The Worst Advertising, Guerrilla Marketing, and Social Media Screwups of November
Nov 25 2013
The annual UK Christmas advertising battle is bigger than Super Bowl competition here in the States. The shameless assault on consumers begins in November and doesn’t relent until December 26. It is an exercise in nearly unchecked corporate spending, a pissing contest for the top tier of European manufacturers, retailers, and fashion labels, and it is gross.
This year, there’s the unfortunately scored spot for Boots; a purple (eww) Christmas via Cadbury; Marks & Spencer’s Alice In Wonderland/Wizard of Oz mish mash mosh mess (that’s Helena Bonham Carter as the Wizard); and Tesco’s depressing, fake home movie, scored by Rod Stewart’s robbery of Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young.” (If you actually like looking at Christmas ads before December, here are all of the top British commercials.)
But this season’s clear “winner” is “The Bear & The Hare” via department store chain John Lewis. The video, which also aired on TV, has over eight million YouTube views since being released November 8.
Year-in and year-out, John Lewis brings the Sickly Heartwarming like nobody’s business. Back in 2011, they seriously pissed off diehard Smiths fans with this spot featuring mope anthem Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want. But hey, the Moz gave them permission, so he’s as much to blame for that one as the retailer.
John Lewis reportedly spent £7 million (about $11.3 million) to produce this year’s animated woodland tale scored by Keane's “Somewhere Only We Know,” performed by Lily Allen. Everybody on the fucking planet loves the ad, except me, apparently (and the trustworthy Guardian).
Reasons I don’t love this ad:
1. It doesn’t make me want to shop at John Lewis. Or anywhere.
2. The storyline is suspiciously similar to Karma Wilson’s 2008 book Bear Stays Up for Christmas.
3. Bears hibernate to survive.
4. Bears eat hares.
5. Thusly, the rudely awakened and ravenous bear would probably eat the alarm clock and would definitely eat the hare, and any of the other celebrating Christmas creatures it could run down and cram into its bloodthirsty mouth. Then, it would go back to sleep until Easter. The end. I’d like to see that short.
These two ads from a new campaign for Swarovski jewelry feature bony models getting “caught” buying and—gasp—even damn near eating food. Ladies? Better get yourselves some shiny baubles to deflect attention away from your disgusting habit of consuming life-giving sustenance. Ad agency: Philadelphia’s Red Tettemer O’Connell + Partners.
This is the kind of visual disaster that happens when a hospital administrative employee says, “We don’t need to waste money on some fancy ad agency. I took a graphic design class in college. I got this.” Ads via Coloribus.
The Jamaica Tourist Board recently placed this oversized stress ball in Times Square, providing New Yorkers (well, mostly tourists) with the chance to "squeeze their burdens away,” according to the Board’s press release.
Never mind that you couldn’t actually “squeeze” the damn thing (the NYPD would probably Taser you), this is one of the stupidest ad ambient guerrilla things I’ve ever seen. A stress ball is an outdated icon that conjures images of 1980s douchebags like John C. McGinley in Wall Street. A much better installation to help New Yorkers “get all right” would have been a giant bong pumping out Bob Marley tunes and high-grade Jamaican weed smoke.
Why those two numbers, one can’t help but wonder. Well, 1267 + 149 = 1416. In 1416, Henry The Mild died. Also, the Catholic Church burned Jerome of Prague to death. Hmm. Here’s a possibility: a desperate, sun-soaked social media person was way behind his/her Facebook engagement target numbers.
This image is via, not a Highlights in a dentist’s office, but from Facebook, a social media platform whose minimum age requirement is 13. Then again, if you’re near dead drunk as you hopefully are whenever you eat McDonald’s food, this puzzle becomes Da Vinci Code difficult. So, touché, Mickey D’s. (The fry is the winner, if you’re curious.)
And the clear social media loser of November was this tweet via Kellogg’s that smartly married Starvation and Metrics.
They even fumbled their apology—“wrong use of words”? How about, wrong use of the fucking human brain?
Tweet images via Adweek.
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