Back around 20 years ago, my friend, Clint Stewart, noticed that whenever he saw an advertisement for a digital alarm clock, it almost always showed the time 12:08. We'd see this in catalogs, newspaper advertisements and often on the clocks themselves. I recall buying a digital alarm clock in college and having to peel off the "12:08" sticker that had been applied to it, presumably so that the customer would understand that the clock was indeed capable of displaying some sort of time.
This was quite a mystery for us. Why 12:08? Was it a biblical reference? A warning? An effort by the powerful alarm-clock lobby to cause confusion across the land?
These days 12:08 seems to have fallen out of fashion. A quick perusal on the web shows all sorts of times, mostly in the 12:3x family (12:34 and 12:38 are popular choices). Although the Sony's and the Casio's of the world have forgotten about 12:08, I have not.
So, I ask you all, why 12:08? Why did this time so completely dominate the digital clock advertising landscape 20 years ago? I have my theory, but I'd like to hear yours, oh dear reader(s).