Awful adverts are just as memorable as good ones, sometimes even more so. Here we present a goldmine of terrible from 2015
Marketing is hard, yes, but common sense should have squashed these disasters.
These Australian anti-marijuana PSAs went viral, but for the wrong reason: people find them absolutely hilarious. The firm that made them says this is a success, but we doubt if a hilarious joke—intentional or not—will seriously sway someone’s opinion on the pot.
8IHOP Boob Joke
Sometimes sexism does sell, but it always makes you look like an idiot regardless. This one-off Tweet from IHOP’s official Twitter account got them more publicity than they were expecting. Sadly, nearly all of it was negative. You know an ad is great when you have to apologize for it.
7Heinz QR Slip-Up
It was innocent enough: Heinz Ketchup ran a contest between 2012 and 2014 linked to a QR code printed on their labels. However, they let the domain lapse and a German porn site picked it up, surprising a customer who scanned the code last year. Apparently, the company kept using the label with the code after the promotion ended.
6Bloomingdales’ Spiked Drinks
In November Bloomingdales unleashed this unfortunate ad upon the world. Yikes. The immediate response from the public was that the department store chain was promoting date rape, which is hard to deny given the look on Sinister Mister’s face there.
5Nationwide Superbowl Ad
This ad is amazing in just how ill-conceived it is. It’s short, so please give it a play.
Yes, an insurance company is trying to make sales on the regrets of a dead child, hoping to exploit every parent’s worst nightmare for profit. Because nothing says Superbowl like emotional manipulation.
4Other Than My Wife
Before going down in a torrent of flame and poor cyber-security, Ashley Madison—the site that helped people have affairs—ran this advert before it was banned:
3(Accidentally) Racist Donuts
Over in the United Kingdom, the fine folks at Krispy Kreme donuts ran a special menu with a different promotion for each day of the week. Wednesday was designated “KKK Wednesday.” Yikes. It was meant to stand for Krispy Kreme Klub but no one would immediately think that.
To advertise The Man in the High Castle, a show that depicts an alternate history where the Axis Powers won WWII, a New York City subway was covered in imagery inspired by Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. This was so well received that the mayor of New York City had to order their removal.
1Woolworth’s Anzac Memorial
On the Anzac memorial holiday Woolworth’s invited Australian and New Zealand customers to honor those who died in combat while also promoting the store’s fresh offerings by submitting an image of someone they wanted to honor to accompany the above text. This was so disastrous that the campaign was pulled in three hours.
I Love Ugly
Clothing brand I Love Ugly decided to double-down on s*xism with print ads that featured the bejeweled hands of men covering female nudity, promoting accusations that the ads reduce women to objects. Again, hard to argue against that.