Marketing Missteps: 35+ Ads That Are Memorable For The Wrong Reasons
Once upon a time, ads were put out into the world that impressed consumers and withstood the test of time. Well, today, we aren’t going to discuss those that were successful in the advertising world. Oh no, we’ll be diving into some hilariously weird, terrible ads. And the products advertised aren’t any better; they may terrify, confuse or make you laugh so hard you’ll fall out of your chair.
Leo Burnett, an advertising executive, once said, “I am one who believes that one of the greatest dangers of advertising is not that of misleading people, but that of boring them to death.” We’ll tell you one thing; you definitely won’t be bored with these. Make sure your phones are fully charged because you’ll want to see all of these ads. That’s all, folks. Have fun!
Ah! What has this pizzeria done to our beloved Dwight from The Office? We bet Jim Halpert took a job there just so he could do this to him. That sounds plausible. Remember the stapler in the jelly prank? In all seriousness, this could put people off pizza.
When you look at this, does your brain immediately think, “Mmm this looks so good. I could go for a slice”? If you’re like us, the answer is a hard “no.” No one wants to see hair on their pizza. It’s just off-putting.
What is better than a glass of pilk to wash down some cookies? What is that, you ask? Pilk is Pepsi mixed with milk. Sounds super delicious, doesn’t it? Just kidding. We think people should just stick to drinking those things separately or at least make an ice cream float.
If someone left this out for Santa, he’ll take his stocking full of presents and ho ho ho right outta there. Or maybe it tastes just like an ice cream float. Go try some pilk and cookies; it might become your new favorite combo.
The Ultimate Driving Machines
Have you ever dreamed of driving a luxury vehicle? Well, it’s your lucky day because this company is practically giving these SUVs away. If you don’t mind the bird’s nest in the windshield, and the dents, then this could be your dream car.
We’re curious how much they are charging for these hunks of junk. Seriously they think they can just throw in the word “luxury,” and people will say ooh la la, how amazing. We are not surprised it says “unsold” in the ad.
Breakfast For Dinner
Are you tired of healthy dinners that’ll help your kids grow? If so, then here’s a bowl of cereal that won’t fill you up. Kids might thank their parents at first, but if they give this to them often, they’ll be asking for the veggies back.
It’s quite strange that they advertised this as a meal for dinner. We get that students have this in college or when you are having a fun breakfast for dinner thing, but they should stick with the “We do breakfast” ad.
How Much Is That Human Doggy in the Window?
Prepare yourselves to see something more terrifying than any clown, spider, or whatever you are afraid of. It’s a dog/person. As you can see at the bottom, a lady commented, “Precious pup and post.” Girl, what? It would be precious if didn’t have human eyes and teeth.
It looks like it says, “Hey I wanna go for a walk,” instead of barking and leading you to the door. Do you have chills? ‘Cause we certainly do. Good luck not letting this keep you awake at night. Shouldn’t this be on the list of banned ads?
Buffalo Bill, Is That You?
We take what we said about the dog one back. This is the scariest thing we have ever seen. The ad says that this is a costume for all celebrations. We’ll tell you right now, if someone showed up to a birthday party in this, we would not give them a slice of cake.
Say there was a Halloween costume contest for the scariest costume, this would take home the prize. We feel that this is even a bit too scary for Halloween. Please don’t go trick or treating in this. You’ll just frighten the kids.
This health department had to put a reminder that children and chainsaws don’t mix. Umm, what happened? Why did they have to post this? If kids are destructive with crayons, we would hate to know what they would get up to with a chainsaw.
You’d expect the things that don’t mix column to include more Christmassy stuff like mashed potatoes and Christmas cookies or brussels sprouts and hot cocoa. You know what should be on this list? The pilk and cookies that we talked about earlier.
Butts Up Box
For only $595, this odd-looking pair-shaped ornament can be yours. This “Butts up box” can be used as a jewelry holder or to present snacks to guests. Who wants to stare at an alien’s behind the whole day, though? Not us!
You may be wondering why it costs a fortune. It’s because it’s made from porcelain and has 24K gold accents. Ooh fancy, but we’d rather use that money for, you know, rent. Well, if you have money to burn and want an interesting conversation starter, you know where to shop.
Get your sparkle on this season with a… rolling pin? Wow, what an exciting thing to spoil yourself with during the holidays, we said sarcastically. You probably thought it was a hot dog, didn’t ya? So did we. Honestly, a hot dog would’ve been better.
This item is being advertised under “holiday décor for less.” If it doesn’t sparkle or twinkle, then it isn’t much of a décor item in our book. It just looks like, as we said before, a hot dog without mustard or a bun. Great, now we’re craving a hot dog.
Oh no. This company used Adam Levine’s leaked DMs to promote themselves. Tsk tsk tsk, he was literally telling another woman how attractive he found her while he’s married. We all know they wouldn’t actually be able to get him to promote their company, but c’mon, this is a bit inappropriate.
We have to admit it’s a little creative, but considering how upset the internet was with him, we don’t think it was a good idea for them to have used this for an ad. Some people were even boycotting his concerts, so we can’t picture people being thrilled to see this.
Brotion, Lotion for Men
This ad looks like they are promoting toxic masculinity, but before you get mad, this brand is known for having this type of humor. If this ad wasn’t joking about the brotion to “moisture like a man,” then we would insert the eye-rolling emoji.
We don’t know if they’re being serious about the scents, though. One literally says “Pine Tar.” This reminds us of the ridiculous colognes in Monsters Inc. Guys can smell like pine tar and fresh falls, while women get to have the scent of lavender fields and rose blooms.
Here’s some beard growth serum that’s so good that even a baby can grow facial hair. The image of a baby with a full-grown beard just makes us feel uncomfortable. It’s like seeing those images where people have photoshopped teeth onto their infants.
Leo Burnett once said about advertisements, “Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read.” This ad got one thing right; it’s truly memorable. It’s also funny how they put, “Keep out of the reach of children” on there.
Polly wants a Lamb
These tablets can apparently help with many things, including turning you into a half bird, half tiger. It really was an odd choice to put that creature in their ad. Does it make sense? No. Is it attention-grabbing? One hundred percent, but that doesn’t mean people will like it.
Many brands have animal mascots like Coco Pops has the monkey and Cheetos has a cheetah, but they’re not terrifying. Luckily this is not actually on the bottle. Do you think Coco Pops would’ve been so popular if they advertised their cereal with a half horse, half monkey? We don’t think so.
Get Your Banana Ducks in a Row
There’s been a sighting of banana duck lawn ornaments on Facebook Marketplace! We’ll take all of them. Just kidding. It might give the neighbors nightmares, so we’d rather have regular gnomes in our front yard. It’s hilarious to imagine that someone thought the one thing the world is missing is banana duck statues.
This looks like something a person would see in a fever dream or a Tim Burton film. Remember when Violet turned into a blueberry in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? Instead, these ducks turned into bananas. We could see people having a love-hate relationship with this.
Maximize the Mane
Roar like a lion and take supplements for hair growth like a lion. Wait, what? Something doesn’t sound right there. Welp, life is full of surprises. First, we had the bearded baby, and now a sad-looking lion without its mane.
What ad are we going to see next? A giraffe needing growth hormones? Nature intended lions to have a full thick head of hair, not to go bald in their late forties. Men can rock a bald head but not a lion in the jungle. Phew, at least they edited it back on.
Feet For Sale
Apparently people collect silicone feet. Uh-uh, this is a bit disturbing. We’re impressed and freaked out at the same time that these look so realistic. The item description gives a few examples of what it can be used for, such as practicing nail art or tattoos. We hope that’s what people are buying it for.
Guess what? This is currently sold out. Who knew a product like this would be in such high demand. Ooh, you know what this would be perfect for? A Halloween decoration. It’s spooky, so it would be perfect for the spookiest season of the year.
Aldi vs. Sainsbury
Aldi is known for their really good prices, and now what some consumers are calling “smug ads.” They weren’t thrilled about Sainsbury’s price-matching strategy, but this comparison is just random. We just look at this and think, why a dragon and a pixelated dinosaur?
They posted more ads like this, and in our opinion, the others were better. They had one of the Sydney Opera House to represent their company and next to it, a pile of dishes to represent Sainsbury. They should’ve just taken the high road and not posted any of this.
All I Want For Christmas Isn’t You
Ah, the holidays, a time when wonderful memories are created with loved ones. According to this newspaper ad, it can also be the perfect time to consider divorce. Do yourself a favor and read what they have written. It’s funny how they paired a cheerful picture with a somber message. It’s also a little misleading.
We wouldn’t recommend divorce during the holiday season unless you want your child to end up like Chandler Bing on Friends. His parents announced their divorce on Thanksgiving, and he ended up hating the holiday. That can easily happen in real life. You don’t want to be the reason your kid can’t celebrate a holiday.
Many people find themselves lying awake at night cringing at the very thought of having participated in some trends created by the fashion industry. We hope these advertised joots don’t become a thing. Always remember, just because Kylie Jenner wore it doesn’t mean you have to as well.
This ad popped up on someone’s Facebook, so for some reason, the algorithm thinks they would like to purchase a piece of denim that costs a whopping $1,000. We don’t see the point of this; just wear boots with a pair of jeans. It’s a timeless classic!
Calling All Foodies
This ad says, “Why have abs when you can have kebabs?” Why does it need to be a choice? People can have both. Plus, meat and veggies on a stick are pretty healthy. Oh, and is anyone else reading “kebabs” in a strange way because of how they rhymed it?
There are T-shirts that have a print on them that says, “Why have a six-pack when you can have a barrel.” See, that makes sense. Beer is known to cause bloating, but veggies and meat are often part of a diet to help you get fit.
Alarmingly Strong Tights
We spy with our little eye something beginning with C. Yes, it’s cheese! What we bet you couldn’t have guessed was that you were going to see a block of dairy in tights. We’ve seen cheese on pizza and cheese on a board but nothing like this.
Admittedly, it took us some time to figure out what this ad is for. All we saw were the blocks of cheese. We didn’t even notice it was an ad for tights. Believe it or not, this isn’t the weirdest one in the bunch. There’s one with oil and another with sharp objects.
Catwoman, is that you? If the costume is not on Halle Berry, Zoe Kravitz, Anne Hathaway, Michelle Pfeiffer, or any other actress that played the character, then it just doesn’t look right, especially on a teddy bear made for kids.
This company has created an adults-only plush collection. Surprisingly this isn’t part of it. But what is going on? What happened to the kid-friendly brand? Our childhood feels like it’s ruined now. Be right back; just going to go cry for a second.
Learn algebra and you’ll be able to throw a fireball! Sadly, this is real life, not Avatar: The Last Airbender. At least we know the quadratic formula is correct. The only thing off about this ad is the fireball, but it’s good to know they can do math.
This is false advertising. Some kid or even adult will be really disappointed that they didn’t develop these powers after learning all these formulas. They’ll feel like they worked hard for nothing. They’re smart; if they can do algebra then they can put some more effort into decent ads!
They Don’t Know I’m On a Dating App
How do ads magically make people really angry? By misusing a popular meme, that’s how. What they should’ve said is, “They don’t know I’m on a dating app.” That’s how the meme is supposed to go. Just know if you try to alter something that is popular, the internet will be salty about it.
Do you think this is cringy, or is it just us? We feel that they were trying to be all hip and happening by saying lol and literally, but most youngsters don’t speak like that, especially 18-year-olds and older, which is their target audience.
Just Call Him Raj
Do you want your advertisements to leave the public confused? Then just make it a meme. Most people aren’t familiar with memes, so if they look at an ad that has tried to recreate one, it will just go right over their heads. The best jokes are the ones you have to explain. Not!
The joke is that his mother named his sister after something she loves, so the dad named him after his favorite restaurant. When you know what the “Why is my sister named Rose” meme is about, then you’ll probably love this ad.
Man of Yogurt
“Full tummy” and “din-din”—those words were not written in an ad for baby food. No sir, that is in an ad for “Man of Yogurt.” Pfft, first the lotion for men, and now this. We will never forget this ad, no matter how hard we try.
We love yogurt, and we think this actor, Dominic Purcell, is great, but we have to say n to the o to the baby talk. It’s not cute when couples do it, and it definitely isn’t cute in this ad. Hashtag Man of Yoghurt Hashtag This ad makes us cringe.
We have all heard that honesty is the best policy and blah blah blah, but we don’t need to see “not healthy” all over a package. Seriously it almost feels like they are warning us not to eat it. They might as well have put a hazard sign on there.
What scares us the most isn’t what could be in this snack to make it so unhealthy, it’s the one flavor on there, hot chocolate. We’re all for sweet and salty, but that doesn’t sound like a good combo. Anyway, back to the ad; we appreciate the honesty, but it’s unnecessary.
Cómo se dice, how do you say, “Mom, come pick us up, we’re scared of this ad”? How is it legal to put all this scary stuff in an advertisement? We’re talking about you, buff owl. Ha, but they’re not wrong, this will be living rent-free in our head for many years to come.
Their mascot is so cute; why on earth did they have to make this? We’ll forgive them when they make another ad campaign like the one where the owl is wearing a beret and saying, “Calling all Emily’s.” When you go to bed, goodnight, sweet dreams, we hope you don’t see this in your sleep.
“All I want for Christmas is a cheeky lad with good banter.” That’s it, we need to contact Mariah Carey right away to change the lyrics to her hit song to this masterpiece. Oh, but she just mustn’t use the same picture this ad did. They look like the characters from the horror movie Smile.
No offense to these lovely models, but could they be any more uncomfortable in front of the camera? This is how kids pose when they are forced to take a picture on vacay. We know this is only an ad for a dating app, but it wouldn’t hurt to do some vogue poses, don’t you agree?
Eye of the Panther
“Gaze into the eyes of the panther.” No, we’re good thanks, it just looks awkward. We know the ad is meant to be all about the jewelry, but all we can focus on is the hilarious way they made this model pose.
A fancy brand calls for a fancy ad, and this one falls short of the mark. Have you ever seen how impressive Taylor Swift’s music videos are? Well, they need to think on a Taylor Swift level for their advertisements.
Smell Like a Man
“Men, men, men, men, manly, men” use bar Dove soap, too. That’s what we think should be an ad instead. We approve of the “all-natural soap, no chemicals,” but the rest of it is just bad. What does it even mean to “smell like a man”?
It says it’s “approved by women.” Yeah, sure, we believe you. Most women don’t approve of the 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner that guys use, so why would they approve of this bar of soap that says it is made with pheromones. The brotion people were kidding, but we feel these people are dead serious.
Nasal Spray for Joint Pain
This ad says, ”Arthritis relief or your money back.” We’ll need our cashback, please. We’re not doctors, but nasal spray works for sinusitis. We’re doubtful that it would help with arthritis. Something topical or local would do the trick, we bet.
Surprisingly on their site, they have a five-star rating for their product. It’s either fake reviews or the product really does work wonders. We would need to test it to believe it. It still sounds incredulous that a spray in our nose can help with joint pain.
The Ultimate Sleep Tracker
Do you not have a partner to tell you how many times you farted in your sleep? Here is an app that was made for you. Why do you need to know that info, you may be wondering. To embarrass you that’s why.
Get some shut-eye, and in the morning you’ll have a present waiting for you. It’s all the recordings of how many times you farted, woke up screaming from a nightmare, and snored. That’s nice. This app will make you never want to fall asleep next to another human again.
Confused Math Dog
We hate to include little Duke on this list. We blame Bush’s marketing team for this one. He is cute and all, but this meme must be left to the “confused math lady.” It’s like if someone had to recreate the Mona Lisa. It’s just not the same as the original artwork.
We get that this is an ad for beans, but why would someone try to steer the conversation to that? People might not know that he is their spokes-dog and think this is silly that they put a dog instead of a person. Oh well, it’s really not the worst one we’ve seen.
Spoonful of Eye
Boo! Did we scare you? If that didn’t, this certainly will. A spoonful of sugar, as Julie Andrews sings, helps the medicine go down. That would’ve been better than a spoonful of eye. This ad just gives us the heebie-jeebies.
The text translates to, “Improve your vision in three days. Now you can see even the smallest objects and read without glasses.” What are they implying? That we should rub Aloe vera in our eyes. Please don’t do that by the way.
Zero For Creativity
We’ve got the most creative person here. Just kidding. Actually, they put no effort into this whatsoever. They’re getting a zero from the judges for creativity. All they did was tape over a vintage Pokémon binder and crossed out the Charmander. They want $500 dollars for this. They have some nerve.
Magic and Pokémon do have a lot in common. They’re both trading card games, and the cards are the same sizes, so that explains why they put them in this folder. We just think they could’ve jazzed it up somehow. For what they’re asking they could’ve designed a more professional-looking cover.
(Legal) Night-Time Sleep Supplements
The funniest ad you’ll see [legally]. Doesn’t that sound suspect? Exactly. “The sleepiest thing you’ll swallow [legally];” that’s what they’re advertising. Why did they have to word it like that? This isn’t the only thing that’s bizarre just take a look at their name. They must pardon their French.
Besides the whole odd “legally” comment, it’s great that they mention in their ad that it’s non-habit forming. But here comes the big but—experts say that it’s best not used long-term. At the end of the day though, it is your body, your choice.
Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian philosopher, remarked, “Advertising is the greatest art form of the 20th century.” We doubt he would’ve said that if he had seen this ad. We would’ve preferred to have a picture of this sausage gravy that can make your soul leave your body than the creepy dude in the background.
This ad tried so hard to be funny, but we’re not laughing. The longer we look at this ad, the more creeped out we get. Right now, it would be nice if we had that neuralyzer that erases a memory from Men in Black so that we could forget all about this one.
This Ain’t Fashion Sweetie
Another meme? Oh boy, we want to scream. When are these companies gonna learn that ads and memes don’t mix. The “Steal his look” meme is all about recreating bad outfits with really expensive items. One may assume that they really want us to steal his look.
If they didn’t post this in a joking way, then we’d say this isn’t fashion sweetie. This outfit definitely wouldn’t get you an invite to the Met Gala. Also why would anyone want to buy an expensive version when they can just go work there and get it for free.
Bigger Isn’t Always Better
Oh lookie here, the giant gorilla from King Kong needed to do some laundry, so he had a bottle of detergent made on a large-scale 3D printer. They seriously chose this out of all the creations they could’ve advertised. That’s hysterical. We don’t see anyone using their services to get that designed.
Bigger isn’t always better. Bottles of laundry detergent should remain at a smaller scale. We expected to see a large-scale printing service advertise something like a 3D-printed piece of furniture, which can be done FYI. That would’ve been a lot cooler to see.
Stay in School Kids
We present to you another shocking ad. This one is about why kids can’t have jobs. It is fairly obvious why they can’t. They need to be in school learning how to read, write and have fun. Stay in school kids.
The photo just adds fuel to the fire. It looks like they’re suggesting that kids want to go off and work. Last time we checked, kids want to watch cartoons and play outside with their friends. They don’t sit there daydreaming about working all day every day.
Sharks Won’t Bite This Product
Another ad, another slay… we’d say if this was actually good. Which it isn’t. They have a text written there that says, “It works so well and so badly.” That’s not something you wanna hear about a product. We also have to say we don’t support unhealthy weight loss habits. Sorry not sorry.
This ad has the sharks from Shark Tank on there. This is definitely photoshopped. There were fake advertisements going around claiming that the Sharks invested in their Keto pills, and we think this product got the same idea. In fact, Lori Grenier says she’s never done a Keto or diet product ever. Don’t fall for scams people!
Memorial Pet Painting Ad
British advertising executive, David Ogilvy once said, “When I write an advertisement I don’t want you to tell me that you find it ‘creative’. I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product.” We wouldn’t call this ad interesting, it’s sad. We say this in the nicest way possible.
We’ve seen ads that have confused, frightened, and now made us cry. We must say their drawings are absolutely incredible, but some people weren’t as impressed by their ad. Maybe they were expecting a hand-drawn ad in their style, and that’s why they were disappointed by this.
Visualize Your Imagination
Close your eyes and visualize your imagination. That’s what this ad wants us to do. We have one question for them, how does one even do that? Most of these ads and products have one thing in common, they are strange with a capital S.
Would you be able to figure out what this ad is for if they just put this image? If you can safely say yes, then we’ll tip our hat to you. It’s hard to tell that it’s an ad for a video game because of the random cat.