AdTurds was three recently, so I thought I'd better mark the occasion. I thought about mocking up an award of an actual turd - yer genuine Dirty Fido - and sticking it on a plinth, then going to the headquarters of not just the creative agencies but the companies in question and presenting them there.
Then I realised I didn't have the time, money, inclination or Channel 4 camera crew - to follow me around filming me failing to gain access to even the lift of those outfits before being ejected by security - to make such an endeavour worthwhile.
So I created an overview of the worst adverts that have been on the television since AdTurds hit the web. The ones that infuriate me; the ones I think are kinda despicable; the ones I simply think are total shit.
These are they. Feel free to add any you think I've missed. But they must be the absolute nadir. The ones that have you reaching for the remote, for ear plugs, for that loaded Smith and Wesson you just know is in your desk upstairs, next to the half-empty bottle of scotch...
The motherload. A series of adverts pulling every trick out of the bag - including what appears to be sexual molestation in its most recent ad - to make you sad, angry or possibly even dead.
The CIA used to blast horrible noises - rabbits being tortured and the like - at South American socialists; understanding that hideous, repetitive noises can be useful in driving people legitimately out of their minds.
It revived that trick when torturing Guantanamo detainees, using a mindless nursery rhyme to send prisoners round the bend until they started babbling a load of made-up nonsense just to make it stop.
That's what Confused.com does with its adverts. Only there is no end to it. If you use their service the adverts do not stop. Imagine being tortured. Imagine that, in an effort to make the torture stop you complied with the wishes of those inflicting pain on you. And then imagine that they keep torturing you anyway.
That's what Confused.com does with its adverts. They may be non-lethal weapons. But have you ever taken a Taser hit? They're non-lethal too.
Read the collected Confused.com AdTurds
The original in the mind-drilling adverts that have exploded over the last ten years. Barry Scott. What a cunt.
Read the original Cillit Bang AdTurds
We Buy Any Car
Needless to say, this is an advert on a parallel with a binbag full of festering food remains and cat litter tray content bursting all over your freshly hoovered and washed kitchen floor. Then you fall over in the shit, get some in your eyes and mouth; stand up; slip on it again; bash your head on the corner of a work surface and die.
It's all of that. But I think it's how awful WeBuyAnyCar is in other respects that elevates it so:
Read the original WeBuyAnyCar AdTurd
Duffy Coke ad
An advert so ill-conceived, so smug, so meaningless and so utterly dire that it killed Duffy's career stone dead.
In fact it was so bad that the fallout also killed Keith Duffy's career stone dead - and he had nothing to do with it.
Read the original Duffy Coke AdTurd
Try-hard stupidity tooth-rot misadventure.
BMW has a little bit of a brand problem - the public think they're cars bought by dicks. And while that may not be true it's not something you want to court. Why, then, show off two people who seem photo-fit descriptions of the word 'dick', smugging on about their brilliant lives?
A quite astonishing brand misfire.
Read the original BMW Lunds AdTurd
Bad for a long, long time now - but who was your least favourite front person? Katona? Biggins? Donovan? Or Stacey Solomabs (as she's know by several AdTurds readers)?
For me Donovan was the front-man for the most offensive of the lot - an insane trip-fuelled odyssey through a nightmarish Lynchian world that provided an insight into what it might be like to experience a particularly vicious acid-induced mania. Genuinely hellish.
Read the original Iceland / Donovan AdTurd
Kris Marshall never seemed a particularly charming feller to me - before the BT adverts he was chiefly known as a man who played an absolute bell-end in vile sitcom My Family. So, what better person to front your new, decades-long TV ad campaign?
Not only is the unlovely Marshall fronting these ads - he's pitched into a baffling, awkward step-family situation that someone at an ad agency obviously thought would be a neat reaction to the decline of the nuclear family. The end result is an advert that even nuns despise.
Read the original BT AdTurd
This is another company that I have a beef with, for what it does as well as how awful its adverts are. Hyper superannuated LOL! puppets playing techno and saying stupid things go some way to highlighting Wonga's target demographic.
Depressing all round.
Read the original Wonga.com AdTurd
Fuck off you knob-ends.
Read the original British Airways AdTurds
Has anyone, anywhere ever welcomed someone noisily and aggressively interrupting a quiet moment that requires some level of concentration? The shock itself of a sudden loud noise, coupled with a group of people rushing towards you is enough to drive one to unthinking violence. But then it gets far worse - a little turd starts patronising you about your grooming rituals.
I'd like to see other private moments interrupted in this way in adverts. Perhaps someone on the bog, cracking one out in a shower - or balls deep in the missus perhaps?
"Woo! Hello buddy - how's your sex? Have you heard of Yorkshire Tea?"
Read the original Gillette Proglide AdTurd
It might be because Barclays spends so much time on making its rich clients even richer by locating arcane and unlikely tax loopholes that mean these people - people who have so much cash they literally shit it - can avoid paying taxes. Taxes spent on things like, oh, the NHS, schools and Portcullis House fig trees.
But it could also be these adverts, voiced by Stephen Merchant, that have been making people groan with the sort of nausea one associates with a migraine. The unwelcome, undeserved smugness of someone who doesn't know everyone hates them - precisely for being smug.
Read the original Barclays / Merchant AdTurd
The mullet, the shouting, the grin. Someone is going to Hell for this - with any luck the bloke in the adverts.
Read the original Safestyle AdTurd
Cut almost from the same cloth is VanCompare's pitiful effort from a couple of years ago - the original write-up of which resulted in a torrent of hilarious abuse from idiot Sweet fans.
I made it up with VanCompare's CEO in the end - but this effort featuring The Sweet's Andy Scott remains possibly the most inept advert to grace TV screens for some decades.
Read the original VanCompare AdTurd
Halifax has been annoying you for at least ten years now, first with its idiotic staff karaoke, then with its quite hideous radio station series.
Halifax has dialled it back to a mere ten from that high point, but its choir adverts remain a thorn in the side of any sane TV viewers.
NB. This advert - of all the adverts on this site - is the one most frequently associated with the word 'kill' in comments and search queries.
Read the original Halifax Isa Isa Baby AdTurd
In the same way that air-raid sirens once signalled imminent disaster, the rat-a-tat-tat beat of Here Come The Girls now heralds one of the most debilitating series of adverts to ever grace television. Stick on a tin hat, head down to the Anderson shelter and await faceless death from above.
Watch the original Boots AdTurd
Killing Santa and replacing him with a credit card. Genuinely nasty.
Now give me your worst adverts of all time
Haribo then. It had to be really, even with the incredibly strong late challenge put up by Littlewoods (undoubtedly the worst Christmas ad of the year), who couldn't really have done any more to win the title of Worst Advert of 2011 if it had executed an old man in a Santa outfit live on air.
Haribo. It sounds like it stands for something. Ha-teful Ri-talin Bo-llocks? Ha-ve R-ubberI-sed Bo-ogers? Thinking on, that seems unlikely but it may as well as far as I'm concerned, it may as well. I hate Haribo, I think the sweets are horrible. But I hate their 2011 Supermix advert more for all the same reasons. Gooey, overly sweet, artificial and indigestible.
The Drum asked Haribo exactly what they were playing at with the Supermix advert, to which they replied with the following:
“The new advert is certainly attracting a great deal of attention. We intended that it would be a fun, memorable and catchy karaoke style sing-along, which is exactly what it is.
Let's examine this statement. The advert, Haribo concedes, is attracting "a great deal of attention".
That's a fairly coy statement in relation to the torrent of hate the ad generated, including a staggering 1,849 dislikes on Youtube, dwarfing 'likes' by around six-to-one. The average ratio of likes to dislikes is around 20-to-one on video channels.
There's at least three Facebook groups set up to disparage the advert. A forum called Britain's Biggest Cunts has a section on the ad called Haribo Chewing Cunts. It certainly seems reasonable to suggest that the advert is attracting a great deal of attention.
What next? Well, agency TBC Inc says it's a "fun, memorable and catchy karaoke style sing-along". Memorable and catchy? Yup - in the same way that a particularly unpleasant dose of dysentery is memorable and easy to catch.
Karaoke-style singalong? Well, if it was a particularly hellish karaoke in a David Lynch nightmare, perhaps.
"Haribo is a family brand and we have a mass market audience and appeal, at the heart of everything we do is fun, whether that’s tongue in cheek or playful.”
At this point I could mention the allegations, levelled at Haribo, of using forced Jewish slave labour during the Second World War but that would be a bit crass, albeit quite amusing.
Does this have mass-market appeal? It's certainly on the radar of a lot of people, but whether putting out an advert that's universally despised is good marketing is a moot point (and one I've mused on before here).
What's more interesting is whether this is supposed to be "playful or tongue-in-cheek". Which is it? The former, an earnest attempt to make something 'playful'? Or the latter, a deliberate attempt to make something awful? I'm plumping for the latter as I don't believe even the most simple-minded savant could feasibly come up with something as artless as this.
What is more interesting than the ad itself is what happened to it. All of a sudden it was missing from the schedules and the previous ad – Interrogation – was back on the telly.
Did Haribo decide, all of a sudden, that their karaoke-style singalong was not just annoying the very tits off people, those tits were orbiting the Earth at a very high level of the atmosphere, as far distant from their owners as Haribo sweets are from being delicious sugary treats? Surely not something so fun and playful? Who's to say.
Suffice to say I thought it hideous - adverts that set out to put me in a bad mood frequently make me feel that way. It's nauseating, bizarre, shrill and - worst of all -affected.
Yes, I think it's the fact that this is all so arch and post-modern and deliberately inane that makes it so terrible. I thought some of this year's worst ads were more egregious on an aesthetic level - and others more misguided - but certainly this is the most purely annoying.
Don't take my word for it though - Haribo was streets ahead of its nearest competitor, in numerical terms, by the end of the vote despite duking it out with Littlewoods for a while.
AdTurds readers have spoken - and they have spoken of their displeasure at "Oh so smooth, love them soft" (an I didn't even get around to those vile pornographic subtexts).
Internet justice - the most useless, fulminating, empty, unreasoning and fleetingly-satisfying justice of all - has been delivered. Fuck you, Haribo. Fuck you all the way to Hades.
Now let us never speak of it again.
Read the original Haribo AdTurd
The rest of 2011
Littlewoods gave Haribo a great run for its money, as did Gillette, which kept falling away then regaining lost ground. I suspect that little man's voice from the latter, reverberating around living rooms, became something of a Pavlovian stimulus to many over the year.
Further down were Wonga.com - a particular dislike of mine - perennial overachievers Halifax and Marks and Spencer for its X-Factor ad. I didn't dislike the latter that much, but I thought it a terrible idea. I'm still surprised that it registered so highly though.
Confused.com's horrible adverts were next up - and then the BMW Lund one, which were probably the genuine worst adverts of the year for money, in terms of what I reckon they did for the brand.
All the others got a good few votes each, apart from Eurostar with a single vote.
'Others' - for there was the opportunity to vote for one's own bete noir - did pretty well too, with quite a few suggestions. Go Compare fared well here, as did a late run for the Argos alien sperms - along with a couple of others such as Pepsi Max that has somehow escaped me over the year.
Still, a new year and all that. I can barely wait to be irritated by an all-new crop in 2012. Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Compare the Market
Head and Shoulders / Jenson Button
Cadbury Dairy Milk - The Final Countdown
Pepsi Max Office Men
Mazuma Mobile advert from March/April
Game - Babies
j20 glitter berry camp lock-in
Boots "Here Comes The Girls"
Heineken "Bassanova" Utter turd
That PlusNet fat bastard
For the last time this year I've trawled the AdTurds keywords from Google Analytics, which is increasingly like panning for gold in liquid shit.
For the uninitiated these are search terms used by people who ended coming to the site, so they provide a valuable insight into what people are looking for and, to an extent, what their views are.
Their views, it's safe to say, are generally negative. Obviously there's a chicken-and-egg nature to the kind of people who navigate to AdTurds, but there's devil in the longtail - those long, unwieldy, unlikely searches that reveal a lot about what people think of bad adverts.
I've jotted down the ones that caught my eye - for whatever reason - from November.
"go compare" "fuck off" - 32 instances
fuck off halifax you cunts! - 10 instances
are gay people offended by the maltesers ad?
women stalking towards the camera en masse like post-feminist zombies lusting after a scarf - my take on last year's M+S advert, appropriated by Janet Street-Porter
frankie cocozza crabs - this does not strike me as unlikely
freddie flintoff morrisons fucking idiot
is the little boy stacey solomabs real son iceland advert - several people seem to be under the impression that Stacey Solomon is called Stacey Solomabs or Shobalob
littlewoods christmas advert 2011 makes me cringe - you're not alone; at the time of writing this ad is duking it out with Haribo to be named worst ad of the year
racist littlewoods advert
sick advert advertising gravy with dancing cow
wow its bracing cunt
adverts with les ferdinand
andrew castle is a warty cunt who promotes accidents - allegedly
argos christmas advert walking sperm
argos paedophilic bieber advert - quite a few people picked up on this - an advert where the 51-year-old Caroline Quentin (as an alien sperm) openly lusts after the 17-year-old Justin Bieber (not far off a sperm himself
at homebase we've everything you need to have a wank - I find this hard to believe
awful ad version of wouldn't it be nice
barclays advert where are the man shoes from - a tough ask
big nose iceland adverts - one of several variations commenting on Stacy Solomon's appearance
boots here come the girls adverts are fucking annoying
cadburys final countdown ad bizarre sinister
can someone stop the halifax adverts - no, I've been trying for years
carey mulligan covered in jizz - no joy here either
People are disgusted by the Colman's gravy advert with a dancing gravy cow
coleman's gravy advert disgusting
colemans beef gravu advert puts you off
colemans gravy advert controversy
colemans gravy advert disturbing
colemans gravy advert horrible
colemans gravy advert terrible
colman's beef gravy advert animal rights
colmans beef gravy advert complaint
colmans beef gravy advert distasteful
colmans real meat juice gravy disgusting
complaint about new colemans advert
complaint gravy advert dancing
corsodyl advert does woman really have false tooth
direct line wank humour adverts
dishwasher with talking vagina tv commercial - I refuse to believe etc.
do you need id to buy the baileys dome gateau from iceland
does anyone else find robin brown annoying - hmm
does anyone else find the condensation outside on planitherm windows annoying - I find the Planitherm advert annoying
does anyone else hate the nandos noise?
double glazing cunts
Not sure what these are about as yet - taking a leaf out of Confused.com's book?
edf energy advert actress bouncing breasts
edf energy advert bouncy
edf energy advert tits
frankie cocozza staring into space m and s ad
A frequent entry in keywords data for this site
fuck off and die morrisons advert
fuck off halifax
fuck off i'm not talking to rice uncle ben
fuck off jamie oliver
fuck off lloyds bank
fuck off nat west
fuck off wonga app on words
fuck the boots advert
fuck the fucking x factor
fuck two bitches a day advert - I refuse to believe etc.
fuck you i'm terry wogan - I really hope Terry Wogan says this to people
fuck your adverts you cunts
fucking meerkat cunts fuck off you little twats - a sentence that might once have killed Mary Whitehouse stone dead
gravy boat craig colton - a bemusing and amusing juxtaposition
Halifax inspires dreadful anger
halifax advert choir man punch fist
halifax advert choir shit go and fuck with a cactus
halifax choir advert what utter shit
halifax choir adverts are such bollocks
halifax choir adverts terrible
halifax choir adverts the cunts
halifax choir annoying
halifax choir complaints
has your childs credit history been fucked up by wonga.com
here come the fucking cunting girls
how come stacey solomon sings driving home for christmas she's jewish
how does one complain to itv about littlewoods advert
how scary does bruce look in the morrisons advert
iceland advert she never eats anything
icelands shit on a stick
is the kid in the john lewis advert darth vader?
jenson button head and shoulders masturbating
louis walsh sperm - a disturbing search query
new argos christmas ad with pervert alien
new toys r us advert subliminal messages - it's the liminal ones that concern me
prius pussy subliminal
stacey solomon gammon? - brilliant. Three words; one question mark.
the redknapps wont be so smug now - quite chilling
the ugliest child in the world haribo advert
wanking with canesten - New BBC series?
what are fucking the women like on eharmony uk
Muller's cluster-toon-fuck is appalling readers
i don't get the muller advert - is there anything to get?
i'll fucking wowcher you you cunts - This has been rising up the charts recently
what the fuck is that muller advert about
what the fuck is that new muller ad?
what the fuck is up with the muller advert
who is the guy walking with the flowers on the halifax savers account advert 2011
who shit john lennon
who would be stupid enough to use wonga
wouldn't it be nice volkswagen commercial horrible
fusion pro glide vagina - I'm guessing the answer is 'yes if you're careful'
Confusion reigns over the M+S / X-Factor ads
why do they keep changing the m&s christmas advert
why is craig not in the m&s xfactor advert
why is frankie not on the m & s advert anymore
why is misha b last on m&s advert
why isn't johnny on the m and s advert?
Cheryl has some dubious fans
cheryl baker big tits
cheryl baker milf
cheryl baker panties
cheryl baker tits
cheryl bakers breasts
cheryl bakers fanny
cheryl tits milk
In Roger Corman's portmanteau of Edgar Allen Poe's short stories, Masque of the Red Death, Vincent Price - as Prince Prospero - explains that his father once locked a man in a yellow room for a year to see what would happen. When Prospero was done with him the man was half-mad and unable to look at the colour yellow for the rest of his life.
Having watched eleven months of adverts that could drive the calmest man to knuckle-biting angst I know how he felt. What would happen, I wonder, if a man were made to watch price-comparison website adverts non-stop for a year? My bet would be a fate from another Poe story, namely being reduced to a puddle of foul, stinking, steaming pustulation in a matter of minutes.
2011 continued where 2010 left off, with a number of big names - chiefly price-comparison sites, financial sectors and high-street names - doing their level best to put you in a bad mood. In a marketplace where brand recognition is paramount, an advert equivalent of a hair-pull is good work.
Let's consider, for a second, the utter absurdity of price-comparison adverts. Short, aggressive messages that cost tens of millions of quid to create and distribute; designed to make us use a website that shows aggregated prices for financial services. And to make us use them they try their damnedest to make us feel angry - it's utterly barking mad by any rational standpoint. Welcome to advertising.
So it should come as no surprise that price-comparison site adverts usually constitute a significant degree of 'worst of' lists. Go Compare and Confused.com anyway. In my wholly scientific price-comparison site advert survey earlier this year readers disliked them the most. CompareTheMarket continues to show that price-comparison sites can be tolerable, enjoyable even, but the majority of ads in this pester-power genre have all the subtlety of a South London racist tram rant.
I've left Go Compare off this year - I think we can all take it as read that we hate it - and the Patrick Stewart MoneySupermarket ones haven't quite piqued my anger yet. Confused.com is, of course, because I absolutely despise it.
Alas, there's nothing we can do about any of this. You want your Corrie, your I'm A Celebrity, your X-Factor, your E4, your More 4; you pay for it. By buying Corn Flakes, Anusol, Mattesons smoked pork sausages, Muller yoghurt, KFC and Volkswagen Crafters. By submitting your details to MoneySupermarket and Go Compare; by banking with Barclays and Santander and Halifax. By doing your Xmas shop at M&S, Tesco, Iceland and Littlewoods.
You pay for these adverts to be created. You have created your very own monster. Stacey Solomon's gangbang of cheap food and families. Jamie's Oliver increasingly piggy face smirking over some brussel sprouts. Freddie Flintoff headbutting pork pies. And, lest we forget, Cara Confused pulling unfeasibly large items out of her vagina.
The only, tiny, infinitesimal thing you can do is to boycott the products of the ads you despise; an act so futile it's up there with shouting at the telly and blogging about adverts you hate.
But you can strike a blow for humanity. You can, in your own way, blow Gio Compario's brains out; throw an anvil at the Halifax choir or kick that "Wooh! Hello buddy, how's your shave?" twat up the arse forever by delivering swift internet justice.
Vote for your worst advert of the year here - and send a metaphorical horse's head to these people. It's the one chance you'll ever get to fight back. The war was lost long ago but, briefly, the boot is on the other foot. And it's a foot of righteous anger.
Deliver it to the knackers of evil - and rejoice.
The worst adverts of 2011 - shortlist
Marks and Spencer Xmas ad
An advert that is so brazen in the lie that it is telling even Tony Blair would baulk at delivering it. Honey-voiced cannon fodder line up to tell us that your dreams can comes true even as they're being edited out of the ad, week by week, as theirs die in the pages of tabloid and shopping centre ribbon-slicing Hell.
And let's not even mention Frankie...
• Read the original Marks and Spencer Adturd
VW Think Blue ad
I've never included an advert on these lists before simply because the soundtrack is so irredeemably awful. The visual concept is quite nice - albeit not exactly original - but this rendition of Wouldn't It Be Nice - a truly beautiful and lovely song - is so stomach-knottingly awful with its whiney delivery that this may be my most despised advert of the year.
• Read the original Volkswagen Adturd
British Airways' massive wank
It's possible that this advert opens up a small rip in the space/time continuum every time it's played, so up its own backside is it; like an Ouroboros serpent burrowing into its own rectum, rather than swallowing its tail.
Several people have already been sucked into some sort of existential Mobius strip, as reality struggles to orientate itself with this new level of awfulness.
An elbow to the nose of anyone who's attended Heathrow; to anyone who's been through a body scanner; to anyone who's looked forlornly at a notice board to see a row of red where their flight details should be.
• Read the original British Airways Adturd
Wonga got into trouble last year for making adverts deemed too flippant to sell an eye-wateringly high money-lending service, so what did it come back with? Three grotesque hyperannuated puppets, gurning and twitching around, explaining various 'payday loan' scenarios.
Adverts to give you nightmares, if not for the crippling APR, then the disturbing mannequins - like marionette corpses given life once more in the pursuit of selling ill-advised loans.
Would you buy money form reanimated cadavers, twitching around in their ghastly parody of their former lives? Did you know that Wonga.com actually uses reanimated corpses to staff its call centres? Of course you didn't. But you do now.
• Read the original Wonga.com Adturd
I have no inherent objection to ads that try something else; cock a snoop at received wisdom. I like Jarvis and Gondry; some of my favourite adverts are utterly batshit crazy, but this is simply idiotic. No-one knows who these three people are; two-thirds of them are hard to understand; the concept is confusing and unengaging.
The most ridiculous thing of all is that this is an advert for Eurostar that's using London 2012 as a hook. It is quite conceivable that Europeans might be lured to Eurostar by the promise of Olympic sports to the other side of the channel.
But it has exactly zero relevance to anyone in the UK - unless they're planning to fly to Paris and then get the train back to London in order to get to a lake in Slough. Just a bad, bad idea.
• Read the original Eurostar Adturd
BMW tracked to two brothers and interviewed them about their empty lives: cue instant hatred.
How could it ever have been otherwise? Everything about this advert is dripping with a smugness so cloying it's a relief when the television doesn't dissolve in a warm, self-satisfied fart and start oozing into the carpet.
The Lunds themselves may be nice people, but if BMW had made it their target to make themselves, and the brothers, look like the biggest cunts in the world they couldn't have done a better job.
• Read the original BMW / Lunds Adturd
I'm still not exactly sure what happened here? Is this the confused result of an ad simply gone very wrong? Or, more likely, an attempt at a deliberately bad advert. A bad advert so bad that it made Halifax and Go Compare look like an indoor firework compared to Haribo's Tunguska?
Are there any vile pornographic subtexts here? Almost certainly not - but that doesn't mean I'm not going to imply that there are. And it's really hideous stuff. I mean it. Sick, just sick.
Can you image if you actually, in real life, saw the events in this ad take place? The utter horror of that - your world turned totally upside down. Either you had lost your mind or, or...
The alternative is too hideous to contemplate. But I feel sure the Haribo family would start moving towards you. No smiles, dancing or singing now. Just pure, unfettered blood lust. The horrifyingly blank eyes, the hungry mouths, the chittering noise as they gnash their teeth...
• Read the original Haribo Adturd
This, on the other hand, is rather more straightforward. It's utterly hideous on a much more prosaic level; the result of a creative brief just going more and more wrong with each successive iteration.
There's a decent idea behind all of this; it looks glossy enough. But it's annoying. And it's utterly inept. Why the heck was a rap about salad included here? And why crowbar it into the ad is such an unwieldy way? "Help yourself to salad [three second pause]... all the salad that you want." Dear Christ.
I refuse to believe anyone associated with the ad was happy with this. No-one put this to bed with that sense of satisfaction of a job well done; just a weary shrug. The problems, the lack of direction, vague brief, 'the best we could do'.
I imagine the director, driving away from the shoot at a Harvester on an industrial estate near Daventry; Five Live is on but he's not listening. He misses his turning but just lights a cigarette and just drives and drives and drives...
• Read the original Harvester Adturd
Stephen Merchant always seemed like the nice one when set against Ricky Gervais, didn't he? You could imagine Ricky Gervais actually physically abusing Warwick Davies - but not Merchant.
He may not actually step in but would linger in the background, distaste writ large on his face as Gervais' high-pitched hyena-ish laugh rang out, another blow raining down on the dwarf's back.
"Come on Ricky," he'd offer, a weak smile on his lips. "That's enough now. He's had enough for one day."
Gervais would stop; his fun forgotten, for now.
"What did you say? 'Stop'? Stop what?". His voice is calm and sounds reasonable, but there's a dread stillness to him now.
Suddenly Warwick shrieks in pain as the riding crop connects; another withering blow on his lacerated buttocks.
A nervous rejoinder: "The, er, the whipping. Stop. You've gone too far." Merchant swallows hard.
"Too far? I've gone too far?" A high-pitched giggle, baring those oddly pointy teeth. "And who are you to tell me I've gone too far, you gangly Milky Bar... Cunt."
Gervais approaches, flicking the riding crop absent-mindedly, unblinking.
Merchant spots a squirrel dashing across the set and point it out, hoping it will lighten the mood.
"Squirrel there, oops, he's off," pointing at the squirrel disappearing through a door; another nervous smile.
It's not working - and he can tell Ricky is getting tumescent with the thrill of the violence that is to come.
"No, come on, you've had your fun Ricky. Let's write some more lines, eh?"
"'Write more lines'? Oh, I see. You want some of this too. Is that what you want?"
Spittle flecks the lips and Gervais is clearly nursing something that isn't vertically challenged in his pants.
"You want to talk to Mr Whippy too? I'll write some lines - across your back!"
Ricky is now pointing at Stephen's face with the fun-size whip. Stephen backs away, but Shaun Williamson grabs him from behind and holds him steady.
Gervais raises the whip above his head, Merchant knows that to struggle will only make it worse. Warwick Davies is sobbing across the room - still wearing the leather chaps and waistcoat Gervais insists on - a look on his face that says 'thankyou'.
At that second Johnny Depp enters the room, and it's as if a light has been switched on. Gervais drops the riding crop, Barry wanders off in search of cream cakes and Merchant relaxes, slightly.
He fingers the scars on his face and neck; flinching at Ricky's high-pitched whinnying. At least Warwick survived.
Once upon a time you might have looked at Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant and imagined a dynamic between them a bit like that. But no more. This set of Barclays adverts are so awful I find it impossible to look at him in anything approaching a positive light any more.
I'm sure Ricky Gervais does not whip dwarves with riding crops, just as I'm sure neither man is actually evil. But whenever one of these ads comes on I think of Merchant brandishing an Ewok figurine and throwing it at Warwick Davies. Really hard. And laughing.
• Read the original Barclays Adturd
This is a genuine search query, typed into a search engine today, resulting in a visit to AdTurds:
Is there a bigger cunt on tv than the twat in the gillette pro-glide ad?
The answer to the question is 'no'.
• Read the original Gillette Adturd
...and still they come. Confused.com adverts are certainly memorable - for featuring a weird cult with massive bouncing breasts and a multi-dimensional muffed leader singing about what is understood to be a dating service.
If Brian Blessed were to shout FAIL from the moon for eight years it wouldn't be sufficient to describe this deleterious misfire.
• Read the original Confused.com Adturd
Paul Whitehouse / Aviva
Can Paul Whitehouse tapdance? Is Paul Whitehouse dead? Has Paul Whitehouse bought a house in Tuscany? These ads seem to really confuse people, who don't seem to be able to tell fiction from reality.
They confuse me too, mainly because they're so strange. They're just like Fast Show vignettes, but somehow there's a message for insurance in there too. I never really receive that message because I'm too busy writing WTF? all over my skin in felt tip.
A very unlovely, aggravating, baffling and truly weird series. In't Aviva brulliant? No, no it's not.
• Read the original Paul Whitehouse / Aviva Adturd
Quite probably taking victory at the last minute, for my money, this Christmas advert for Littlewoods is not content with simply being an entirely new shade of awful, it's killed off Santa too.
I'm not really sure why Littlewoods felt the need to dispossess children of their youthful innocence quite so abruptly and violently, but there you are. Perhaps because Santa Claus is now deemed an obstacle to accessing the true meaning of Christmas - children's pester power - to be tolerated any longer.
Perhaps they should have gone further; explaining that their parents will die one day, anything they truly love will be taken away from them and there is no God.
Start firing off Littlewoods credit cards emblazoned with 'THIS IS THE ONLY THING THAT TRULY LOVES YOU' once they get to 12 months, I say.
• Read the original Littlewoods Adturd
Idiotic - if nicely shot - drivel that made 53,000 people come to this site over the course of the year to try and find what the hell was going on.
I don't have the energy to talk about it again. Suffice to say that the guy doing the voice was NOT Morgan Freeman.
• Read the original MoreThan Adturd
I always hated this song, but imagine how much more I hate it now that it's being used to advertise cow paste, using a reanimated cow skidding around on a dinner table.
I mean, at least Wonga waits until people die to use their corpses to run their UK operations, but Colmans relies on cow's being killed to make its beef gravy. That's right - a creature loses its life for this to be made possible.
That's all well and good, but there's no need to shout about it - or make a hideous, distasteful advert about it. It would be like Wonga using their bodysnatching teams on their adverts.
• Read the original Colmans AdTurd
Halifax won last year's worst advert poll with its bank-employees-as-idiotic-regional-radio-disc-jockey ads.
Having dispensed with the services of DLKW, who were responsible for the radio station adverts, it's now up to Adam & Eve to rescue Halifax's reputation; battered by poor performance as part of Lloyds and its hated ad campaigns.
This one is noticeably less egregious; it's not actually trying to cause you mental distress, which is always a bonus. The people in the choir are actual Halifax employees and they're trying to convey messages such as Halifax's Saturday opening and so on.
But still it's horribly annoying. It may be the misappropriation of the songs - I don't want my bank telling me they'll 'be there' or that I've had a 'hard days night', but it's OK 'cos the bank's open in the morning.
What next? 'It's OK not to be OK'? 'You are beautiful in ever single way way'? 'What I got you gotta get and put it in ya'?
To try and bolt such garbled messages about savings accounts and the like to these twee little ditties is simply rather grisly. It's like a door-to-door salesman spending hours cooing over your family snaps and lovely crockery, only to open his briefcase in the last ten minutes and try to sell you a 'little piece of paradise'.
You kinda wonder if all the preceding stuff is just a big pile of bullshit, don't you? And, you know what, you'd be absolutely right. Banks exist to make money from you - don't forget it.
Also, bonus hatred for the guy who does a little first pump in the bottom left-hand corner at the climax of one of the ads - for some reason not present in any of the ads on Youtube. I bet the people who made the ad would make out that it was "just something he did on the day" and that they "decided to leave it in".
Lucky that he was positioned in one of the two places that would be really noticeable, then, eh?
Now vote for your most hated ad of 2011
You've seen the candidates - now you have to pick one. And only one, mind. None of this multiple voting shit. I know it's hard. You may have to think long and hard and about - agonise over whether your vote goes to Wonga, Littlewoods, Barclays or one of the others.
Either that or clear your cookies and vote again.
Another month, another deluge of funny, weird, sexy and scary keywords that AdTurds readers have been typing into their search engines.
The one in the title - Fuck off I'm not talking to rice Uncle Ben - tickled me, but the following one also elicited a giggle too:
does the vw advert really say wouldn't it be nice if we were rover?
It isn't, of course, but the idea of it amused me. I doubt if any car manufacturer in the last 20 years would envy Rover, but the notion of VW putting subliminal messages into its ads, such peculiar ones at that, is an intriguing one.
Elsewhere the guy on the far left of the Halifax choir is upsetting readers - several readers have been upset by him. I've not seen him yet, but I imagine there's already a Facebook page that exists simply to disparage him. He'll probably be making an appearance on here soon, as I suspect I'm going to loathe Halifax's new ads even more than the old ones in the long run.
Paul Whitehouse, Stephen Merchant, Cheryl Baker and Louise Rednknapp were in the firing line this month - I particularly liked 'freddie flintoff morrisons fucking idiot' though.
Already the shortlist for the worst adverts of 2011 article is forming. And what a shitty shortlist it's shaping up to be.
AdTurds October 2011 keywords
oh the hatred i feel for the halifax adverts cannot be put into words - 11 separate instances. I find this hard to believe, but surely Google can't be wrong? According to the Big G 11 different people typed this phrase into their search engine and navigated here
"go compare" "fuck off" - 9 separate instances
confused.com fat black woman - 8 separate instances
stephen merchant is a c*nt - 4 separate instances
anyone else hate that guy in the loreal commercial? - 3 separate instances
fathers made to look stupid - 3 separate instances
fuck off halifax you c*nts! - 3 separate instances
fathers made to look stupid - 3 separate instances, see more on the stupid dad meme
gillette fusion proglide challenge guy is a twat - 3 separate instances
stephen merchant what a fuckin wanker - 3 separate instances
colmans advert disgusting cow - 2 separate instances
fuck off i'm not talking to rice uncle ben
what is the new muller advert about? - not yoghurt, I don't think
"patula" kid can fuck off
...... the confused.com woman keeps pulling stuff out her vadge! seriously.
advert where woman leaves her poop on the table - genuinely don't know what this ad is - anyone?
adverts with bums
adverts with gordon brown
are the 2 girls in the maltesers ad with boyfriends asleep sisters?
are the haribo family a real family
bmw she's a cunt commercial - sounds like a bold new ad strategy for BMW
bt advert - where is the bt womans baby? - good question
can i fuck danni minogue for cash?
chummy mums love fucking
colmans new advert gravy creepy
colmans gravy advert needs to fucking stop
colmans advert for beef gravy is horrible
confused.com advert aimed at homosexuals
do gay people object to the malteasers ad
does anyone else refuse to use go compare simply because they hate the adverts?
does anyone hate the fat fucker from the jacamo advert?
does the vw advert really say wouldn't it be nice if we were rover?
freddie flintoff morrisons fucking idiot
gillette fusion commercial voice over fuck buddy
girl shitting herself outside the palace in halifax
guy on the far left of halifax ad
halifax advert choir bottom left man annoying
halifax advert stupid bloke in choir
halifax adverts make me sick
halifax choir cunts
horrible awful weird money supermarket tv ad gorilla terrible
i hate the new coffee advert don't want to see people fucking on my tv
ive shagged cheryl baker
martine mccutcheons huge fat bum
mignon morceaux phileas fogg m&s - I remember these fried snacks fondly
muller advert what the fuck?
pepsi twist lime urinating analysis - great ad
professional women has a poop accident in her panties
sky broadband is fucking shit crap bullshit stupid
tesco people who are ugly
throwing poo acid advert uk - I refuse to believe there's such an advert
torture tory bing commercial - ditto
volkswagen advert hitler think blue
what advert had a wig attacking people - dunno but I want to see it
what the hell is happening in the new muller advert
who are the 3 men in the eurostar advert - advert win!
who are the tossers in eurostar advert
eurostar ad with jarvis cocker, who are the other two?
who is rod rammage?
who is that silly woman in the iceland ads?
who is the fat thing go compare
why cadbury caramel is better than cadbury crunchie
wispa death pussy images
If you're thinking "well, that headline's a bit uncalled for" then you may be right.
But that's how one AdTurds readers sees things, according to our latest trawl of Google Analytics data.
It kind of sums up the most active relationship most people have with adverts - they go onto the internet to seek them out, more often that not to complain about them, I suspect.
What else can we learn from this month's keywords? Well, fuck all to be honest, though I've jotted fown a few thoughts below. But first, a few stats on frequently-used keywords:
Shit - 125: used most frequently in conjunction with Halifax
Annoying - 59: Halifax, Barclays and Direct Line
Worst - 42: Halifax
Hate - 43: Halifax, BT and Louise Redknapp
Fuck - 37: Natwest, Boots, Kia, Yahoo, Jacamo
Jizz - 10: Creme Eggs
Vagina - 10: Confused.com
A resounding victory for Halifax again in most stakes (quite a few banks are getting it in the neck, can't think why), though I'm not sure whether it's better or worse to be associated with simply bad adverts as opposed to stuff like 'jizz' and 'vagina'. Clearly the people behind Cadbury's and Confused.com feel otherwise.
May 2011 amusing keyword phrases
"here come the girls" fuck off - 31 instances
natwest helpful banking fuck off - 16 instances
keith ian and andy twats
"cheryl baker" boobs
"keith ian and andy" who the fuck is responsible?
absolut sclerosis of the liver tony kaye
adverts on bum
bears by naugthy turd company
big hairy audacious goals
cadburys adverts pretentious shite
can we ban the halifax ads
companies that clean pigeon shit in halifax
confused .com advert complaints breasts
confused adverts laptop vagina
confused.com bouncing tits
confused.com with tits bouncing around
country price comparison prostitutes - there's a niche eh, Confused.com?
cream egg advert like cum shot
cream egg up pussey
dale winton goldfish my gold
davina mccall poo
dear yahoo, fuck your adverts, you cunts!
germaine greer featured in suck
halifax ads do it again annoying the fuck out of us
halifax adverts hope they fucking die
has the man off the bt adverts died?
horrible jammie dodger monkeys
how deep is morgan freeman's voice
i dont understand the cadbury creme egg advert
if women had dicks
is ray parker jr. gay?
jacamo is for fat bastards
jamie redknapp hate
jammie dodger advert horrible
jammie dodger annoying advert
jizzing all over the world
kfc advert we got family creepy
louise redknapp sounds so stupid
mandelson, arrogant little shit
meerkat advert that goes makes us brown makes us brown
memorable for the wrong reason (irritating advertisements in the uk advertising industry 2011)
natwest robbing fuckers
natwest shit awful banking
negative points about cadbury eyebrow
nick knight wrestling
pepsi max advert cunts
samsung galaxy is a fat brick turd
stupid bum shoes
that kid is gonna grow up fat in betty crocker advert
thrush and masturbation
tv advert were woman puts shit in her purse
up your bingo advert makes no sense
video sex with loathing
we buy any car chavvy
what the fuck is going on with those stupid cadburys ads?
what would happen if you ate too many cadburys chocolate fingers?
what's the annoying bullshit music behind the natwest adverts?
who is responsible for halifax adverts
who is the milf in aviva ad
why doesn't 118118 just fuck off
women fucking man advert
wouldn't you agree gary linaker
you wouldn't steal a car fuck you i would
bt jane nipple slip
Something that interests me, at least, is the way that people are starting to write search engine queries in the same way they might ask another human, rather than the more recognised search engine interrogation containing keywords. What does this mean for advertisers, marketers and social media marketers? I'm fucked if I know.
Elsewhere we can see that Confused.com is now most associated with bouncing animated breasts and cavernous magical vaginas. Nice bit of branding there, guys.
"dear yahoo, fuck your adverts, you cunts!" fascinates me - is someone at Yahoo intended to see this? Could SERPS data be used by companies to gauge public reaction to campaigns? Again, that's a question for someone else to answer but it's an interesting proposition.
People are still fascinated by the Morgan/Morethan Freeman adverts - is this going to be the first of a series of ads that borrow a celeb's voice just for the borrowed interest? We'll see.
"negative points about cadbury eyebrow" is another one that interest me - it reflects a trend among the keyword searches where people clearly want to be told why an advert is bad. Weird.
NatWest might find some of the results interesting - despite the customer charter the vast majority of searches are from people annoyed with NatWest for poor banking experiences or their nasty little charges.
I love the implicit criticism in stuff like 'who is responsible for halifax adverts'. Halifax is probably the most hated brand by AdTurds keywords.
Anyway, plenty to chew on until next time. Keep foaming at the mouth, people.
This is something that turns up quite frequently in reader comments. It implies that because I'm writing about how awful ad advert is, this is somehow a win for the advertiser.
This is, if you think about it, a silly thing to say and a kissing cousin to that old chestnut about bad publicity. Try telling Toyota that there's no such thing as bad publicity following its 'stuck accelerator' trials of last year; or Domino's that there's no such thing as bad publicity after footage of employees putting snot on food hit the web; or Amazon that there's no such thing as bad publicity for delisting gay and lesbian books on its site; or Apple that there's no such thing as bad publicity for a homphobic app available on the iPhone.
It is a silly claim. A-ha, I can hear you say, they weren't adverts though. I don't really think that's the point, but I'll address that one as well. For obvious reasons it's hard to find any hard and fast evidence that advertising negatively impacts on a brand – because only that brand and the people who handle their advertising are likely to have access to it. Don't expect to see any 'advertising fails to sell stuff' papers anytime soon.
However, Yahoo! well and truly shot themselves in the foot with their badly-received Yahoo! - It's You adverts that saw Yahoo! brand recognition go down quicker than a leaden sexual metaphor.
A-ha, you say, the likes of Confused.com and Go Compare and Halifax are deliberately courting bad publicity to etch their brand names on the brains of viewers like grease on a carpet. To some extent this is true and there are a couple of great examples of this on the telly at the moment. The Meerkat and Gio, to my mind.
Subconscious familiarity of a brand is, on balance, probably better than unfamiliarity, especially where these companies - whose offerings are largely indistinguishable - are concerned. But when that perception is overwhelmingly negative, because it's so stupendously, deliberately, irritating, then it's a different matter.
Adopting a similar 'memorable through irritation' approach but failing are, to my mind, the Halifax ads with their cast of radio-bank-wanker characters; and Confused.com with its frightening, bizarre, muddled Cara Confused thing that looks like a crazy tramp who hears voices telling it to set fire to houses and has a magical vagina.
The agency that had the account for Halifax has just been relieved of it; this suggests to me that the bank-as-radio-station series of ads were not deemed a success.
On the Confused.com score I have no evidence. Simply a belief that – as the latest in a long line of bizarre adverts with no overall aim apparent – the Caraoke adverts are flailing around desperately in search of a reason to exist. Thousands of readers on this site think Confused.com has launched a dating site – how can confusing your customers possibly be good for your brand? And how can it good for your brand if you constantly read or hear people loudly, violently decrying it?
Oh, there are stats. Stats about how people wouldn't buy from a brand if they didn't like their spokesman, or about how one third of people wouldn't deal with a brand if they featured an ad that was distasteful. But it's a matter of common sense in the end.
Some ads don't work. We know this because agencies get fired all the time. Why would you fire an agency if your ads were hunky-dory and sales were up as a result?
Some ads don't work in terms of ROI. Sure, sales and awareness might go up if you carpet-bomb TV viewers with your latest appalling meme, spunking cash all over the web and TV and radio. But will they go up in relation to the cash you're spending? There's a stat floating about on the web that says that only 18 per cent of traditional TV campaigns generate a positive return on investment. Less than one in five. That's not a great strike rate.
Some ads are just shit. There are lots of them on this site. Are they a success simply because I'm writing about them? No. Do they offer the advertiser a return on their investment? There's no way we'll ever know. Do people largely hate their adverts and by extension, arguably, their brand? Probably.
People talk about the Halifax adverts. They talk about how shit they are. And the agency that created that campaign is on the way out of the door.
People seem actively angry about Go Compare and Confused.com, but while Gio seems to be quite a marmite character, people seem annoyed and bemused by Cara Confused.
Is there anything worse than being publicly disparaged? Perhaps not being talked about at all, but advertising goes both ways - it can't possibly all be good. If people think your brand is annoying, stupid and confusing the chances are they might simply avoid it. Which is why Confused.com keeps changing its advertising - and why it will probably change it again.
It might sometimes pay to be be annoying.com - it doesn't pay to be confusing.com.
So, with a sense of inevitability I'm here to name Halifax as the most despised adverts of 2010, running away with over one fifth of the vote in the worst adverts of 2010 stakes.
These adverts certainly annoyed me - the Ice Ice Baby one particularly drove me to turn the television off on at least one occasion - but they seemed to drive AdTurds readers to frothing, spasming apoplexy. Some of the keyword queries and comments were actually chilling to behold.
It's easy to see why these ads have irritated people so. Their very raison d'etre is to annoy anyone who sees or hears them. You know it. They know that you know it. You know that they know that you know it. It's like a restless tween asking you the same question over and over again simply to get on your wick.
Halifax is pretty much alone in the banking industry in deploying these tactics in its advertising, which have been widely adopted by price comparison sites; a kind of carpet-bombing of your consciousness with concentrated naff. These weapons are not laser-guided, they have no precision. They are the advertising equivalent of daisy cutters and there will be collateral damage.
The point of these adverts, certainly for price-comparison sites, is simply to embed a name and impression in your mind so that when you need to insure your car those Go Compares and meerkats and Omid Djalilis are right at the front of your mind. There's little customer loyalty in these most volatile of markets or much to differentiate one offering from another, which is why they must resort to pester power when it comes to putting their brands out there.
Banks have normally eschewed these tactics, with most preferring to put themselves over as rather stuffy, slightly dour but eminently trustworthy places to keep your hard-earned; think of the old-fashioned image of the stuffed shirt bank manager. NatWest sticks out in my mind as attempting to engender some sort of affection among potential customers with ads decrying the transition of bank buildings into trendy winebars and its recent - rather silly - customer charter adverts.
TSB liked to be the bank that said yes; Lloyds had its black horse; Santander has Wild Beasts and Lewis Hamilton; HSBC has those Gambon-voiced efforts that place it firmly as a global banking behemoth, which it is.
But Halifax has thrown off any attempt to make it look respectable, trustworthy, serious or even worthy of affection. It's going out of its way to annoy customers and potentials alike; displaying its staff as blithering twats and incompetents as if they were working in a shit leisure centre in a sitcom.
Clearly Halifax thinks this works as they've been ploughing this furrow since they launched Howard Brown onto an unsuspecting world a decade ago.
What's even more remarkable about Halifax's effort to place it as the Ryanair of the banking sector is that, a couple of years ago as part of HBOS, it nearly went down completely partly due to mind-boggling exposure to its own incautious lending, taking the rest of the UK banking sector and the national economy with it. At one point, no-one knew whether cash machines across the UK would dispense any money come the following Monday. A shotgun marriage to Lloyds followed, along with tens of billions of public money.
How has Halifax - admittedly only part of what's now an enormous toxic-bank clusterfuck - responded to nearly destroying, erm, money? Not with a mea culpa, or an element of contrition notable in things like NatWest's 'customer charter' adverts but with its most annoying advert yet.
This is our reward for bailing out the banking sector. Something that's beamed into your home on a daily basis with the express intention of putting you in a bad mood. The alternative to saving the banks may have been unthinkable, but the idea of societal apocalypse seems almost preferable when viewing the Halifax adverts.
Worst advert of 2010 - results and analysis
As mentioned, Halifax ran away with it in the end, but it looked like an equal three-way tie for a while, with Go Compare and Iceland performing strongly until the last week of voting. WeBuyAnyCar made a strong late surge too.
If this were any kind of serious attempt to find the most hated ad of the year, it would require some effort to measure the frequency of the ads and peoples' exposure to it through scheduling times - and determining the channels on which they were broadcast.
As it is we can probably afford slightly more bile towards some of the more obscure ads as, presumably, they were much less viewed than others.
The thing of it is, the results for the top four - if not a majority of the adverts featured here - will be seen as a positive for the brands the advertise, as they're exclusively of the 'exposure through annoyance' genre. By voting for them, you've validated them. Sucks, huh?
'Other' answers suggested by readers included the following:
Sainsbury's double points
The Times online
Here are the top ten AdTurds of 2010, by traffic. They don't really reveal how searched-for the ads were - the VanCompare advert is only so high because several outraged Sweet fan forums linked to the site, urging other Sweet fans to attack me - but as a good rule of thumb, these ads must have stood out from the crowd.
That may be because people loved them, hated them or just wanted the chance to see them again. Either way, with certain caveats, these ads made an impression. Make of that what you will.
2. Bing adverts
It's been a fruitful year for the AdTurds, with much more material that could be covered in the end. The Suggest an AdTurd feature is brimming like one of those huge tanks in the American midwest that's full of boiling, gaseous pig shit.
Go Compare ran away with this one in 2009 and like Cliff Richard, he's a very good bet for this year's gong too, despite stiff competition from Confused.com, WeBuyAnyCar, BT and Halifax.
There are dark horses too. Who saw the VanCompare advert coming? Or Bing's heroic attempt to take on Google with some monkey noises? Or the total horror of Jamie and Louise Rednkapp 'laaaahvin iiii...'?
And what about Spotify? That came from nowhere eh? But how many people who heard Jack Davenport's infuriating Alfa Romeo MiTo advert will ever forget it?
What has emerged is the likelihood that a genuinely hated ad is likely to find its way back on your box again and again. If people dislike it, they probably remember it; if the remember it, it's probably on the screens all the time; if it's on the screens all the time it's probably disliked. Hence your most hated ad is back on the telly again and again. QED.
That's unfortunate if you're driven to twitching fury by such adverts, but it seems increasingly clear that it's how ad agencies work. Bad adverts are, if you like, a necessary evil. But this is concentrated evil. One drop of that could turn you all into hermit crabs.
Read on! Weep! Vote! Smash yourself in the face with an iron! Watch again! It's the most annoying, most shit, most terrible adverts of 2010!
Effortlessly the worst series of adverts since, well, the last lot of Halifax adverts. While truly appalling, these adverts don't quite make me fear for the human race. They're like the Mumford and Sons, Tesco or Microsoft of bad adverts. Always there, always disliked, always shit (or mediocre at any rate).
But there are, to my mind, worse evils in the world. AdTurds readers seem to disagree, so expect this to go straight in at number one in the poll below.
Full disclosure: AdTurds has a bit of a thing for the blonde in the Lucky You advert.
Confused.com - Somebody to Love
After several failed attempt, Confused.com finally hit upon a character of its own designed to annoy the shit out of people everywhere. Only this isn't just annoying, it's also inept. A confused (ahem) message only serves to leave a bemused WTF rattling off the walls.
Imagine Confused.com's squiggly drawing thing being rather indelicately spitroasted by Gio Compario and Aleksandr Orlov and you have a pretty good metaphor for how their respective campaigns have panned out.
Read the original entry: Confused.com Somebody to Love
Marks & Spencer's Xmas Turd
Hard to believe now, but there was once something vaguely canny about these M&S adverts, before they fell in love with themselves so massively it's a surprise they don't simply have the cast frotting themselves on cashmere jumpers and gift packs of bubble bath.
This festive effort swith Peter Kay, Twiggy, Danni Minogue and some other people too dreary to mention is so smug that Piers Morgan thinks it's a bit much.
Read the original entry: Marks & Spencer Christmas advert
Thomas Cook Redknapp horror intersection
AdTurds has some inside information on this effort from Thomas Cook that suggests that it was responsible for more complaints than anything else the travel company has ever done.
That may or may not be true, but what is true is that Thomas Cook has a huge effigy of the gruesome Redknapps (who seem to exist purely in advertising these days) in its reception, no doubt now defaced by people driven to violence by Louise and Jamie's vile, whiny estuary voices.
Read the original entry: Redknapp Thomas Cook adverts
Bing clutch bags
Tasked with apparent no-win scenario of designing an ad campaign to humble Google, ad agency JWT struck a canny line with the 'information overload' line but went on to present it in the most annoying way possible.
I always thought it would have been better to have the information overload people spouting a load of gibberish about hot Asian babes too.
It's also problematic because the Bing engine isn't any better in displaying relevant information that Google, Yahoo, Ask or any other search engine in the entire world.
Read the original entry: Bing adverts
Dell treats Lollipop
On the face of there was nothing too annoying about this advert for Dell's laptops first off. But the sheer carpet-bombing ubiquity of the first few bars of the Chordettes track - particularly when it invaded Spotify - rendered it simply unbearable; and almost certainly used as a torture device in Guantanamo Bay.
Lollipop Lollipop Oh Lolli Lolli Lolli Lollipop....
Read the original entry: Dell treats advert
Pity poor Josh. Basically used and abused by a massive multinational in their doomed marketing campaign like a Thai ladyboy by a second-hand car salesman from Romford on his annual sex holiday.
Awful music, crap idea, poor chinless Josh. A powerful mixture of pity and contempt.
Read the original entry: John T-Mobile advert
Citroen DS3 John Lennon
The Citroen DS3 might have been the most enjoyable car AdTurds thrashed this year, but this ad featuring Lennon pondering the shitness of nostalgia and retro - in an advert that was all about nostalgia and retro for a car that was all about nostalgia and retro - was one of the least enjoyable ads.
Bonus turds for the affected out-of-synch footage too.
Read the original entry: John Lennon Citroen DS3 advert
The post that provoked nothing less than death threats, legal action threats and the infinite wrath of seemingly every Sweet fan on the face of the Earth.
All of that ended in a détente with the actual chairman of VanCompare and a message of good wishes to Andy Scott, believe it or not.
Still, this is possibly the most inept advert every to grace a television. Sweeeeet!
Read the original entry: VanCompare advert
BT family adverts
Perhaps the most unloved TV couple since Sam Fox and Mick Fleetwood, Adam and Jane seemed to reach a climax this year in the 'is she or isn't she?' interactive campaign. Sadly the options didn't involve death or divorce, but whether Jane was pregnant or not (AdTurds readers suggested their own ending).
In the most stultifying spot of television ever, the answer was revealed as yes and somewhere in Scotland came the noise of John Logie Baird and Alexander Graham Bell softly weeping.
Read the original entry: BT advert - what happens next?
Go Compare adverts
AdTurds can't really find it in his granite heart to hate Go Compare. Annoying, yes, but no more than any Little & Large sketch from the 1987.
To complain of the rampant repetition; the sheer inescapability of Go Compare ads would be to complain about the ubiquity of grass, water, why the very air itself.
Still, a guaranteed big hitter in this year's poll - and maybe they'll finish it off with Gio exploding in gas, fat and hair after one 'whaffer thin mint' too many.
Read the original entry: Go Compare advert
Ladbrokes World Cup ads
Two of the most annoying people on television gibbering and gurning like idiots; an appalling campaign; distasteful subject matter; a soundtrack used in at least two different ads over the last couple of years.
Without Wright and Kamara is would be awful. With the charmless pundits it enters a new circle of Hell.
Read the original entry: Ladbrokes World Cup adverts
We Buy Any Car advert
Few adverts are genuinely hateful, but We Buy Any Car managed it this year with the advertising equivalent of having Fern Cotton blast an air horn into your face for 60 seconds several times a day.
Pretty much the nearest thing to a sonic weapon - a non-lethal weapon designed to disable victims by provoking vomiting or 'uncontrolled' defecation - that you'll ever see on television.
Read the original entry: WeBuyAnyCar advert
Alfa Romeo Spotify advert
Sadly, or fortunately, I've been unable to track down the audio of this bad, bad ad. Suffice it to say that this advert on Spotfiy was generating hundreds of tweets a day on Twitter, and none were positive.
Actually drove me to a Spotify Premium account. I've yet to work out whether this is sheer genius on the part of Spotify; sheer idiocy on the part of Alfa Romeo; a combination of both; or simple ineptitude. Either way it's abysmal.
Read the original entry: Alfa Romeo Spotify advert
Iceland 201 Christmas adverts
It was an oversight of massive proportions that Iceland's 2010 Christmas adverts, featuring Jason Donovan, were not originally included in this list, but an ad break that featured four or five versions of this ad recently convinced me of the error.
There's something genuinely unsettling about all of this. The insistence of it, the repetition and noise and the fact that the food all looks so horrible.
This isn't just an annoying advert. It;s an advert to give you nightmares.
• Read the original entry: Iceland 2010 Christmas advert
Vote for the worst advert of 2010!
Vote for your most hated ad of 2010 and we'll go an pelt the ad agency who wins with rotten fruit. And very hard stones.