Worst Advert Of 2015: Results

tesco-advert will close

Tesco was the runaway winner of the poll to find the worst advert of 2015. By such a long way that it garnered almost four times as many votes as its closest rival, Clean Bandit’s quite hideous Cortana advert and a full 35% higher than a third-placed late addition – the Virgin Media advert.

This is by far the biggest win of any terrible advert over the last seven years, but I’m going out on a limb to suggest that Tesco’s ubiquity around the time the poll has somewhat skewed the results. Was it really worse than the Clean Bandit Cortana advert? The godawful Haribo ad where they talk in children’s voices? Or the utterly vile Andrex ‘gold pants’ ad? For my money no, but there’s certainly something interesting going on here.

The rather swaggering way that Tesco went into this ad campaign – believing it had ‘permission to be funny‘ and that there was a ‘latent love of the brand’ – only to be met with a wall of visceral hatred reminded me of the grisly way the Ceaușescus went to their doom in 1989. Waving and smiling to a crowd one minute; machine-gunned up against a wall the next.

Hyperbole? Just take a look at the comments on this Facebook post, which contains just one image of actor Will Close (the annoying son to Ruth Jones and Ben Miller in the Tesco adverts) and nothing more. A calvacade of hatred.

My theory on this is that our suspicion of government, banks and big business is finally catching up with authority figures. It’s why Donald Trump, Nigel Farage, Jeremy Corbyn and the SNP have become more popular; why the High Street is having such a terrible time; why we burn effigies of politicians and bankers. The old orders are being disrupted.

It’s not so established that we’re actually leaving our banks or shopping at co-operatives – instead we vent our frustration in more symbolic ways. We’re unlikely to vote out a Tory government virtually everyone believes is horrible but we’re sure as Hell going to throw eggs at them. Tesco and the like – all those big, familiar brands – can expect a rougher ride going forward.

20 years ago Tesco had Prunella Scales and Jane Horrocks doing the exact same thing as Miller, Jones and Close. And it was seen as part of Tesco’s undeniable elevation to the king of the edgeland-megastore; the vanguard of a movement that killed off our limping town centres. Skip forward to today and Tesco is struggling and a set of adverts that do exactly the same thing are utterly despised.

Something has changed. The question for agencies, brands, business – for all of us – is what?

Worst Advert of 2015: Results

Tesco wins with over 44% of the vote, with the Cortana advert a distant second at 12.33% and Virgin Media – a late entry that probably would have claimed the runner-up spot if it had been in the original poll – taking bronze with just under 10%. MadBid was just outside the medals and the only other advert to take more than five per cent of the vote in a very open field. A field of shite, that is.

worst advert of 2015

‘Other’ answers

Just Eat
oak furniture land
Vitality uk dog
Joe Hart Head and Shoulders advert
House of Fraser “Your Christmas your rules”
just eat
Apple christmas
Apple xmas advert
LA vie est belle

Worst Advert Of The Year: Past winners

Tesco joins AdTurds royalty Wonga, Sainsbury’s, Go Compare, Haribo and Halifax in being voted the worst advert of the year. You can check out results and what I had to say for them below.

Worst Advert of 2009: Results
Worst Advert of 2010: Results
Worst Advert of 2011: Results
Worst Advert of 2013: Results
Worst Advert of 2014: Results

How Twitter Reacted To The Clean Bandit Cortana Advert

With opinion crystallising around the idea that the Clean Bandit Cortana advert is ranked somewhere between the explosion of Krakatoa and 90s soap opera Eldorado in terms of Bad Things, I wonder how Clean Bandit have viewed the last month. That is, assuming they can view anything, what with the amounts of bank notes Microsoft has been explosively ejaculating in their direction for most of 2015.

I’ve had my say on the Clean Bandit advert already – as has most of the internet – but bad adverts are meat and drink to blogs and websites, whose job it is to scorn stuff like this. For a real snapshot of how the group’s Cortana advert has gone down we need to look at social media – if stuff goes down badly on the likes of Twitter, increasingly taken over by vlogging twerps, you know you’re in trouble.

I’ve got some filthy news for you, Clean Bandit. The people who inhabit Twitter, one of the easiest audiences to impress, think it’s a shitter. The words cringe, embarrassing and die are used most frequently in reference to the ad – and something truly awful becomes apparent.

Even though people hate it, their cringe muscle is even more exercised than their hate muscle. People don’t hate Clean Bandit for this advert; they actually pity Clean Bandit for being in their advert.

See what you make of the following responses from Twitter, Vine and Youtube and ask yourself if the band will ever recover from their awkward dalliance with Cortana.

What Clean Bandit Should Ask Cortana For

Class A drugs?

Career Ruined

Is this a new Duffy Diet Coke ad in the making?

Even MPS Are Dissing Them

Stella Creasy MP just pwned Clean Bandit.


Genuine fury, randomly directed.

Was It Worth It? / Change Your Agent

How much money could possibly be worth all this?

No Words

Clean Bandit Fans

Even Clean Bandit fans – or erstwhile Clean Bandit fans – are appalled.



Nailed it.

Reverend And The Makers identify just what Clean Bandit can expect to have shouted at them forever

Cortana / Clean Bandit Media

Lots of people can’t rely on words to express their fury.

You make me laugh, Cortana


Cringe, Embarrassment And Shame

The Cortana advert is provoking a lot of physical reactions across the land.

Worst Thing Ever

Of course, the vast majority of people were simply moved to describe just how nakedly appalling the whole enterprise is.