Seven of the Worst 2021 Ads
They're not just bad, they insult your intelligence.
If I posted all the “bad” ads I’ve bookmarked, I’d crash Substack’s servers, if not the entire Internet. So: here’s seven that treat you like an idiot.
#1 Yume Coffee (Romania)
Yume is a coffee roastery in Romania. The press note was curt with this campaign: “Combine coffee with masks”. The very hard to read headline says: STOP THE CONTAGION (thanks asshole art director). So WTF is going on here?
I think Yume is saying wear a mask, AND drink Yume coffee—so you don’t yawn (which can spread the contagion?)…But of course you can’t drink coffee with a mask on, and you can’t see a yawn through a proper mask…so…they created clear masks (which makes the yawners look like tired bank robbers)? I think this is the worst connection between Pandemic and Product I’ve seen (so far). I probably should have posted this in the Worst Pandemic Ads post. Like I said, I had a shitpile of shitty ads to sort through. Ad Agency: Cake Agency, Romania.
#2 Bulldog London Dry Gin: “Begin Bold” (Italy)
It’s time again to play: Count The Cliches! Here’s the exact script:
“I used to watch life from the sidelines (1)…I am done fearing failure (2)…No more illusions (eh)…I quit standing in line (3)…I begin to create my own path (4)…To find my vibe (eh)…To focus on here and now (5, Christ)…to stand up from the crowd (6)…I begin to rise and shine (7, LOL)…To make things happen (8)…I follow my rhythm from day til night (eh)…Whatever you begin, begin bold” ( awkward tagline insertion, and what does it mean—unscrew the cap and just chug?).
This may be the most meaningless collection of ad words ever assembled. It doesn’t sell gin; it doesn’t sell anything. A slightly better commercial would have been to eliminate the v/o & copy completely. Agency: Ogilvy, Milan.
#3 Meta “The Tiger & The Buffalo” (USA)
“OK Zuck, we’ve auditioned 100,000 teens and these are the four “coolest” ones in the country”. If this is the “fun” awaiting me in the Metaverse—being eaten by a tiger—hard pass. The painting riffed on here is “Fight between a Tiger and a Buffalo” (1908) by Henri Rousseau (below).
Why the FUCK choose this painting? The buffalo is dead meat. As are we all? Despite the twerking Flamingos and “cool” techno track (“Way In My Brain” by SL2), this ad is CREEPY AS FUCKING HELL! If you look closely, you’ll see Saturn and some weird symbolism thingies in the background. Facebook turned off comments and voting on YouTube. But Redditors had lots to say about the commercial, none of it good (here and here). Media agency: Mindshare.
#4 Snickers: You’re Gay When You’re Hungry (Spain)
Nothing to add here. It’s pure homophobia. Snickers pulled the TV spot pretty quickly. You can read about all the criticism it received in this BBC article.
#5 Dove: “Pride In Every Wash” (Puerto Rico)
Dove, the worldwide Queen (pardon the term) of “Purpose” ads, shows that their soap is Gay As Fuck. From the press release:
“Every time a person washes their hands, Dove’s bubbles form an array of colors moving downward. They show a beautiful, natural rainbow that celebrates (bubbles can’t celebrate) LGBTQ+ pride, every single time (that’s some bullshit). So the team at Arco and Unilever PR captured macro shots of the bubbles to proove (sic) that our soaps show #PrideInEveryWash”
Feel the useless forced support, LGBTQ+ peeps. See the rest of the campaign here. Ad agency: Arco, San Juan.
#6 Discover Card “Simple” (USA)
The Discover card decided to appropriate Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” for their :15 cash back spot. How fucking dare you, Discover? This song, nay anthem, celebrating the wonderfulness that is an ample, round female ass, should never be used in an ad, especially one that is only using it because of the word “back”. I don’t know the ad agency, but fuck them too.
#7 Velveeta: “That’s La Dolce Velveeta”
Definition, La Dolce Vita: a life of indolence and self-indulgence. Definition, indolence: Habitual laziness; sloth.
Velveeta is not cheese (It’s a lot of fat, salt, and preservatives). It is most definitely not “Liquid Gold” (what its proponents call it). Actual cheese, when liquified, is Liquid Gold.
Drinking Velveeta like tea? THAT’S disgusting. The “creative” ad agency here is id’ed as Crispin Porter + Bogusky on ispot.tv. Oh, how they’ve fallen since Alex Bogusky left.
(below) Velveeta tried to stop me from adding them to this list, which made me add them to this list.
ENDING NOTE: The ubiquitous Kate McKinnon Verizon campaign is depressingly depressing. I hope Kate is getting a shit-ton of money because those ads are a shit-ton of shit.