah. But rainbows mean it's raing somewhere, provoking gray feelings. Would go with a clean white background. – maartenba Aug 13 '12 at 18:23

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