Mark Duffy has written the Copyranter blog for 10 years and is a freelancing copywriter with 20-plus years of experience. His hockey wrist shot is better than yours.

This post is inspired by a line you’ve probably seen before: “If you talked to people the way advertising talked to people, they’d punch you in the face.” It was written by author and cartoonist Hugh MacLeod. And unfortunately, it’s too often true.

I look at thousands of ads every year, thousands of bad ads. But these aren’t just bad: They make me want to level — if not the ads themselves — the people who created them. Or at least I’d like to tell these “creatives” to try a new career, painting tall bridges, maybe. Excluded here, for obvious reasons, are all wireless ads because they are all condescendingly obnoxious and all deserve to be drop-kicked in the head.

TheBouqs.com (USA)

I wanted to punch this commercial in the face a nanosecond after I heard the smarmy-ass voiceover end it by intoning, “There’s never been a better way to be a better guy.” That is the horseshit-iest signoff line since “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.” The hashtag is #RelationshipHack. Brilliant! You can be a raging douchebag of a boyfriend/husband, as long as you just simply “hack” into her adoration with some ridiculously overpriced flowers. Ad agency: Deutsch. Great work, hacks.

Diesel

Diesel2015
Snapped underground, NYC

See what they did there, ADs and designers, with the first five words of your placeholder body copy? They left off “amet” and stopped at “sit,” and un-italicized “sit” because, uh, the disaffected puny punk model is “sitting.” Cicero is cursing (in Latin) in his grave.

Amazingly, Diesel has managed to create stupider ads this year than its epically stupid “Be Stupid” campaign.

E*TRADE

etrade
Snapped in Penn Station

 

They finally fired the talking asshole baby; he’s working on commission in a seedy boiler room on Long Island, getting his lunch (Gerber organic green beans) handed to him daily. His wife left him last summer.

Earlier this year, E*TRADE plastered the main concourse of Penn Station with this stupid, senseless copywriting masquerading as clever, “tough” copywriting. This one made me want to ask a red cap for a ladder so’s I could literally punch it into indecipherableness.

7-11

7-11
Snapped on the A train

 

HAHAHA! THANK YOU 7-11! YES, IN FACT, I AM LITERALLY DYING A LITTLE BIT MORE EVERY DAY THAN YOU BOYS IN DALLAS (7-11 HQ). THANKS FOR THE REMINDER! YOU REALLY “GET” NEW YORKERS.

Whole Foods

WholeFoods

(Here’s the rest of the annoying campaign, by New York agency Partners & Spade.)

“Time” is not on our side, nor does it have “sides.” And even if it did, it would simply take that thorn out at some point in the future and slam into our hearts, killing every single one of us. And your terribly overpriced food can’t stop that from happening. Smug assholes.

Airbnb

Lastly, it’s the most incomprehensible and yet pretentious commercial ever created. And it’s goddamn scary! The dark corridor, the music, the horror-movie voiceover, the baby. … I thought the baby was going to crash through glass door and faceplant. This is TBWA trying to do “1984” for Airbnb, and failing miserably. And I think all the terrible stories we’ve been reading in the news about their renters and tenants answers their “man kind” question for them, emphatically. NO.

NOTE: Later this month, look for my “Digital Dingbats of 2015.”

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