Internet Baffled by Bottomless PJs

John Lister's picture

If you keep seeing a pair of bottomless pyjamas on the Internet, don't worry. It appears to be a glitch that's highlighted the quirks of online advertising.

Many users have reported seeing the ad multiple times a day, in some cases embedded in almost every page they read. It's particularly noticeable as it's a somewhat unusual product, namely a one-piece tartan outfit with a flap on the backside, presumably to allow bathroom breaks without undressing.

The ads are automatically placed by Google and appear to be placed by a Chinese tech company which has the same registered address as a "fast fashion" site that specializes in selling a range of clothes for a short period, often capitalizing on a style or item appearing in a high-profile setting.

Ad Settings May Be Erroneous

Users would be forgiven for thinking they were being very specifically targeted after an advertising network drew some unusual conclusions about their personality or taste in clothing.

However, it seems more likely the ad settings with Google were mistakenly set with either no filters or extremely broad filters, meaning it was shown to a much wider group of people than would normally make sense for targeted advertising.

There is a more conspiratorial possibility however. A marketing executive told the BBC it was possible the ad's main goal wasn't to sell the item of clothing in the picture. (Source:

Suggestive Ad Doesn't Break Rules

Instead Mat Morrison believes the advertiser wants people to click on the ad and will then interpret that click as permission to put a cookie on their machine. They'll then be targeted for future ads as, in effect, people who click on weird things and might consider buying them.

Morrison notes the image may be perfectly pitched to be saucy enough to attract clicks but not explicit enough to be blocked or restricted by advertisers.

A third theory is even more cynical. Vice suggests the clothing manufacturer may have hired a rogue advertising intermediary to distribute its ads and guarantee a certain number of views. In turn, the intermediary may have simply found the cheapest places to show it and neither paid much attention to whether the viewers would be likely customers, nor worried about whether people would see the ad multiple times. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Have you seen the ad in question? How well targeted do you find ads that appear online? Do you worry about online tracking?

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gi7omy's picture

I haven't seen the one for the tartan long johns with the trapdoor, but I got three pop-ups on this page for 'Test Santa's Catholic IQ'

doulosg's picture

But I continually work at training my eyes not to see most ads. My favorite irritation though, are the ads for the product I just ordered.

rohnski's picture

But like Doug, I actively ignore any ads that slip through.
My "favourite" spam comes from my favourite software maker (NOT!). That is MS. They are constantly spamming me to install Edge, even though they have already force installed it (with no option of uninstalling it).
Very annoying. Especially when I consider it malware:
. * it installs without asking
. * it cannot be uninstalled
. * it hijacks / over-rides Windows default for 2 of my file extensions

Fortunately I got help to overcome one of those default issues.
Apparently, when Edge is installed, it is assigned default for PDF, but it does not appear in the Windows defaults. You have to go back and re-assign your preferred application.

randyh2's picture

Hmm... sounds like the long johns we wore in the winter in Saskatchewan as kids!
No tartan though... just cream/white flannel, one piece.