When Bad Ads Happen to Good People

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When Bad Ads Happen to Good People

6 print ads that got it horribly, horribly wrong.

While print advertisements often provide interesting information on brands, delivered in a witty yet engaging way, they also deliver some first-class laughs when they go horribly, horribly wrong. Some adverts that come into our lives, albeit for a very short amount of time (before they are yanked from the magazines and billboards), are so offensive, counter-intuitive, or downright nonsensical that you have to wonder if the advertisers responsible for them let their toddlers take over for the day while they tried to lower their golf handicaps.

Whatever the reason, we have to be glad that these ads actually saw the light of day, because they make us appreciate quality printing and provide us with some cringe-worthy entertainment all in one fell swoop.

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This advertisement isn’t exactly clear in its message. We see that it’s an appeal for help, but from whom? Perhaps it is from the homeless man in the photo. The expression on his face says it all: “If their grammar is this bad, you can only imagine what their food is like! Please help, because we really don’t want to have anything to do with these people.”

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The advertiser responsible for this is the same one that brought you the girl on the bonnet of a sports car, or tractor, motorbike, set of golf clubs… you get the picture. It’s the brilliant philosophy that a pretty girl in the advert will sell anything. Too bad that the only stock image available was one of a girl pretending to be a plastic doll. But, in a stroke of genius, these advertisers put the ‘Act Now’ banner in to make it seem as if her head is supposed to be at that angle.

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The narrative behind this image doesn’t exactly jump out at you. Maybe these shoes are so comfortable that you don’t notice even if you get a naked, bald guy stuck to your sole while walking down the street?

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Maybe the Japanese advertisers that designed this ad didn’t realise that countries with diverse ethnicities would find this highly offensive, or maybe they were trying to reverse decades of progress. Either way, all this advertisement is missing is a pointy hood and a burning cross in the background.

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Not only can you lose 12 pounds in 2 weeks, but you can lose your tan as well. But, even if it is reflecting the sun in blinding fashion, the body on the right can’t be seen as anything other than “FAB!”


Overlooking the fact that Cupid and Fate should be on the same side in trying to find you your soul-mate, this evil, cape-wearing version of Fate seems to have escaped every greeting card in history, and thus doesn’t seem to resonate with the reader in the way that the advertisers intended.

Fortunately, with all the bad print ads in the world, there is also quality printing. And it is this quality printing that helps us harbour some sort of faith in the advertising industry. But, without the very, very bad advertisements, life would seem just a little bit duller.

Main image: Errasys 

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