Commercials that insult their target audience

I’ve seen quite a few of these and wondered wtf they were thinking, though I imagine they know exactly what they’re doing. For example, there’s a number of often tech-related “clueless dad” commercials, Seems off-putting to the people who would buy the product, but those probably work at the insecurities of guys who suspect they actually are clueless, at least in relation to their children, and want to try to keep up with things.

One egregiously insulting commercial I remember from quite a few years back was for White Castle-- at the time they were selling a fried abomination they called “chicken rings”. In the commercial a couple was sitting in adjacent chair/couch, the wife eating WC chicken rings, and the phone rings. The guy, slumped over in a robe watching TV with a vacant expression on his face, practically drooling, ignores the ringing. So his wife sarcastically says, “oh no, don’t get up, I’LL get it. Don’t touch my chicken rings!” She walks out of the room and while she’s gone, the guy realizes the ringing is coming from right next to him on the chair-- picks up one of those cordless landline phones with an antenna. He uses the phone’s antenna to lean over and hook himself a row of his wife’s chicken rings. A voice-over says “yep, he’s one of ours”.

So White Castle was saying their typical customers were lazy thieving slobs. Nice! Maybe they figured their demographic would see it and find it more funny than offensive… “yep, that’s me alright, har har”.

I seem to see these pretty often but I’m not coming up with a more recent example right now-- how about you guys?

Back in the day there was a couple Burger King commercials showing some “Whopper Freakout” where customers would be told that the Whopper was taken off the menu and would then lose their shit and go ape because they couldn’t get their Whopper. It was in a “hidden camera” footage format though I couldn’t tell you if they were actors or not.

Anyway, I probably stopped going to Burger King for a year or so after that. Not as any planned protest, just that the commercials made Burger King feel like a place where low class idiots get their food and being associated with that felt unappealing to me. Like I’d go there and have to deal with one of these morlocks tearing the place up because they were out of nuggets or something.

Edit: I suppose this concept fits equally well into the “backfired commercials” thread.

I always figured the clueless male commercials are because women control or influence the majority of purchasing decisions.

That said, some people don’t seem to mind being portrayed that way. I’ve never bought any of the “Complete Idiot’s Guide to …” or “… for Dummies” books, but someone must be.

I think the MacDonalds “Not till I had my coffee” guy is an example. People hated him and wanted to find out the actor’s name so they could beat the McShit out of him.

Yeah, that’s a good one!

I saw that thread, but most of those posts are about the commercials backfiring because they made the product look bad, not the target audience. I’ve been interested in the specific type of commercial that makes the target audience look bad. These types of commercials may not be backfiring-- shaming is an old tradition in commercials (“you’ve got ring around the collar!”; “he’s scratching his head…must be DANDRUFF!”)

1-800-Kars-for-Kids. They’re not getting any of my cars. The kids can starve.

Anyone who read a video game magazine in the late 90’s probably saw the infamous “John Romero’s about to make you his bitch.”

Romero was famous for basically inventing the first-person shooter genre of video games (including Wolfenstein, Doom, and Quake). His newest project was Daikatana, which at the time was being hyped as a revolutionary new game that would… well… nevermind. The advertisement predictably enraged readers, but the real icing on the cake was that the game was buggy, broken, and received bad-to-mediocre reviews.

Romero’s game would later be dissected as a case study in hubris and incompetence. The goals Romero set weren’t really bad, but they were definitely ambitious and would not be realized for several more years. In interviews with people associated with the project, Romero comes off sounding like both a bully and an idiot. He also squandered millions of dollars building luxurious workspaces in areas far removed from the traditional software development hubs, which only multiplied the difficulty and expense of attracting talented workers. All of this indicates that despite his talents as a games designer, Romero was an arrogant and incompetent businessman and manager. And the best part of all is that he not only failed to make anyone his bitch, but he couldn’t even manage to shit out a decent video game.

Oh, definitely the Milky Way commercials where someone isn’t paying attention to their JOB, or some other thing they really should be paying attention to, because they’re eating a Milky Way.

Yeah, I remember that whole debacle. Romero and John Carmack, the two main guys behind Wolfenstein3D, Doom, Quake etc. had a falling out and Romero quit iD Software and formed his own company, and Daikatana was going to be their first major release. As stated it went ridiculously over-budget, was over two years behind schedule, and when finally released it was universally panned, didn’t sell, lost millions and the new company went bankrupt.

I read an interview later where Romero claimed that the whole, “…Make You His Bitch” campaign wasn’t his idea, nor did he think it was a particularly good one, but he signed off on it anyway.

D&D 4th edition. "Hey guys, the edition we have been pushing and playing for almost a decade?* Crap*, and you’re stupid for buying it. "

**Buick **: “Anyone over the age of thirty is a loser, and we don’t want them driving our cars”.

A good reason for keeping away from the product, I don’t wanna screw up something that bad. And to be classed with consumers that are that clueless and rude?

The Duluth Trading Post commercial that was, I suppose, aimed at women. You know, the one where a skinny made-up blonde tells you how she isn’t a pretty little doll, and pretends to do chores with her vintage truck and picturesque barn and gorgeous horse, while she tells you how she doesn’t have the perfect car, house, or horse.

If that’s Duluth’s target audience, I’m not in it. Guess their clothes aren’t for me.

According to Duluth, she’s a model for the company and a 5th generation rancher and the ad was filmed at her home.

Liberty Mutual car insurance: created for the benefit of people who don’t have a clue about how insurance works.

what is with this ad where they are hitting golf balls off of a roof ? Yeah, you sponsor LPGA, but an ad bragging about managing risk and someone is launching golf balls of a roof ???

Those commercials are annoying but they aren’t insulting anybody, particularly if you decide to call them.

Carl’s Jr. was another classic example of portraying their entire customer base as guys who were (a) single, (b) hapless, © disgustingly messy, and (d) lazy. They have my favorite hamburgers by far, but was genuinely tempted to boycott them on principle alone. Their ads were horrendous.

Which doesn’t change my feelings about the commercial one bit.

They’re called Hardee’s in my neck of the woods. You are right - they were terrible commercials, and usually not funny.

Several years ago, there was an ad for one of those “loan companies” that tried too hard to not make it look like it was aimed at black people. It had a group of 15 or 20 people singing a jingle in the style of a black gospel choir, except that about half of them were white. That commercial didn’t last very long.

That said, I remember in the 1980s when they started putting lots of nonwhite people in commercials. This was not long after we took a family trip to Arizona, where they had commercials for McDonald’s and a few other nationwide companies, in Spanish with all-Hispanic actors.

I remember a commercial from the late 1980s or early 1990s for a brand of brown mustard, probably Gulden’s. They were trying to get people to switch from yellow mustard by saying that anybody who eats yellow mustard must have childish taste. It turned me off brown mustard for years. Nowadays I prefer brown mustard, but I never buy Gulden’s.