08 October, 2010

The Worst Ads in America? Really?

As an avid reader of The Consumerist, I’m a bit baffled that I missed their inaugural “Worst Ad in America” poll. Somehow the celebration of all that rubs consumers the wrong way flew below my radar, and I completely missed out on the voting. It appears that my input into the discussion wasn’t necessary - most of the ones I would've voted for didn't win anyway.

Last week, 30 ad-offenders, from brands as big as McDonalds and as little as 5-Hour Energy, were divvied up into six categories and voted on. When the dust cleared Staples took home the honor for their “WOW! THAT’S A LOW PRICE!” campaign:

The ironic thing about this contest is that, despite these commercials being labeled as the cream-of-the-crap, they all end up doing what an ad's supposed to do: be memorable to the point where it becomes a part of the conversation - and even the cultural consciousness.

Sure it’s a pain in the eardrums to hear “WOW! THAT’S A LOW PRICE!” shouted four times in a row (I enjoyed the one iteration of “HOT DIGGITY DOG”) but it gets the message across: Staples=Low prices. The spots speak to the brief.

Granted, the ads in the contest all have something terrible about them, but in terms of their message and the extent to which the ads succeed, you really can’t question it. We’re still talking about the Toyota Sienna Couple even if we’re saying how weird they’re portrayed to be.

With all that said, I really can’t come up with something good to say about McDonald’s “Not Until I’ve had My Coffee” jerkface ad - winner of the Most Grating Performance by a Human award. Couldn’t stand it, and I’m pretty sure I’m in their target.

So, any campaigns you were surprised to see on the list? Any that weren't?

On the subject of awfulness in advertising: God the Bounty Hunter, Video Game Lame, Local Car Bads.

Sean Sutherland, Associate Account Executive/Arbiter of Bad Taste

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