AdTurds Bad Adverts – Badverts

24Dec/180

The Worst Adverts Of 2018: Vote

worst adverts of 2018

Well, the last year flew by eh? Seems like just a few weeks since we were ready to go to TUI headquarters brandishing flaming torches and defaced copies of their brochures. And here we are again: time for the worst adverts of 2018.

Over the last year work and lifestyle changes mean I've watched less and less television - and so fewer adverts. That has the effect of insulating me from much of it, but being so much more aware of how dreadful some adverts are when they do make it through the mental shields I've developed over the years. Suffice to say over on Facebook and in the reader comments I am kept well abreast of the latest disasters.

Diet Coke Mango Advert

2018 was perhaps the year when I felt most people in the country were able to understand the madness I have fleetingly experienced over the last ten years. As I write the government is stockpiling food and medicine - and spending £4bn on planning for a disastrous no-deal Brexit that it could simply rule out if it wanted to. Even the Leavers I know think the government has gone mad.

Welcome to the world of AdTurds; a world where you can't quite believe that no-one else seems to appreciate how insane everything is. Where you want to grab people in the street, shake them and scream in their face that they stop eating at Nando's, buying those stupid plastic coffee pods seemingly designed to pollute the world for ever, calling radio phone-ins and all the million-and-one other things that seem to speak of certifiable insanity.

Well, maybe they have a taste of my universe now. And if you don't, well the next 3,000 words on the worst adverts of 2018 might give you an insight into it. My pain is constant and sharp and I do not hope for a better world for anyone. Enter at your own peril - for there may be no way back.

Worst Adverts Of 2018

Wrigley's Extra advert - Tom

See Chewing-Gum Tom in his bare-chested glory. He has just finished fingering your daughter. See him chewing mint-flavoured gum. See his fashionably floppy hair. See him standing only in his boxers, which hide a penis <...hmm, penis...> that was until a few minutes ago interfering with your offspring in a particularly intimate manner.

Chewing-Gum Tom has already usurped you in the stakes of your child's affections. Now he openly challenges you, with his flat stomach and well-developed chest. < Perhaps you are attracted to Chewing-Gum Tom on some level? No, no - there is only the Oedipal challenge he now presents. Forget about caressing his rock-hard abs >.

You must destroy Chewing-Gum Tom, like Saturn devouring his own son. If you do not strike now he will stand metaphorically astride your broken body, wielding the testes he has symbolically removed from your nether regions, steadily meeting your gaze and willing you to voice a breath of discontent at the terrible, unspoken subtext that passes between you < ...sinking into those eyes like limpid pools of cool, cool water.... >.

Chewing-Gum Tom owns your Princess and his vigorous manhood < oh dear Christ his penis, his erect penis...> is going to be at her like a frantic piston during a rash B-road overtaking manoeuvre - and there's not a damn thing you can do about it.

Kill Chewing-Gum Tom < ...kiss Chewing-Gum Tom...>.

KILL HIM NOW BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!


Diet Coke Mango - Superbad advert

Perhaps the one thing that made the idea of imminent climate change apocalypse seem like it might not be such a bad thing, the Diet Coke Mango advert is truly a piece of appalling stupidity not even Nathan Barley could have gone there.

Maybe Diet Coke focus-grouped what vlog-loving, gibberish-tweeting, LOLing teenagers talk like and it happened to be as bereft of meaning as if they had just written down a load of old shite for a man wearing a 90s denim jacket to say anyway.

And maybe the people who took receipt of that research, having read its findings, realised that the game was up. That it had all been for nothing and that humanity was on the downward slope of a bell curve, skiing gleefully towards Idiocracy like a farmer voting for Brexit.

If the rise of Millennials has coined the term 'dawn of the dumb', this Diet Coke Mango advert is their simpleton soundtrack.

• Read the original Diet Coke Mango advert entry


Sainsbury's Christmas advert

The sound of children singing is horrible. Children are shit at singing. Wiring plugs, claiming housing benefit, driving articulated lorries. All things kids are shit at - but we don’t make them do those things do we? So why do we have to make an exception for the little fuckers making a noise scarcely less awful than Donald Trump dragging his fingernails down a blackboard... then sexually molesting it like he would any given woman within lunging distance?

What’s that? You like the sound of your own kids singing? Course you do. You’re a slave to hormones in the same way those ants who’ve been parasitised by fungus are. Your kids could probably singing Catfish and the Fucking Bottlemen backwards and you’d wee yourself a little bit.

No, children cannot sing. But they can shriek feel-seeking emotional missiles straight at your cry glands. Sainsbury’s know this - so that’s what they have served up for your Christmas dinner: emotion raw as sushi, with lashings of sentimental sludge and a side-serving of the vague unease we rightly feel when we make precocious children sing and dance like adults.

Now off you go to buy your Taste The Difference goodies like the good little ants you are.


Halifax Ghostbusters advert

This Halifax Ghostbusters Advert is the advertising equivalent of defecating directly onto the faces of everyone involved in the original film. Here Bill Murray is replaced by Gareth, the stout Welsh chap who, not content with vomiting all over the Wizard Of Oz, now seems to be embarking on an all-out cultural rampage that will presumably end with him painting a cock into the Mona Lisa's mouth.

I'm guessing that it's no coincidence that Bill Murray is not involved - a man who, unlike Dan Akroyd, seems to be unimpressed by money and frivolity when it comes to his work. Harold Ramis, of course, did not have a choice whether he appeared in this genuinely upsetting spot, by handy virtue of being dead. There's an irony.

If you accept that some things would be beyond the pale on virtually any level - let's say dropping Gareth into Schindler's List to discuss life insurance, for example - then you accept that all such judgements are questions of degree. And if you have any sense you'd concede that everyone's red lines are set at different levels. Who are we to judge other people's red lines?

To see adverts like this is to look through your memories, the repository of stuff you like, and realise that every single bit of it is up for sale. And whether you like Ghostbusters or not, that's a frightening thought.

• Read the original Halifax Ghostbusters advert entry


Flo & Joan Nationwide advert

People literally begged me to make this advert stop, like when you see women in films who are so desperate to save their children they offer their bodies to Nazi soldiers. Flo and Joan are probably lovely people and in the right place - a Radio 4 comedy programme or some godawful hipster cafe I hopefully never have to visit - I have no problem with them.

But stick anything on television again and again - even Salma Hayek pouting or Tom Baker laughing or the Blake's 7 theme tune - and it's going to become hateful very quickly.

And if your song about a house is so twee it makes people pull the same face as when they bite on a lime segment, then expect hatred so strong it rivals Toby Young's utter hatred of himself for being a snivelling little cunt.


Boots - She's Me Mum advert

This Boots advert features something more and more prevalent in Christmas adverts: a relatable Christmas message (you hate your own mother) and relatable (ie. terrible) singing.

With lyrics that would unite the DUP and Sinn Fein in mutual hatred ("It was her; did you see? Standing there; by the tree") and with a voice scarcely less awful than Boris Johnson grunting his way to verbose orgasm, it's a truly grisly prospect.

Instead of Scrooge, we have a brat who remembers not to hate her mother once a year thanks to Boots. Thank God we have private-equity owned multinationals to tell us what, how and when to feel.

• Read the original Boots advert entry


Vodafone ice-skating advert

There was at least something going on in the initial Martin Freeman Vodafone adverts. Some semblance of the everyman character Freeman always portrays, railing against the inanity of modern telecommunications contracts and clumsily romancing a young lady through the medium of data-allowance banter.

In some respects it was, I guess, vaguely relatable and not completely obnoxious. But like a mince pie discovered at the bottom of a bread-bin long after Christmas is over and done with, this series seems stale, over-familiar and thoroughly unwanted.

The repetition is one thing, but this advert is possibly the least inspired 60 seconds that has ever had the misfortune of being committed to a memory card. Not even a regional disc jockey could find this amusing; not even Freeman's wife could muster an iota of respect for him going through with it; surely even his young children must openly despise him for what he's done. Benedict Cumberbatch will surely slap him right across his oh-so-rich-now face when next they meet.

Freeman strikes me as one of the least annoying celebrities on the overexposure circuit (cf. Lauren Laverne, Ben Wishaw, Olivia Coleman) but this utterly uninspired advert - what's it even about? something about no coverage, then he goes ice-skating? - is so bereft of even the most infinitesimal iota of inspiration that it's basically an insult to the very idea of advertising, storytelling or Torvill & Dean.


That fucking dilly dilly Budweiser advert

This one is pure concentrated evil. It’s for Bud Light, a drink only MAGA-hat wearers actually imbibe, once everyone else has grown out of drinking this sugary piss at the age of 14.

The ‘makes stuff turn into product’ idea has, of course, been mined by Skittles for years now so it seems odd to lift the idea. And not just the general concept. Even the theme of this superpower being akin to some sort of curse to be endured is repeated wholesale here, just in a way that isn’t remotely funny.

And then ‘dilly dilly’: a sort of medieval ‘Wasaaaaaaaap!’ for genuine morons to rally around - whether ironically or not - when they meet in the sort of IKEA-fitted bars that actually serve shite like Bud Light, to bring together their few, meagre sugar-soaked brain cells and talk shit about sport, cars and how Brexit would be going alright if it only they’d put Boris in charge.


Oral B advert

On the face of it there's nothing of the nuclear-level awfulness to compare with the rest of this list in this Oral B advert. There's a couple of very gratuitous shots of the actress' bum and of her jiggling about a bit - and yes there's the usual simpering smugness that goes with toothpaste adverts. But next to Diet Coke, Boots or Halifax? No, simply not in the same league.

That's until you get to the line 'I didn't even know Oral B made a toothpaste'. And it's hard to pinpoint exactly why this is so aggravating. Perhaps i's the fact that everyone knows Oral B makes toothpaste and the rank disingenuousness of pretending anyone in the mind might not know.

What, exactly, are Oral B known for, if not for toothpaste? Pizza? Price-comparison services? Over-50s life insurance? And what, exactly, does the name Oral B suggest beyond dental hygiene? No, don't answer that.

Perhaps what's so annoying is that truly no-one on this planet gives a fuck whether Oral B do make toothpaste or not, nor does anyone care what Oral B get up to. They can shove toothpaste up their arses for all I care - and for all I know, they do.


Sun Bingo Advert

If fairness the couplet 'got fake tits? / but are you gonna bingo'? is perhaps the most on-point bit of work ever seen in an advert. And what an advert it is. It's worth bearing in mind that this is an advert for playing online bingo - on your own, in your bedroom on a fucking mobile phone - on The Sun's website. The tragedy of that mental image.

Sun. Bingo. Is it hard to imagine a more disastrous confluence than those two words? Chernobyl McDonalds? Jacob Rees-Trump? Piers Morgan? An appalling meeting of minds between the mindless: a profoundly, proudly stupid newspaper publishing content halfway between The Beano, Pornhub and Mein Kampf; a pastime that requires the mental faculties of a Krispy Kreme doughnut.

To be fair, as a proud Northerner, I don't really have a problem with bingo. It's that S** bit. Stick that word in front in front of anything and it conjures up a Coldwar Steve world of terrifying awfulness.

Sun Orgasm. Sun Holidays. Sun Heaven. See? Even if you can't really discern what they might involve you just know it will be awful: a warm-lager, faded-seaside, racist-by-instinct, smartphone-nudes, fast-food, homophobic, GMTV, zero-hours, Primark version of anything you can imagine - with a guffawing cockney soundtrack.


Amazon Christmas advert

I don't know why Amazon don't simply have a video of Jeff Bezos touring around the third world torching everything organic he comes across with a flamethrower. That's all I can see whenever I see a box with Amazon branding, or their horrorshow website - the very concept of a world based around buying crap for the sheer hell of it. 'Shit for cunts' as one meme I've spotted on the internet has it.

The fucking nerve of Amazon whitewashing the genuine hideousness of working in one of their George Orwell workhouses, where people piss themselves because they're so afraid of getting sacked for having a toilet break, genuinely beggars belief.

Still, so much of our concept of Christmas is based around Victoriana, so it makes sense that the pre-eminent business of our time is merrily bringing back working conditions that could only be described as Dickensian. If that doesn't make you feel genuinely upset and a little bit frightened then I'm worried for you.

Maybe that's just life in the Broken Britain of 2018 - but pretending that Amazon warehouses are some sort of winter wonderland is the most grotesque dishonesty I've seen in Adland this year.


Diet Coke advert - Yurt and athleisure

"If you want a Diet Coke, have a Diet Coke."

That's it? That's the pay-off to this sequence of dissonant Millennial brain-shart? Is this what William Shakespeare died for? Is that what a medium-sized Colombian cocaine-harvest produced? 'Have a Diet Coke - because you can'?

In this Diet Coke advert, filled with meaningless, unconnected phrases that still manage to come off as deeply affected and hatefully hip, what appears to be a similar dynamic has birthed perhaps the most obnoxiously dumb 30 seconds in existence.

More nauseating than Trump boasting of grabbing women by their parts; more smug than Piers Morgan announcing he has won the Euromillions rollover; more thoroughly awful than Nigel Farage laughing while doing a shit in your bath, the Diet Coke advert is a Soho/Manhattan nightmare of vacant stupidity that literally has no meaning. You are trapped in it and there is no escape.

• Read the original Diet Coke Yurt advert


Vote for the worst advert of 2018

4Feb/187

Choose February’s Worst Advert

nationwide advert sisters

Did you miss me? I've had to take something of a sabbatical from the adverts. In fact I've been receiving daily blood transfusions in an effort to rid me of the concentrated evil that's built up in my body from almost a decade of watching pure, unfiltered adverts. It's 1000 times purer and stronger than the stuff you get in your living room and when they opened me up there was the unmistakable sound of that tinkly piano riff from the Tui advert and a pulsating tumour with the face of Gio Compario.

As a result I'm still on a long road back to full fitness and can only subject myself to tiny doses of advertising. So I'm going to let you choose the current worst advert of the month, based on intel received from Facebook, Twitter and the good (meaning bad) people of the Suggest An AdTurd community.

But be careful. Only experts should watch more than a few advert in one go. Overdo it and you risk devolving into a bubbling, stinking mess of the proteins than probably go in chicken Mcnuggets.

Apple iPad Pro advert

You might question why anyone would ever think that a hateful, precocious child in your advert is going to connect with people. Then you realise that everyone who made and signed off this advert works in advertising or tech. Although I was given pause for thought when I recognised various bits of Brooklyn from my honeymoon there, which I guess makes me a big twat too. Ho hum.

Voices Nationwide Flo and Joan advert

People are literally begging me to make this advert stop, like when you see women in films who are so desperate to save their children they offer their bodies to Nazi soldiers or evil supervillains. Flo and Joan are probably lovely people and in the right place - a Radio 4 comedy programme in that slot where I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue and Just A Minute usually reside - or some godawful hipster cafe I never have to visit - I have no problem with them.

But stick anything on television again and again - even Salma Hayek pouting or Tom Baker laughing or the Blake's 7 theme tune and it's going to become hateful very quickly. And if your song about a house that's so twee it makes people pull the same face as when they bite on a lime segment then expect hatred so strong it rivals Piers Morgan's utter hatred of himself for being a snivelling little cunt.

Go Compare Monster Bill advert

In search of new ways to annoy you, Go Compare has decided to mine the 'deliberately awful acting' seam to good effect here. Over 2 million people have watched this on Youtube. Two million. That's one in thirty people who have been taken over by lookalikes that hatched from a pod. And it is your duty to destroy them.

Also, is it just me or is the 'random people turning up in your house at the same time' thing suggestive of a porn film set-up? Looks like Gio is going to be comparing more than just home insurance prices with these two lovelies...

First Choice advert - The Turners Go Mahoosive

Who still says mahoosive? Even provincial commercial breakfast radio DJs are too embarrassed to say that shit these days. And as for the Turners' rap - how many free holidays did they get for it to be worth all this? And what an incredible way to absolutely trash your own brand. Could this look any more cheap?

Right, look. I'm going to say something now and you need to bear with me. This mixed-race couple thing. I'm a bit uncomfortable with it. Hang on, hear me out. Mixed-race couples are everywhere where I live - and that's not a good or a bad thing, it's simply a thing as far as I'm concerned. I can't think of a friend of mine who is not white who is not in a mixed-race partnership. Great.

If you have a problem with that you're a racist, basically and I want no part of it. And if you think it's 'political correctness gone mad', well I don't agree with that either. What's 'mad' about showing people behaving exactly as they do in the real world?

But on this First Choice it's like you can see the workings out, the base code behind it. You need a family rapping, but an all-white family rapping? Bit awkward. An all-black family rapping? Nice spot of cultural stereotyping. Like Goldilocks, someone has found this racial mix - and I don't believe for a second its a coincidence - juuuuust right. And the thought of that level of racial card-shuffling makes me cringe.

But, one a much more basic level, this is simply a crashingly devastating advert of awfulness.

Fiftylife Over 50s Life Insurance

It's hard to pinpoint what's the cause of the final product here, which is so hilariously bad you're constantly waiting for the punchline. Is the script, direction or acting most at fault here? I'm not sure but I'd challenge anyone to successfully pivot from a cheery 'Mum loved it here' to a solemn 'her death was such a shock'.

This actress clearly thinks so as she hasn't really bothered to change her delivery at all between the two lines. Her reading of that latter line suggests this was as shocking and emotionally devastating as the milkman delivering two pints instead of one last Tuesday.

Luckily Dad joins in with a reading of 'it hasn't been easy' suggesting he's bringing to mind a particularly tricky spot of grouting he's been tied up with. And is there a right way to broach the cost of your own mother's funeral? Perhaps, but reserving the manner you'd normally adopt for feigning interest in someone boasting about their double glazing probably isn't ideal.

The following discussion of the financial intricacies of life insurance makes it clear no-one intends to make any further effort to make this ad in any way naturalistic, a sense only heightened by a shot of the not-grieving father and daughter standing about an inch away from one another.

Oh, Fiftylife advert people. Your ad makes Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's Australian dog immigration apology look like Schindler's List.

• There are two versions for some reason. Why not see if you can figure out which is worse.

Vote for your most hated advert

But choose wisely, for you can only choose one. And no you can't choose another one!