There’s no such thing as bad advertising, right?

In today’s world of technology, constant criticism from faceless names has been the undoing of many famous brands. While at times the companies are not to be blamed, there have been instances where even the biggest names in the business world have become famous for their notoriously politically incorrect statements,leaving a horrid, bitter taste amongst consumers. Companies often times forget that the consumer is the reason and influence behind an ad campaign. Campaigns that have gone terribly wrong all point to one direction – lack of consumer engagement. The latest company to come under the scanner is the popular beer brand – Bud Light , who thought going with the slogan “The perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary for the night” was the best way to promote a new line of drinks. This connotation to a “rape drug” had consumers fuming in disapproval and the company having to issue a public apology.

Bad advertisement could lead your company straight to the gallows! In a recent survey ( Adweek Media ), nearly one-third of the applicants said they would stop purchasing a product if it were badly advertised or rather they found the ads to be distasteful. Other factors that constitute bad advertising would be using an inappropriate spokesperson or the brand partnering with an event the consumers did not seem to appreciate. Whether it is a typecast or not, advertisements seem to have a bigger impact on women than men; with most women discontinuing their brand loyalty because of a distastefulad. The following are examples of brands whose ads had an adverse effect on their image:


Dove and a host of other brands have been famous for their ‘Fair is better than dark’ campaigns. Although these campaigns (think Fair and Lovely in India) have earned a lot of flack over the last few years, there seems to be no stopping them. The above picture was not only criticized for exalting the powers of a fair person, but also for using an actual Black person for the before and a White person for the after – a direct statement that one race is better than the other.

It is clear why the above misogynistic ad campaign from Ford did not do well. JWT that handles the Ford account issued a public statement that said that they deeply regretted the ads that went against the professionalism and decency within the WPP group.

Yes PETA ! The organization that stands for animal rights apparently doesn’t consider their humanscounterparts. By condemning people who are not part of the movement as “obese”, or worse a “whale” was not the best way to get new supporters. For an enterprise that deals with a lot of sensitive issues, this campaign was not sensitive and not necessary.

Most of these ads ruined their brand’s images for some time, while other brands were lucky to have their ads pulled before being visible to the public eye. Even the saying “All publicity is good publicity” has its limits, beyond which it’s just BAD!
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