There’s good advertising that makes you convinced you can’t live without the product or service. Then, there's excellent advertising that proves it’s a form of art, just like these mind-bending and clever billboard ads.
And then, you've got hilariously bad advertising. When you see one, you know it. Whether it’s product placing that has gone wrong, a slogan that sounds way off, or an overall design that gives people second and third thoughts, these are the ad fails worthy of the prize.
So let’s buckle up for a fun ride which is basically a masterclass on how not to “create and produce an ad,” as compiled in this list by Bored Panda. Take notes, kids, it’s about to get heavy.
I Pass This Billboard Everyday And Everyday I Think He’s A Vampire
There are so many ways an advertising campaign, a billboard, a print ad, and a commercial can go wrong. But one of the greatest faux pas is “false advertising.” The term refers to ads that use misleading, dishonest, and plain “false” assumptions in their content in order to promote or market products and services.
One should remember to respect the consumers who, as a result of the ad, may feel lied to and fooled. Such negative ads rapidly create a very bad image of a brand, and it can lead to various biases about it.
As a result, sales immediately suffer and it takes ages to gain back consumers’ trust in the brand. Thus, false advertising is one of the most dangerous mistakes you can make while advertising your product and it never, ever pays off.
Another form of unethical advertising is ads that employ misrepresentation of a product or a service in a way that use a subliminal message to fit the brand's hidden agenda. These kinds of ads often use deception and manipulation to make consumers want their product or service and believe they can't live without it.
For example, Reebok launched an infamous “Cheat On Your Girlfriend, Not Your Workout” ad campaign back to 2012 and received immediate backlash. Initially, the ad was intended to motivate consumers, but in turn, it spread the wrong message and encouraged infidelity.
I Think She Should Go To The Hospital Instead Of Booking A Flight
The sportswear brand acknowledged the ad was offensive and pulled it, as many consumers were boycotting the brand. They wrote an open letter that stated: “This form of advertising shows a dishonest and disrespectful attitude towards women and your company should be ashamed to have even placed this ad in various places thinking it would be perceived in any other way.”
Moreover, the Federal Trade Commission deemed the campaign false advertising in its unsubstantiated claims about exercise benefits, and Reebok was made to pay a $25 million fine.
A Bag Of Apples With A Character On It That Got Poisoned By An Apple
Another controversial ad example that made a tremendous negative impact on brand image was the series of ads by Protein World released 5 years ago in London Underground. One of its posters asking "Are you beach body ready?" caused public outrage and even sparked vigilante acts of vandalism.
There were 378 official complaints regarding the body-shaming campaign filed to the UK's Advertising Standards Authority. Moreover, a petition to have the ads removed was launched, and demonstrations followed.
If You’re Going To Use The Dumbbell As An “I” Then You Don’t Need Another “I”
In 2017, Dove released an ad clip on Facebook for Dove body wash where a black woman was pictured removing her top and morphing into a white woman after she used the product. Such portrayal was not only horrendously racist, it promoted “whitewashing” and sparked a well-deserved outrage.
Coming from a powerhouse like Dove, which, according to their slogan, champions "real beauty," the ad seriously damaged the brand's reputation.
I Followed This Bus For 4 Blocks To Wait For It To Pull Over To Share This Beautiful Work Of Art
According to the Online Marketing Institute, “bad commercials often try for a quality that the good ones have, and fall short of the mark, or else lack it completely.” And one of the worst things you can do as a brand building an ad campaign is treating your customers like fools, which “means talking down to them and trivializing their values, beliefs, or experiences.”
Bread So Emo It Slices Itself
I Only Saw The Left Window At First And Got Very Confused
In reality, consumers are humans and a good ad needs a human touch to it to be convincing, appealing, and interesting. Sometimes, though, brands decide to take a shortcut into consumers' hearts by manipulating their feelings, which in turn results in lazy, tone-deaf, and appalling advertising disasters.
The Quotation Marks On This Sign Gives It A Malevolent Undertone
Creating a good ad is somewhat of a form of art, and although mistakes happen even to the best of us, some are forgivable, and others, not so much. In the end, the sales and brand perception tell it all.