Eight Highly Questionable Promotions From The Last Eight Years

Just because an idea is different doesn’t mean it’s good.

1.

2006.
India.Arie — pop crap or good shit?
This Porta-Potty promo wrap was installed at a New York Road Runners’ event in Central Park. Did they also pipe in her music? And if so, did it act as a laxative or a costive?

2.

2009.
Bacardi in Israel spent a lot of money on this “Ugly Girlfriend” promo, and then, almost immediately, tried to erase every tasteless trace of it from the Internet.

3.

2008.
I actually admire the honesty of this promo ad if not the terrible layout. None of this “Vegas is a delightful destination where parents can bring the kids” hooey. And by acknowledging that Vegas is douche bag ground zero — even if it is satirically — the ad instantly appeals to an ad-weary audience. I doubt if it worked, though.

4.

2009.
To commemorate World Water Day, Green Belgium, through Antwerp ad agency Duval Guillaume, sent out this mailer to the media with a hidden message only readable after running it under water. The translated line: “Without water, knowledge cannot flow.” Hey, why let a little thing like preservation stand in the way of a desperate bid for ad awards?

5.

2011.
The world’s smallest ever print ad.
To promote their Proglide blades, Gillette wrote a campaign on a man’s shaved whiskers. The ads were 100 microns in size. According to the agency press note: “The actual hairs were then placed in men’s bathrooms at airports where they would typically freshen up. With the hairs was a QR code through which people could access extra content showing what was on the hair.”
So! That happened. Ad agency: CLM BBDO France.

6.

January 2012.
Hell Pizza of New Zealand gave away pens that looked like blood-filled syringes with the inscription: “Hell, creating addicts since 1996.” The pens weren’t supposed to be given out to children, but, yeah, that didn’t go as planned. Hell stopped the promo after receiving many complaints from parents.

7.

2008.
La Hacienda, tagline “The Hottest Food in Town,” is a chain of Mexican eateries dotting the heartland of America. They are known for the spiciest south of the border specialties. To totally ram that point up your ass, they installed mini-refrigerators filled with rolls of chilling toilet paper into their restroom stalls. I guess we could give them brownie points (sorry) for their brutal no-shit honesty? Maybe they should’ve hired attendants to hand out mini-tubes of Prep H cooling gel too?

8.

2011.
How’s this for invasive advertising? Superette, an Auckland boutique chain, wanted to promote a short shorts sale. From ad agency DDB Auckland’s press note:

“We put indented plates on bus stop, mall, and park benches, so that when people sat down, the message was imprinted on their thighs. This meant that as well as having branded seats, a veritable army of free media was created, with thousands of imprints being created and lasting up to an hour.”

And out of those “thousands” of imprints, exactly none were readable.

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