Is it that time again. For the bad things? You know, the worst adverts of 2017? The things that have been making your angry, upset, irritated or perhaps even clinically insane over the course of the year? I must say, 12 months ago I was struggling for things to say. Now, as I find myself casting an eye withered by intense hatred over what advertising has served up over the last 12 months, I feel reborn. Just like America, where it’s morning again. If that morning looks like a coming fascist apocalypse.
Back over in Blighty it’s not been much cheerier, but luckily we’re going to leave the European soon and all our problems will be solved. The economy will rebounce, there’ll be a million more houses once the Eurocrats stop us using straight bananas for bricks and there will be no further Muslim families in adverts (thanks for nothing, Gordon Brown!).
And on the telly? No comfort there. Between the meat-grinder aesthetics of box-set killathons, The Handmaid’s Tale and This Fucking Morning there’s precious little to lift spirits. And sandwiched in between like James Corden wrapped up in, well, two more James Cordens the adverts are waiting for us.
They get you while you’re weak you know. Just when you’re reeling from Trump and nuclear war and the housing crisis and Philip Schofield they hit with concentrated messages of smiling, happy, thin people and wormtongue in your ear that if only you buy their shit you can be just like them on the telly.
Whisper, whisper. A holiday, a car, a burger.The unfettered delights of broadband from a slightly different supplier. And checking your FUCKING. CREDIT. HISTORY. They lie in wait for us like a Victorian butcher’s assistant awaiting a lady of the night in the fog-shrouded east end (oh, and let’s take it as read I despise James Corden, any price-comparison websites, betting websites, virtually anything for banks and acknowledge the sheer ineptitude of most daytime things for hoovers, gardening kneepads and meals-on-wheels).
And so you buy something and, fractionally, momentarily feel a little bit better. And then it’s onto the drudgery of the fifth nightly episode of Coronation Street. So I urge you: don’t see adverts as harmless or even a bit of a laugh.
Think of them as evil; as obviously evil as Rebekah Vardy. And steel yourself for what’s ahead, for it’s the time of year when I choose the absolute nadir. Brace yourselves: it’s the worst adverts of 2017.
Read: worst adverts of 2017
Want to know what it looks like to spend bazillions of quids on a campaign in which no-one has the slightest faith? Look no further than the Sansbury’s Food Dancing adverts, which features a rainbow vision of Britain where everyone prances about while cooking.
It’s like a Brian Eno cut-up technique where a bunch of creatives have inexpertly welded together a bunch of aspirational and on-brand concepts and like a conceptual Human Caterpillar (please don’t Google that if you don’t know what it means) and just as grisly.
All so somewhere a handful of people will upload their videos to Youtube, Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram with the hashtag #FoodDancing. And somewhere in London some people will make a note of this and make a PowerPoint then show it to someone who works at Sainsbury’s who, in turn, will hand over a cheque for three million pounds.
• Read the original: Sainsbury’s food dancing advert
You know you almost have to admire this advert for Tui, a thing that used to be called Thomson that has been rationalised into a noise that seems designed to represent gross physical nausea, given the reactions to this spot.
I pondered not even doing a poll this year, as it’s quite clear to me that Tui is going to sweep away everything in its path like a physical tide of comical ineptitude worse than an Apprentice candidate laced with enough chemical sludge to make everyone evacuate every bodily receptacle at once.
Clearly one of the worst adverts of 2017; clearly one of the most dreadful thing to take place within our solar system since the Kuiper Belt fiddled a load of OAPs out of their war pensions.
• Read the original: Tui advert
People actually complained when I ran through this advert with a spit before roasting it unceremoniously on top of a Bonfire of James Corden autobiographies. Because it has animals it.
Look, I like animals. I like them so much I give money to the RSPCA, RSPB, WWF and a variety of wildlife and environmental charities and pressure groups. That’s what liking animals means, not gawping at the fucking things and making that ‘aww’ noise when you see a CGI one on the telly before polishing off another cow-leg sandwich.
So, frankly, fuck adverts that use non-existent animals as a means to barter entrance into your subconscious. As for you, if you’re one of the people who liked teh funnay animals, go and put a bird feeder up in your back garden.
• Read the original: Clearscore advert
“Speedcore or Spandau?” Virgin asked us.
“Hobnail boot or baseball bat?” replied the world.
Like Piers Morgan entering your bedroom, dousing you with a bucket of cold water and dragging his fingernails down a blackboard just as you near orgasm.
• Read the original: Virgin Trains advert
Windows rapping teacher advert
A good grief. Tony, what have you done. Though I might decry bigotry and jingoism in all its forms I have to admit to a kernel of annoyance when American adverts are beamed, unchanged, into our upright, steadfast and proudly parochial British living rooms. We just can’t deal with such an earnest lack of irony and if there’s anything Tony lacks – apart from the name of a good hairdresser and any flow whatsoever – it’s irony. Tony got in touch on Twitter and seems like a good guy, but by God he really is responsible for one of the worst adverts I’ve ever seen.
• Read the original: Windows rapping teacher advert
I dislike McDonald’s for many reasons, but I never thought they would add ‘exploiting bereaved children in order to sell hamburgers’ to that list.
Of course, a diet high in sugars, fat and salt is probably more likely to lead to obesity, heart disease and diabetes so perhaps it’s no surprise that Dad popped his clogs before his son was in long trousers.
• Read the original: McDonald’s dead Dad advert
Like a shark, price-comparison site adverts have to keep moving forward to stay alive. Well, if that shark was a total cunt anyway. Every now and again a Go Compare or a Moneysupermarket stumbles across a winning formula – a genuinely amusing, original or dissonant advert that catches the eyes and actually entertains for the first 600 or so times you see it. But there’s always a regression to the mean that ensure the next one up will be as depressingly banal as usual.
Perhaps there’s simply no point in making the effort in this peculiar niche of advertising where your product is literally exactly the same as your three main rivals. If shouting the loudest and longest is the mark of success I guess we should be surprised there’s as much effort as there is in these crushingly tossed-off, will-this-do ‘ironic thing from your childhood’ bowel movements casually shat out by agencies who know they’re onto a good thing.
• Read the original: Skeletor adverts
Yes it’s McDonald’s again – did I tell you I don’t like them? – with this advert that’s half-good. Unfortunately the rest of it is pure, concentrated evil – as bad as the stuff that seeps out of the pages of the Dailies Mail and Express every day and poison the brain, heart and any other major organs of anyone who is exposed for long enough.
This point-and-laugh exercise is a metaphor for Britain in 2017, where anything different, anything fancy, anything highbrow or anything that attempts to lift itself out of the Shit Life Syndrome bog much of England is right now can be ridiculed just because it’s not itself shit.
Imagine Nigel Farage in his stupid upmarket Del Boy coat smoking a fag, braying that posh-boy laugh and slurping a cup of McCafe coffee – it’s startling easy to – and you’ll never look at it in the same way again.
• Read the original: McDonald’s McCafe advert
Nationwide ‘share a sunrise’ advert
Meet Toby and Laurie. On second thoughts, don’t.
It’s actually called This Is Christmas. Shane Meadows meets Googlebox – somehow conspiring to advertise broadband with a soundtrack of ‘real people’ singing. Ghastly.
Vote: worst adverts of 2017
Obviously if you’ve voting on the worst adverts of 2017 it’s going to be Tui. But I’ll be keeping a close eye on second and third place in the battle to find the worst adverts of 2017…