Bad Advertising 101: 45 Ad Fails That Are Worthy Of A Prize

By Aileen D

Advertising can drive someone to buy a product or service. Basically, it can convince you that your life would be so much better with them. We mean, the basic advertising model directly drives and cuts deeps into people’s worst fear and insecurities, so it makes sense that we are constantly buying stuff we don’t need with money we don’t have. And boy, does this model work! (most of the time).

And then we have bad advertising. Sorry. Hilariously bad advertising. Instead of building their customer base, these advertisement fails managed to deliver a blow to the brand’s reputation instead. Whether it’s a weird slogan or tacky design arrangement, these ads take the cake for the worst fails.

Let’s call this a crash course in bad advertising 101. These ads we’ve compiled in this list should enlighten you on what not to do if you’re trying to sell something. Buckle up because we’re about to go down a rough road of cringe-worthy ads.

Vampire Greenberg Number One

Mr. Greenberg has gained notoriety as the best pitchman out there. He believes he’s ready to take on more clients, so he sought the services of an ad company. The company made a mental note to highlight his strengths, such as being the best sales representative you will ever have…

Image Courtesy of fitygrands / Old Reddit

Is it just us, or does Mr. Greenberg seem to have made a mistake contacting the services of this advertising company? If, in any case, you default on your payments, Mr. Greenberg will come in the middle of the night on a full moon. Have garlic on hand!

Comes With An Insurance Claim

With smaller and smaller flats, we have to maximize every square inch of space. That is why people have been using multi-purpose furniture for work and rest. Take this desk. You could work or dine on it or even use it as a room partition.

Image Courtesy of RonanAMA2013 / Reddit

It looks like an insurance claim is about to happen. This desk claims to help you organize all of the wires, but we just don’t get it! Also, the only wire in the picture (the one on the lamp) is not even plugged in!

In Just Six Months

We have had many friends tell us to enroll in a gym membership program because, in three months, they had lost a ton of weight. In four months, they had finished a triathlon. And in six months, they went so far as to start turning their heads 360 degrees!

Image Courtesy of Omega_Hamster / Reddit

Very flexible, all right. Without even noticing it, we run our hands down the length of our necks and knead a cramp by the nape. Yeah, no. We look at the ad and back at our friend. It seems a bit too expensive. And besides, neck-breaking yoga isn’t our thing.

Faulty Legs

Companies rely heavily on Photoshop. You could make a product look doubly efficient, easy to use, and worth its price. That’s where half of the magic lies. But editing should only be done after a photoshoot with the advertised product. It’s never a good idea to just Photoshop the product in.

Image Courtesy of Doeljan11 / Reddit

This laptop stand can reach eye level when used to its maximum height. But we find that very hard to believe. It had been poorly photoshopped in the picture, and this woman doesn’t need to use it with her tablet. She can hold her tablet with her hand!

How Book Lovers Read

The city government has launched a campaign to engage locals to read more books. They have allowed free use of the books for a week or more. They placed ads and placards all over town. But kids are afraid that reading too much will cause them to look like this.

Image Courtesy of holzdnbein/ Reddit

That must explain why book lovers finish books in half the time we do. They hold books in both hands, bring them to eye level, and then read words from the center page outwards. Funnily enough, there’s an optical clinic just to the side of the library. It’s every book reader’s haven.

Hiding in Plain Sight

Every superhero knows that it’s better to blend in with the crowd and then change into a costume when you need to save someone. Either way, disguise is key. But what would you say about these costumes on these superheroes?

Image Courtesy of ginseng72 / Reddit

Reddit user ginseng72 was excited to watch the latest installment of The Incredibles. He had booked himself a ticket in advance and grabbed some popcorn. But he couldn’t help but feel ashamed seeing these costumes held hostage in the theater.

Fuming Hard

Every now and then, this man would book gigs to earn money on the side. He would model for brands and post their pictures on his social media sites. Funnily enough, he was shot to stardom after becoming the poster boy for this local university.

Image Courtesy of Erick Jail / Reddit

His muscles tense, and his chest grows slightly larger as this bus speeds up. It almost appears as if he is fuming hard from promoting this local university. Men, and especially women, can’t help but glance at him as they walk past.

Going Gaga Over Souvenirs

Flying to an exotic place is never complete without buying a bunch of souvenirs for our loved ones. In case you forget to buy a couple from the locals, there are always some exciting items available at the airport.

Image Courtesy of Spetchen / Reddit

It’s the sheer number of souvenir items lining the walls of the shop and the price of each that will get you rolling your eyes. That is why it’s best to buy items from the locals. You are more likely to find more authentic items, too.

Straight To The Morgue

It seems like someone had been on the graveyard shift for too long. A company nurse was tasked to create a poster for the Covid-19 prevention campaign. But instead of keeping covid cases to a minimum, it seems like she’s desperate to send clients straight to the morgue.

Image Courtesy of bea_easter12 / Reddit

You’re guaranteed to cough after laughing so hard at this poster, which will probably infect other people. Some nurses suggested that they take these posters down, while clients prefer that they remain intact. At least someone has a sense of humor.

One Of Their Own

Reddit user Xephia felt for the folded paper in her pocket. She took it out and then read the list of things to buy for this week’s grocery. She needed milk, cereal, and laundry detergent. After grabbing these items, she strolled to the sweets section.

Image Courtesy of Xephia / Reddit

We can’t understand how these two managed to gang up on one of their own and then pull him into two halves. They managed to stretch his insides wide apart. That’s a crime they’re committing right before our very eyes.

The Sweet Spot

There are all sorts of food items along this street. You could have your taste of Mexican food, Chinese cuisine, or even Italian. But nothing tastes as comforting as the fried chicken served in this little dive. You could even order Halal food if you’re feeling a little adventurous.

Image Courtesy of Quillford/ Reddit

Is it us, or does that spot look like a body part? And is that someone grabbing it and smiling? We don’t understand how someone doesn’t see something like this before they even put the sign up! We’re scratching our heads!

First Year In

This couple loaded up the car and headed to the nearest shop, but they forgot the name of the store. The man looks at his wife for a brief second and returns his gaze to the road. He says, “It’s on the tip of my tongue!” His wife looks disbelievingly at him.

Image Courtesy of Whoppertine / Reddit

We can’t see why anyone would forget this equestrian brand, and not for the best of reasons. But we don’t doubt that they have nice riding gear or horse equipment. However, it seems like customers are generally dissatisfied with their purchases from this brand.

No Rest, All Play

This company boasts about its comfortable recliners that allow customers plenty of legroom. This company is getting rave reviews because of that, and they even put speakers along the front, back, and sides of the chairs! Sounds exciting, right?

Image Courtesy of Barry_the_Rotten / Reddit

Customers are met with this eye-catching logo as soon as the lights dim. A sly smile forms on their lips, and they burst into a laugh. It boasts of comfortable seating, but women are inclined to sit elsewhere instead of these recliner cushions.

Feeds the Whole Pack

Reddit user goonie_lover absolutely loves her dogs. She spoils them dirty. She buys them toys and treats every month even if they have been really naughty. She decided to buy them a pet feeder so they can help themselves to a serving even if she’s in the office.

Image Courtesy of goonie_lover / Reddit

When the delivery man dropped it off, she thought there must have been a mistake. This pet feeder seems awfully different from that advertised. The one she bought would have made for a dog’s lifetime supply of food, at least.

Car Drives Itself

Reddit user colorfl0 wanted to buy a massager. She could use the extra relief. She strolled along the aisle and scanned the boxes. There were all sorts – pillow massager, massage gun, and this body massager that you can use on the way to work.

Image Courtesy of color fl0 / Reddit

Just wear the massager like a vest and plug the cable in the car’s power outlet. But we wouldn’t advise that you use it while you on your morning commute. That looks like an accident waiting to happen. Just look at the picture! She’s asleep!

Going Vegan

We remember what it’s like being an intern. You get called out often because you’re learning many things all at once. Half the time, it’s the jitters that get to you. However, we can’t recall a time we had messed up like this intern here.

Image Courtesy of OTOD_tag / Reddit

We can’t recall bamboo shoots and stalks as tasty sources of protein. In fact, they look nothing like organic edamame. We can only imagine why this intern had photoshopped these noodles to look like dry sticks? Let’s just blame it on the nerves.

I Can See You

Despite the cloudy weather and the sullen atmosphere at work, Reddit user Germantoast33 can find ways to entertain himself. On the trip home, he followed this bus four times just to see this gorgeous masterpiece plastered on its side.

Image Courtesy of Germantoast33 / Reddit

And being the art critic that he was, he took posted the photo on Reddit. Within minutes, he got many uplikes on Reddit. What’s not to love about this picture? It explains how healthcare professionals are good at assessing you for health problems and conditions, right?

Playing A Wildcard

Do you remember playing Connect 4? Players choose a color and take turns dropping their chips in each column. The first player who connects four chips of the same color in any direction wins. Anyone with an understanding of a line and colors can play the game.

Image Courtesy of chicchac / Reddit

“Ooh,” the yellow disc exclaims. His opponent smirks. “Beat you to it.” The yellow player looks quizically at him. “Beat you to what?” The red player answers, “Beat you to beating myself.” You can set yourself up for failure thanks to these blue blocker discs and faulty logic.

Works For Convertibles Too

It’s the best of the best. This air purifier can eliminate foul odors from enclosed spaces like your room or car. Simply turn it on and leave it in your cup holder. Within minutes, you should be able to achieve cleaner and fresher air…

Image Courtesy of hindu05 / Reddit

Unfortunately, there didn’t seem to be enough clean air after using this “car ozone.” This couple thought to roll the windows down and allow for an open-air driving experience. Hopefully, that fresh air should bring them back to their senses.

Johnny Bravo

Scientists claim that exercise can do wonders for your brain. After all, increased circulation within the body means increased blood flow to the brain. That upsurge in oxygen should help you with mental tasks. But from this ad, we’re convinced it’s also associated with a lower IQ.

Image Courtesy of bassackwards / Reddit

Which explains why there are people like Johnny Bravo. People like him are heavily invested in pumping iron that they forget to read up on books and apply logic. See, Johnny, if you were to use that dumbbell for an ‘I,’ then you wouldn’t need to put ‘I’ after the ‘F.’

Instant Weightloss

We know how difficult it is to lose weight. It only takes us a week max to fall back to bad habits. And soon after, we don’t want to step on the scale to see if we have made any progress. The mirror tells it all. But as it turns out, we had been using the scale wrong this whole time.

Image Courtesy of yoergo / Reddit

That’s the way to use it! Sit on a chair and then put both feet on the scale. Why didn’t we think of that?! Within a second, you should see your weight displayed on the screen. Without breaking a sweat or signing up for a gym membership, you can have instant weight loss with a little technique.

Takes A Man To Do The Job

We had heard that employing the services of an advertising company costs money. There may be different ways to cut costs, but we didn’t know this was one of them. This company wanted to employ working-class handymen. They chose the face of the ad and then sent him in for a photoshoot.

Image Courtesy of doctor_Blob / Reddit

It only takes a man to do the job. Hire one of these guys, and you’re guaranteed to have the pipe cleaned, the walls painted, the toilet flushing, and the house built in no time. That’s how exceptionally efficient this man is.

Dirty Business

There has been a rise in business activity within the district. Along with that, suspicious-looking men in luxury cars surveil the neighborhood. Many of the residents are concerned that the establishments are used for money laundering activities. Here’s proof.

Image Courtesy of SoDakZak / Reddit

Who in the world would pay money for this? Anyone without any care for their business, that’s what! There are no customers who visit the shop or anyone who cares to place orders online. Reddit user SoDakZak is convinced that this is a drug lord’s money laundering business.

Can’t Feel My Face

We can’t count how many showerheads we have had replaced this year. Thanks to this brand, we haven’t any need for changing our showerhead for over a year now. Now, taking a shower these days looks a lot like this.

Image Courtesy of dinglehump / Reddit

Funny how she can manage to smile. If that were us, we might not be able to feel our faces or the trickle of water down our broken necks. You’re never going to have to replace a showerhead, given how intense the water pressure is from this showerhead.

Brain Is Playing Tricks On You

Women spend hundreds to thousands of dollars for a good skin care regimen. A set should include emulsions, serums, toners, and more. This particular brand claims it can reverse aging. Just to what extent, you might ask. Well, this woman has gone back to becoming an infant.

Image Courtesy of mikaelstein / Old Reddit

Ever since we saw Reddit user mikaelstein’s comment, we can’t see this picture the same way. He stared at this picture for a second too long. He claims that he used to be able to see the towel on her head. Try it. Now, all we can see is a tiny mohawk.

Needs An Exorcism

In summer’s sweltering summer heat, who wouldn’t go crazy over a bottle of cold soda? It’s the best on a hot day sitting around with friends and laughing about all the dumb stuff you guys used to do.

Image Courtesy of dudelsac / Reddit

We would say this woman has had one too many bottles of Coke. She might want to lay off them for a while, at least until she regains normalcy. It might take her a couple of hours before the sugar crash kicks in, so it’s best to drink these in moderation.

Gravity Doesn’t Work That Way 

Which superhero do you like the most? There’s Black Panther with his suit that can absorb vibrations and release them during an attack. There’s Superman with his laser eyes and godly strength. And then there’s your friendly neighborhood Spiderman, whose coffee cup defies the laws of gravity.

Image Courtesy of speeider / Reddit

Sure, there are some things present in their reality that aren’t present in ours. But as far as we can recall, gravity works the same way in his world. So, why hasn’t that steaming, hot coffee spilled on R2 -D2? Guess the superheroes on this advert can’t troubleshoot a short-circuited R2 D2.

Says The Loser

First, we were taught how to play by the rules. We called players out when they were being unfair. Then, we learned how to break the rules. It was easier to win and get our way with things if we didn’t have rules restricting us. It’s just a matter of knowing when to play fair and when to think outside of the box.

Image Courtesy of lukeglenn / Reddit

Tic-tac-toe is a fairly easy game to play and a great way to pass the time. But this person might have been overthinking. The answer to his success lay in the last row. He didn’t literally need to think outside of the box.

Just Make Sure It’s Cooked

The smell of grilled barbecue sauce drifted out of the restaurant. We hungrily followed the scent and looked at the menu. With mouths wide open, practically drooling, we asked the cook how they prepared their meals. He showed us this.

Image Courtesy of Toasty Booty / Reddit

We might have been too hungry to understand what he was saying. We waited for a couple of minutes and engulfed the slabs of beef we were served. Then we looked at this advert. All we could hope was if the food was cooked or not.

Our Parents Warned Us

We hated being scolded by our parents when we played video games. They would promise us an hour of play if we cleaned up our room. Somehow that hour passed by like seconds. We had only come to know what happens if you play too much from this ad.

Image Courtesy of abandoned-potato / Reddit

Lose yourself in the game, and you just might lose an elbow. Isn’t this ad the stuff of nightmares? Everything looks poorly photoshopped. She’s distantly staring at something other than the screen, her elbows are awkwardly angled, and her expression is a bit too much. We’re giving this a hard pass.

And Never Wake Up

As kids, we had dreamt we were princesses in need of saving. We would build sand castles as high as the sky and call out for help. But now that we are adults, we’re perfectly content to be the commoners that we are. The last thing that we want is chemically-treated apples.

Image Courtesy of Red _Rolo 09 / Reddit

We guess this tale might have some basis in reality. Eating store-bought fruit means eating chemically-treated food. Little by little, we are being poisoned by big companies without a Prince Charming to break the curse. How long will it take us to wake from this sleep?

Girl Let Loose

It’s important to remain hydrated while working out. We can’t recall the number of times we almost fainted from exhaustion. Scientists claim it’s better to drink fluids with electrolytes. That should help keep cramps at bay, maintain your rhythm, and keep you on the go.

Image Courtesy of kronograft / Reddit

It had been the nth time this ad company was asked to revise the advert. They were losing their patience and passed this sample as a joke. Funnily enough, their customer gave a thumbs up, not understanding the sludge of liquid coming out from her.

Mafia Style

Reddit user terrariaexpert stared at this ad, shellshocked by its contents. Her partner came up beside him to ask him what was wrong, then turned to see what he was looking at. His mouth grew slack. Girls, men, and kids could have themselves cut for only ten dollars.

Image Courtesy of TerrariaExpert / Reddit

Whoever made this ad wisely chose the pictures, too. Everyone except the girls was terrified to sit on the chair and have their hair cut. Might it be because women don’t have much to lose when it comes to their long hair?

In Another World

You can tell that this ad was made in the early 2000s. Back then, it was common to see pictures in black and white, and people were hyped up over flip phones. Women wouldn’t bare much skin. Their eyebrows were shaved thin, and their faces wouldn’t be ridden with fillers or injectables.

Image Courtesy of MrSegwayMan / Reddit

Music videos and ads would feature a world inside a world. Like the infinity mirror, a shot on this phone would create a series of smaller and smaller reflections that recede into an infinite reality. Thank heavens advertising has grown leaps and bounds since then.

Hard And Heavy

In the early 2000s, fashion brands might have come up with a blank for design inspiration. They started to use the days of the week as shirt designs. This pair costs $20 each. It would have been worth the price had these models worn the shirts without the jackets.

Image Courtesy of virginmary93 / Reddit

Now, all we can see is this woman’s need to head straight to the bathroom. Would it be polite for us to hand her some tissues to aid with the process? Might even tell her to keep off the sugar for a while. lt can irritate the tummy and cause turds.

Someone Didn’t Think That Through

A lot of people are very careless about their words. They should consider what to use given the context, audience, and even intent of the speaker. When this shop put up a sign, the shop owner was not happy with the end result.

Image Courtesy of Hantook / Reddit

Just what is that supposed to mean? He looks at his staff and back at the paint. He slides a finger against it and notices it has hardened. The shop owner runs a hand through his hair and then struggles to keep his voice even.

Looks Painful

Invisalign treatment is the new craze nowadays. Teenagers and kids wouldn’t have to deal with bulky metals and elastics. They simply have to wear it for about six months to a year, and they will get those straight white teeth everyone envies. If you’re wondering what Invisalign looks like, see for yourself.

Image Courtesy of gerald1 / Reddit

Looks invisible, alright. When it comes right down to it, we’d still go for braces. You don’t have to take them off when eating. You wouldn’t forget having placed them in tissue napkins or handkerchiefs. And they cost as much as those air vents.

Subtracting The C

People who struggle with math often find themselves excelling in the languages. We remember our classmates. They would volunteer to finish sentences or write paragraphs but cower when asked what X was during math class. But there are a few who struggle with both.

Image Courtesy of weinythewhite / Reddit

Well that is an effective way to cheer people up. Kudos to Palm Partners, who managed to make the few people struggling with subtraction laugh. We have one other important tip to help them change people’s lives – proofreading.

What Photoshop Buys You

Reddit user Rosalina888 checks her calendar. She has a lot of red-eye flights this month, given her busy work schedule. She logs into eBay to search for an eye mask for sleeping. That should help her catch some zzz’s on her flight.

Image courtesy of rosalina888 / Reddit

Is it us, or is this woman missing another nostril? She peers closer at the screen. It might have been make-up because it almost looks like a smudge. She moves away from the screen. This is what bad photoshop gets you.

Loves To Be Eaten Raw

It has been a long week and this Redditor thought to treat herself to a little rest and recreation. She booked herself an appointment at the spa center. She slammed the door shut, locked the car, and stopped to look at this advert that perfectly encapsulates how women are by nature.

Image Courtesy of Cream77 / Reddit

She hadn’t known that her spa center was also a comedy bar. There’s a half-truth to that picture. She snorted a laugh and proceeded to the reception area. She manages to tell the attendant, who, even under the dimmed lights, blushes bright pink.

If You Got It, Flaunt It

True nerds know who Ash Ketchum is. He is the main character and trainer in Pokemon Anime. This ten-year-old plans to become the world’s greatest Pokemon Master. In the series, you will see him traveling to different regions with only his friends and a backpack.

Image Courtesy of ungori11 / Reddit

Ash Ketchum has many character strengths, but he manages to stay humble. He doesn’t like to flaunt his many assets. But he can be faulted for being rash. He often rushes to battles without thinking about the best plan of attack or defense. Thankfully, he’s got friends backing him up.

From The Other Side

You can measure how well a city fares in terms of public transportation. Fortunately enough, Reddit user loveghostdotexe lives in a city that continuously maintains and improves its transit. They have a bunch of these posters around the city displaying what a good transit system provides.

Image Courtesy of LoveGhostDotEXE / Reddit

A good one should help you get to and from pitstops safely. The last thing the city government wants is for you to cross to the other side. There’s pretty much no way of getting you back after you head into the light and cross the point of no return.

So We’re Aliens Now

We think we were in first grade when we first saw a picture of Earth. Anyone can imagine an irregularly shaped circle. You can see the rich green forests of the Amazons and the harsh deserts of West Asia. These land masses were interspersed among an ocean of blue.

Image Courtesy of boring_space_waffle / Reddit

Reddit user boring_space_waffle couldn’t believe his eyes. Earth. He turns the box around and sees the same image of this natural satellite. He checks the box’s manufacturer and wasn’t surprised when he found out the answer.

Sure, “Safe”

With its pristine waters and culturally preserved heritage, Rhodes is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world. This family had just booked a trip to the island, and everyone was excited to change into their trunks and hit the beach.

Image Courtesy of sleightlymagical / Reddit

This user had to Google “Rhodes.” Apparently, it’s one of the safest places. The few dangers on the island include drunk people, microwaved food, the lack of people versed in English, and overcrowded roads. Seems safe enough to me, the boy says.

Looks £1

The British consider themselves one of the classiest people there are. They are well-versed in history, languages, and arts. They know their table manners, and they are almost always well-dressed, too. From their shirts to their specs, you will hardly see them sporting £10 casualwear.

Image Courtesy of gallowboob / Reddit

That’s because these specs look like £1. It’s the perfect way to complete your everyday attire. You won’t have to worry about getting mugged on the train or on the way to work. The majority of Brits brag about snapping up a bargain instead of buying designer clothes or expensive brand items.