Badvertisements: When an Ad Repels Me from Its Product

This may not count because I wasn’t in the market for a car anyway, but the ad was so bad that I would have gladly gone and purchased a car from their biggest competitor if I could have.

Immediately after the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor accident, a car dealership in Connecticut executed the brilliant idea of running ads saying that their prices were in “meltdown.” (Not an unfortunate coincidence, it was clear from the language that they were deliberately referencing TMI.) The ads quickly stopped running so I gather they received some feedback.

I don’t think I’ve encountered a more tasteless ad until seeing some of the monumentally insensitive ads that aired in the wake of September 11.

Those Panera ads that feature disgusting people shoveling food into their face and chewing with their mouths wide open make me want to avoid them like Jo says about Burger King above. If that’s who I’m gonna run into, I’m just gonna take a pass. Yuck!

That the initialism TMI refers to both “Three Mile Island” and “too much information” delights me almost as much as “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Passion of the Christ” 's sharing their initialism as well.

Yes, that, and the commercials that whisper at me, like this Wawanesa one that activates my misphonia, will make me avoid any product or service they are offering. They can go to hell with all the open-mouth chewers over at Panera.

Perhaps this is what I get for being too young, but nothing of consequence really happened at Three Mile Island. I mean, I’d understand that being tasteless after Chernobyl or even Fukushima, but not really Three Mile Island.

Keep in mind that TMI occurred in 1979 - long before Chernobyl or Fukushima. So it wasn’t like people would say, “eh, could be worse.” In 1979, nuclear power was a lot newer than it is now, and there wasn’t a reasonably good history of most things going well, most of the time.

When TMI occurred, it took a while to figure out just how bad, or minor, the fallout (or rather radiation) would be. The above-referenced car advert was rushed into production within 24 hours of the news being released; no one was sure how dangerous the situation was.

It’s not a question of your age, exactly, more that you don’t have context. TMI was a pretty significant news story and very worrisome to the general public when it occurred.

Indeed; I was 14 when the TMI accident happened, and it was a huge news story at that time, and became part of the popular culture for a while. The fact that the movie The China Syndrome, about a near-disaster at a nuclear power plant, came out just days before TMI, probably added to the overall concern that we had at the time.

While it’s true that it wasn’t anything close to the scale of Chernobyl or Fukushima, it was a serious accident, and was one of the reasons why development of the nuclear power industry in the U.S. was halted for decades.

I also remember that Robin Williams’ first comedy album, *Reality…What a Concept" came out later in '79, and contained a routine in which he did a faux-Shakespeare interpretation of the accident. “Events are truly strange. Look! The stream that comes from the plant - what news? A three-headed fish, no big deal. And, yet, the newspapers say it is a minimum warning.”

It also didn’t help that the film, The China Syndrome, about a nuclear power plant meltdown, was released in 1979. That helped stoke fears of what might happen with nuclear reactors.

In the early 1980s, I remember Johnny Carson doing his “Karnak the Magnificent” sketch. For those not in the know, Karnak (played by Johnny) would give the answer to the question that was written inside a sealed envelope. Then he’d open the envelope, and read the question. He always predicted the answer to the question correctly, but there was always a comedic twist.

Anyway, early 1980s, and Carson is doing his Karnak thing. Ed McMahon hands Karnak a sealed envelope. Karnak holds it to his head, concentrates, and says, “Three Mile Island, Love Canal, and Mount St. Helens.”

He then opens the envelope, and reads the contents: “Name three places in the United States where you can still buy a home for less than $100,000.” Cue laughter.

[End hijack.]

1980s TV commercial for “jack-In-The-Box”.

It shows people pulling up to a gas pump (for cars).
The pump is labeled “fast food”.
The nozzle is held over their mouths, & a vile brown fluid is squired into the actor’s mouth.

Utterly disgusting.

My family never agrees on anything, but seeing that during the dinner hour? UG!

My late Father made a large number of angry & indignant phone calls to:

  1. The TV station
  2. Jack in the box
  3. the FCC
  4. and the newspapers.

Not exactly as you remember it, but still pretty unappealing:

Our district just spent a gazillion dollars on Clevertouch devices for 29 rooms. When you first turn them on, they run an ad that you can only disable through the settings for purchasing Clevertouch devices. It was running every single time you pressed the power/wake button. I was flooded with calls until I figured out how to permanently disable it.

In the spirit of this thread, mine are a bit more subtle.

Any ad where the premise is making an association between the product/service and being hip/good-looking/glamorous/fit-sporty has an unintended impact on me. Instead of me saying to myself, “Oooo! I will buy that product/service because I too want to be thought of as hip/good-looking…etc.”, I find myself saying, “Welp, obviously that’s not intended for me!”

And a Clevertouch would be a what? Bigger than breadbox? Smaller than an elephant?

I was put off by DiGiorno’s original ads in the 1990s (I think) with the “It’s not delivery, it’s DiGiorno” catchphrase. The inane ads showed the host of a party bringing out pizza, and the inane guests are all, “Oh, delivery!”


Also, any TV advertisement that depicts models pretending to play musical instruments, and nobody could take the time to make sure the models are at least holding the instruments correctly.

I was repelled by the idea of buying a product called “Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific”.

An old Publisher’s Clearing House ad had this overbearing old buzzard exhorting the viewer to “come on - check it out when it arrives in the mail.”
Nah, you insufferable, pushy sod - I’ll pass.

So we’re in agreement that a currently running ad for something pet-related - can’t think if it’s Chewy, Petco, or what - that features the sound of about fifty dogs chomping and slurping away is disgusting. Similarly the late 90s Carl’s Jr ads with the slogan “If it doesn’t get all over the place, It doesn’t belong in your face” that sounded like they put microphones in cheeseburgers while people ate them. YECH!

Then there’s burger places being visually repulsive. I’ve blocked the name from my mind, but one of the second-tier burger places has an ad with a close up shot of a burger that’s just oozing with oil and grease. The whole damn thing is shiny. I got queasy the first time I saw it.

I can tell we all skew older. When I saw the Carl’s Jr. (or was it BK’s?) ads a few years ago with the very hot 20-something sexily chowing on a burger running down her arms I was sold. My wife: not so much.

At my age I can’t enjoy more than about half of such a burger (or woman). But I can recall when 2 or 3 of either was just barely enough.

Sex sells. Still. Despite some folks’ discomfort with that fact.

Oooooooohhhh, Clevertouch! :heart:

It’s a mounted 65 inch Smart TV that does everything. Teachers can mirror their laptops to it. They can connect to one another so that grade level teams can have video conferencing through their CT devices even though they are in separate rooms. It has apps of its own, a web browser of its own, and full tough screen capabilities. It has a white board function. It has … well, everything! :heart_eyes:

Annnnnd, CUT! That’s a wrap, we’ve got our Clevertouch™ commercial right there! Margie, would you cut Jasmine a check…she signed away her residuals, right? C’mon, people, we strike this set now and we’ll all make it to Cantina El Eselle in time for Happy Hour!

Happy Hour is payment enough! :slight_smile: