deep ad thoughts blog

Worst Ads of 2010

Recently, Fast Company and The Consumerist have posted “the worst ads of 2010.” And since we are in the ad business, we can’t help but put on our little, strategic ad hats, analyze the hell out of the creative and USP, and offer our very own opinion.


This commercial is obviously on the worst ads list. Have you heard it? With every “WOW,” we seem to become more maniacal. Their “low price” claim isn’t even accurate, ($17.99 for a pack of 8 pens!) making this commercial twice as ineffective. The creative stinks, and the messaging is off. They should stick with “That was easy.”

Quiznos Kitties

Where do we even begin with this one? The Quiznos Kitties have us confused. Are the sandwiches made by cats? Made from cat food? Neither one are appealing. And to top it off, the jingle is just horrendous – what are they even saying? The only good thing about this are those sweet kitty outfits.


While some people are entertained by the Geico gecko commercials, us ad folk think differently. While the accented lizard has become a brand icon (one of many) for Geico, its purpose simply lies in its ability to help you remember the Geico name. While that might be effective, the gecko promises nothing of Geico. While he is entertaining, can you remember anything more than that, say, the message, perhaps? Now those Cavemen, on the other hand…

Capital One

Another case of the brand icon gone wrong. Can you remember the original purpose of the vikings? Sure, the “Double Miles” message in this ad is clear, but how do the Vikings translate? The messaging and creative don’t work simultaneously, leaving us feeling perplexed. And while we applaud brand consistency, these vikings are case in point for what NOT to carry over.

While entertainment definitely holds strong in tv commercials, effective ads go far beyond that. The key is to create a marriage of creativity and messaging. Lacking either can lead to a bad ad – and a waste of valuable time in front of your audience. Getting their attention is one thing, but don’t fail to use that time to drive home your message.

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