There were a bunch of ads that were noteworthy for one reason or another. These don't actually win anything, just a special mention for being clever, as follows:
The Attempted Flattery Award goes to Niche, for this non-haiku which cleverly seeks to hide its own utter lack of haiku structure behind frequent mentions of your truly. I'm touched. It doesn't even qualify for the contest, but I'm touched nonetheless.
The award for Least Haiku-Like Haiku (given that the above ad didn't seem to even be trying) goes to wltr for this 4-3-6 beauty. If you still needed evidence that the human brain is a truly amazing thing, I point to the fact that we can even distinguish that as an attempt at haiku. 'Nuff said. ;-)
The Self-Hatred Award for the haiku which is most hostile to its own form goes to spiralx's bovine entry. As kuran42 put it, "absolutely no one was enlightened."
The hard-fought race for Most Half-Ass Attempt to Include a Season Word was won by a nose in the last line of a humble lich's ad for InTune . I'm afraid that "in't" is not actually a valid contraction. Otherwise, I'm sure it would have been in contention for the big prize. Yup. Quite sure.
And rounding out the special mentions is a tie for Best Found Haiku for two ads that, were it not for the contest, no one would have even realized were haiku. seebs' Custom Computers (take out the slash, and it's just an everyday ad, like magic!), and lastfish's Redcode Warrior ad, which I'm still not sure is supposed to be a haiku at all. It is a perfect 5-7-5 though. Was that on purpose or not?
Ok, with the goofy stuff out of the way, it's time to get to the real winners. I couldn't bring myself to just say "here's the winner and that's all," so instead I'm changing the rules at the very last second, and announcing not one but three winners, in the traditional win, place, and show slots. You might know them as first second and third. Third place will get a complementary 4,000 impressions, and second place 8,000. First will of course receive the original grand prize 20,000 free impresssions.
And the winners are...
Third prize goes to gnovos for his ad, programming java.
steaming mugs of fresh brewed code
chill, jobless winter.
Drawing together earthy, wintry images, gnovos skillfully creates the mood of the unemployed programmer, a feeling many of us can perhaps sympathize with. The play on java the language/java the drink, while not altogether original, is subtly done and apropos. If you are in the market for a programmer with some culture and refinement, I'd have to say gnovos is your man.
Second prize goes to adrianhon for this excellent ad for New Mars.
With whispering winds
Our Martian future awaits
Like buds under snow
The "whispering winds" in the first line will surely resonate with any science fiction reader and, cued by the title, immediately suggest terraforming and the possibility and promise of a fresh planet, empty of activity but tense with the knowlege of a future and a new beginning. This is borne out in the second line which offers a satisfying confirmation. The final line draws together the hope alluded to at the start, and the image of the snow which perhaps is the cold restraint of the current space exploration climate weighing down and freezing these buds of potential.
The ad is imbued with a sense of the conspicuous stillness of a yearning held tightly in check which perfectly captures the small but increasingly vocal efforts of Mars exploration proponents. There is a sense of action held back by stifling beauracracy, a tightly-wound coil ready to spring into action at any moment. Fine work.
And the moment you've all been waiting for... First prize goes to cyclopatra for her Foresight Institute ad.
Today we all wear
Clothing made of rice paper
Naked in the rain
The two major themes here are past/present and nature/technology, and they're both handled with great subtlety and maturity. "Today" implies that the poem refers to the present time, but the rest of the first two lines immediately contradict our common experience, creating a tension of time-frame, and setting up the "message from the future" feeling that blends in well with the Foresight Institute's mission.
Branching off from that intial tension is a secondary layer, with "clothing made from rice paper" beginning the nature/technology theme. Most of us, today, wear clothing made from petroleum or cotton. The second line points toward a future where, perhaps, nature and human technology are more in balance.
And finally, "Naked in the rain" ends with a refreshing note, reinforcing the harmony with nature theme and suggesting a cleansing, possibly of the human experience in the world.
Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to everyone who entered. I'll be in touch with the winners by email to work out how to claim their prizes. I think we'll be keeping the haiku ad type, because I get a kick out of it. So if it strikes your fancy, keep the haikus coming. Of course, regular ads are always welcome too. :-)