The worst advert of 2011: Results

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-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.

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 – 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.’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.

Other choices

Go Compare
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