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Annoying Pop-Up Ad

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Pop-up ads are probably the most infamous type of Internet Ads. They show up out of nowhere, waste RAM, have some sort of inane product or deal you don't care about, may link to malware or other harmful crap, and take a couple precious seconds to close with a small "x" located in the window's corner (and sometimes, you may not even find it). Naturally, they can be used as a way to cause annoyance in media.

Please keep examples limited to In-Universe use or game mechanics (which can oftentimes overlap with Interface Screw) deliberately intended to have this effect. We understand how much of a nuisance they are (which is why you can report particularly bad ones on this site in this thread or purchase an Ad-Free pass for 20$ per year), but this is not the place to complain.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Gundam Build Divers: Emilia entered the Nadeshiko-athlon despite not caring about the reward to become GBN's image girl because a pop-up ad for the competition appeared on a window she was using the reflection of to admire her earrings, and a passing-by Karuna said it didn't suit her. Emilia believed he meant she wasn't good enough to win the competition (he was actually talking about the earrings she was already considering replacing) and slammed the ad's "enter" button to join the competition and restore her pride.

  • The Bolt Chronicles: When Mittens goes onto Penny's computer in "The Autobiography," her first of many ill-advised actions is to inadvertently shut down the machine's safety features, which includes disabling the pop-up blocker. Not surprisingly, pop-up ads swamp the computer soon enough, as Penny discovers when she gets online later.
  • Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space. When Buster Kincaid is piloting a Humongous Mecha in "The Old Equations", his holographic gunsight keeps getting obscured by pop-up adds.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Live Free or Die Hard: Weaponized when Playful Hacker Matt tries to slow down the Big Bad by bombarding his computer with popup ads, forcing him to clear them out before he can use it.
  • Ready Player One (2018): One of the things that IOI plans on doing upon taking over the OASIS is to install these on players' goggles, to the point where it could cause sensory overload.
  • Played for Horror in Unfriended. As it's set on Blaire's computer screen, she is annoyed by multiple ads all the way through, especially when she's trying to call for help or figure out what's going on. In a Rewatch Bonus, one of the pop-up "porn" ads is actually footage of Blaire and Adam having sex after she promised Mitch they didn't.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Chappelle's Show featured a skit depicting the internet as a real place. During his travels inside the 'net, Dave unwittingly stumbles upon a pop-up ad that keeps re-appearing, temporarily trapping him in a loop, and driving him nuts.
    (Dave walks by an Obstructive Bureaucrat and a roulette croupier)
    Dave: No.
    Croupier: Gambling~
    Dave: No thanks.
    (A pop-up appears, repeating the scene)
    Dave: (annoyed grumble)
    Croupier: Gambling~
    Dave: (more annoyed sounding snarl)
    (Another pop-up appears, repeating the scene)
    Dave: (shouting over Bureaucrat) "DEBT CONSOLIDATION"! "GAMBLING"! ENOUGH! ENOUGH WITH THE POP-UPS! Dicks!
    • And at the end of the skit...
    (The same scene with the Obstructive Bureaucrat and a roulette croupier, this time, Dave punches both of them out as he enters)
  • In Cybervillage, Galinasuddenly interrupts a talk to her husband with a medicine ad.
  • Parks and Recreation: In the episode "The Trial of Leslie Knope", Ron is frustrated when he visits a website to buy something and gets a pop-up ad saying "Hey, Ron Swanson: Check Out This Great Offer!!", though the main source of his anguish appears to be the fact it knows his name due to the cookies on his computer.
  • Star Trek: Picard: When La Sirena reaches Freecloud in "Stardust City Rag", everyone (except Elnor) gets hit with holographic pop-up ads — a starship garage for Rios, high tea for Picard, rock-em sock-em robots for Jurati, and a drug emporium for Raffi.
  • The Bad Janet Void in The Good Place is full of garbage and everything is backwards so asking for the shitty music's volume to turn down just turns it up, and of course the computer to search Bad Janet's Void automatically does a software update and then throws up a lot of pop-ups. It eventually does the search, you fat dink, but it's annoying as hell.

    Video Games 
  • In Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!, the Downloadable Content expansion Claptastic Voyage has you enter Claptrap's mind to retrieve the H-Source. In the first few areas, random pop-up ads and spam will literally pop out of the ground, with an option to pay money to make them go away. Though, you can just move around them, or interact/hit the little red X in the corner to dismiss them. They can actually prove to be helpful by providing cover to hide behind. There are also the Adbug enemies that deal no damage but beam a translucent banner ad into the players' view.
  • Deltarune's Poppup enemy is an embodiment of them. It can use birds to damage you and have ads show up as Interface Screw for the Bullet Board. It has multiple spare conditions, like blocking ads, having other team members click on them by accident, or making so many show up it causes them to crash.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's:
    • Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator has sponsorship deals you can accept to gain more money, but you get a screen-filling ad related to them during the night. It produces noise and makes the terminal unusable for four to five seconds, after which it becomes skippable.
    • Ultimate Custom Night: El Chip bombards the player with one of three ads for El Chip's Fiesta Buffet, with their frequency depending on how high his difficulty is set. Each one lasts seven seconds and produces noise that triggers sound-based animatronics, but you can press the "Skip" button or Enter to end it early.
  • The Impossible Quiz Book's Question 94 has browser windows show up every few seconds, promoting things like Frank emotes, power-ups, and dead animal photography. None of the answers are actually correct and most of the ads are too good to be true, so you have to click on the one with supposed X-rated pics to proceed.
  • Kill The Popups: As the title suggests, the goal is closing the various ad pop-ups that show up on screen. Clicking one makes three more spawn, and if too many of them are present at the same time, you get a fake BSoD and a game over.
  • Neopets: Advert Attack is a minigame where you need to race your character's rocket to the other end of the screen, but you keep getting blocked by popup ads placed by the villains you need to close or move to get to the "go" button.
  • Poptropica: Mocktropica Island is an Internal Deconstruction of Poptropica itself, featuring the game under new management by a money-hungry company. One of these changes is the addition of regular pop-up ads, which advocate Bribing Your Way to Victory. Later in the island, the ad manager introduces "the most obtrusive ad of all time": a flashy, rapidly-moving pop-up that you can't close out of. The only way you can get rid of it is by paying the manager to buy up all the game's ad space, which you don't use.
  • Progressbar 95 has these, of course as part of it being a parody of various O Ses (Including Be OS), they're even called "Annoying Pop-Ups" and somehow show up on Progressbar 1.0, when Pop-Ups didn't really exist yet. They can range from just doing nothing but potentially being in the way of your bar, to causing the system to crash if touched. Thankfully they all can be closed.
  • Parodied in the Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People episode "8-Bit is Enough". When the video game worlds merge with Free Country USA, Homestar becomes a UI element, and at one point pops up saying "Congratulations! You won a free MP3 player! Click here for low, low rates."
  • There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension has a few of these in the Allegedly Free Game chapter. As with everything else in the game, messing around with them is part of the puzzle. They also double as Shout Outs to other well-known indie games.
  • WarioWare: Get It Together!: The "Pop-Up Patrol" microgame involves removing ad windows so a nebulous user can use a social media website.

    Web Animation 
  • Animator vs. Animation:
    • In "Animator vs Animation II", the animator is so fed up by pop-up ads, that once he defeats the Chosen One, he turns him into a glorified pop-up blocker.
    • In "Animation vs. YouTube", the stick figures have to deal with a few ads that pop up while they are watching YouTube. Later when they are fighting the website itself, ads interrupt the fight, and both sides express their disdain before skipping the ad and resuming their fight.
    • The Actual Short "Pop-ups" shows the Second Coming getting increasingly frustrated with pop-ups appearing on the animator's computer. When one appears that steals clips from the animations to promote a mobile game, the Second Coming gets so infuriated that he starts smashing them all with a giant hammer.
  • Played with in DEATH BATTLE!. In the episode "Deadpool vs. Pinkie Pie", where both combatants can break the fourth wall, an ad pops up during the battle, and Pinkie Pie grabs it to use as a shield to defend against Deadpool's attack. This is what tips Deadpool off that both of them see past the fourth wall.
Deadpool: Wait wait wait wait, woah. You see those things too?
Pinkie Pie: Yeah! I mean, usually, they're kind of annoying, but...
  • In the Strong Bad Email episode "Virus", one of the effects of the eponymous virus is to spawn many pop-up ads with a previous design of Homestar Runner saying the secret code from "Homestar Talker", an old game, and the title bar of each reading "Click on the Monkey!!" One of these ads may even spawn outside of the toon and in the viewer's browser. Naturally, Strong Bad frustratedly screams when the pop-ups pop up.

  • The Order of the Stick manages to make reference to this trope via Redcloak summoning a Quinton. Among other computer-service references, Redcloak ops for "ad-supported summoning" when he casts the gate spell; this means that the costs of the Quinton's services are lower, but it'll also bring up minions to imitate pop-up ads whenever Team Evil mentions a related topic.

    Web Original 
  • CollegeHumor: Lampooned in the video "Porn Site Strip Club". Among other internet peculiarities, such as age restrictions being easily surpassed by underage users and time-limited previews, the main character is harassed by a crossdressing man who appears out of nowhere with a "pop" sound and worries that his computer will get a virus. At the end, ten more copies of the guy appear at once.
  • The very first thing Kirito sees once entering a virtual reality MMO in Sword Art Online Abridged is a whole bunch of pop-up ads. This is the only time they appear, presumably because the sponsors pulled out as soon as it became a death game; after all, players can't buy products if they can't leave.

    Western Animation 
  • Animaniacs (2020): In Season 2, the Warners are terrorized by a pop-up ad that chases them out of their computer and attacks them with spam. Not even the Warners are capable of defeating it.
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force: In "Interfection", Master Shake’s careless websurfing wakes an Internet demon called the Www.yzzerdd(.com) and gets Frylock’s computer infested with these; they eventually break out of the confines of the monitor and start appearing in real life.
  • Family Guy: In "HTTPete", Peter simulates this for Chris after the Internet is destroyed (by him), through the use of multiple curtains (to Chris' annoyance).
  • Futurama: When the gang enters the internet (a form of Cyberspace in the series) in "A Bicyclops Built For Two", they have to fight off physical manifestations of pop-up adverts.
  • Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil: In "Only the Loan-ly", an ad pops up on the computer Gunther's using just as Kick states he needs speed, power, and something to make Bonesaw go up the Dead Man's Drop. The former complains that stupid ads like this one never provide anything useful, until the boys realise that the promoted engine is just what they need. Unfortunately, after they loan cash from Brianna and buy it, it turns out to be useless.
  • Looney Tunes: One short had Porky Pig working in an office. In trying to complete his work, he kept getting interrupted by a pop-up ad for food. It ended up irritating him so much he chose to complete his work on a typewriter instead.
  • Phineas and Ferb: In the episode "Tour de Ferb", Dr. Doofenshmirtz develops the Pop-Up-Inator, a device meant to post annoying pop-up ads for products he's selling all over the Tri-State Area, which actually physically show up.
  • Regular Show: In "Skips vs. Technology", Skips tries to repair the computer for Mordecai and Rigby. Having little experience with IT, he does more harm than good and the computer gets corrupted with viruses. Various pop-ups appear on screen but Skips tries to downplay it to avoid admitting defeat.
  • Rick and Morty: In "The Old Man and the Seat", Rick's intern Glootie, as well as Jerry and Morty stop the chaos of Jerry's Lovefinderrz app by putting in a patch that hides the app behind an obtrusive adwall. Summer and all the other Lovefinderrz users delete the app in frustration.
  • South Park: Parodied in the episodes "Sponsored Content" and "Truth and Advertising". The plot revolves around the abundance of online ads and their growing intelligence due to programming and algorithms. The ads actually become sentient, and we see their intrusiveness best displayed in scenes with annoying pop-ups.