The worst ads from the biggest brands in the last three months alone

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.

Ya’d think in 2016 that the supposedly smartest CMOs in the world would be able help produce, if not great ads, at least not complete garbage, wouldn’t ya?

If so, ya’d be wrong.

I have never seen so many bad big-brand ads within such a short span (about three months). I’m seriously advising you to not watch any of these, not even for five seconds.

GE, ”Raining Octopuses,” by BBDO NYC


“We’re ready for whatever you’ve got, world.” Including a downpour of cephalopods. This is via General Electric, one of the biggest energy companies in the world and allegedly one of America’s biggest polluters. If octopi ever do come crashing down from the heavens, GE just may be one the reasons why. So I’m so glad they’re ready for it! Also, this spot is presented humorously? These octopi are hitting earth at 9.8 meters per second squared and are all dying instantly. That’s a knee-slapper of a situation right there.

Corona, “Sofa,” by The Community, Miami

[vimeo 175237492 w=640 h=360]

Corona Summer Sofa from Vapor Post on Vimeo.

“Dear sofa: we need to talk.” Before the V/O can get to his next word, I’ve already screamed at my laptop: “Oh screw you, Corona!” “I’m feeling … trapped by the ordinary and the everyday …” Yeah? why don’t you meditate … or start a Second Life gunrunner character, sofa boy? Who wrote this copy? Johnny Junior Account Exec? It’s an embarrassingly juvenile ad.

Image via: Marketing Fun and Fail.

AXE, “Find Your Magic,” by 72andSunny, Amsterdam
“Try, try, try to understand … I’m a magic man.”

Axe has finally stopped exploiting women in its ads — an amazing development! Now it’s exploiting millennial men … small-brained millennial men, including Curly, the egg whisperer here.

Here’s the “Big Idea” commercial:


It’s sooo inclusive! Again, from the first line (“C’mon, a six-pack?”), this copy feels like it was written by a “hip” marketing “guru.”

Schweppes, “John,” by ACW Grey Tel-Aviv


Yet Another big-brand spot seemingly written by an overexcited mar-com drone. I guess many of them have seen the marketing writing on the whiteboard and have become crap copywriters.

Here’s John Harper. John … has stepped up and onto a very important plateau in his life. Time to bang him over the head with the sell message. Wait, come back here John, that dent doesn’t look big enough — BE MATURE DRINK SCHWEPPES — oops, we cracked your skull.

VW, “Perfect Traction,” by No, No, No, No, No, Yes, Israel


“So you’ll get home safely.” And see, the car trackys made a little housey! I’m assuming this ad ran in Highlights magazine — can’t hook drivers too young.

Dunkin’ Donuts, “#KEEPON,” by Hill Holliday, Boston


Hey millennials, it’s another “anthem” ad for you. Dontcha love all the Gen Y ad anthems? Well, you’re going to #KeepOn getting them anyway. Sure there are a couple of us olds in there, but this ad is all you. What are you gonna #KeepOn doing? Winning? Losing? BECAUSE EVERY DAY IS A GIFT A NEW DAY TO DO SOMETHING AMAZING. Whoever wrote that onscreen copy deserves to be forced to listen to that generically awful song from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day for the rest of their life.

Also? This ad/song could literally be for ANY product/service, up to and including a funeral home.

Facebook, agency unknown

Also a place to kill yourself, live.

Lastly, we have this mystery Facebook out-of-home campaign that must have been placed on another Earth-like planet far far away. Except on that planet, the humanoids are even stupider than us. Ads found on Reddit and Tumblr, respectively.


MORE: Because of space limitations, I couldn’t write at length about every recent bad big-brand ad. In brief: there’s also this amazingly imbecilic Honda Civic “Square” ad (agency: RPA), Samsung’s “we are all snails” BS (agency: Leo Burnett), and a puke-inducing Prius spot (agency: H&L Partners) that *wink-wink* makes fun of nerds with a hand heavier than this guy’s.

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