Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Another Misguided Lawyer

Is this guy a lawyer or a professional wrestler? And where did he get that background video... old episodes of "The A-Team"?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Nightmares? Check! Psychotherapy? Check!

I've been holding on to this commercial disaster for a while, and I've been debating for a while whether or not to post it at all. It is -- in all seriousness -- the creepiest, most disturbing, and most graphic commercial I've ever seen. It seriously gave me nightmares after I watched it.

With that kind of build up, it may not be that shocking to you at all. But as you watch it, keep in mind that I had no idea what was coming when I first viewed it... much like the millions of Canadians who first saw it during a nationally-televised Saturday afternoon hockey game. That's right... this nightmare-inducing monstrosity aired during an afternoon broadcast of Canada's national pastime, when thousands -- potentially millions -- of blissfully unsuspecting Canadian children were also watching.

I'm betting family therapists in Canada saw an unexpected spike in business after this disaster aired.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Real or Not? You Tell Me.

Ok, even I can't tell. Is this for real? If not, it's a VERY convincing fake.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Overdressed Video Games

Yes, I always wore a sports coat when I played Super NES too. Didn't everyone?

PS - Bonus points if you noticed that was "Knocked Up" actor Paul Rudd in the starring role. Bet he wishes he could take back those shoulder pads.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Voice Overs Aren't What They Used to Be. (Thankfully)

Yes, compared to today's toys, this toy is incredibly simplistic (and that's putting it nicely). The real issue in this disaster is not the quaintness of the product. It's something that should have been as good in 1979 as it is today. But apparently the standards for getting voice over work in the '70s were not as high as they are today.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Balancing Strips of Cardboard on Their Privates

Wait... uhm... huh? I think the producers' use of the black strip does more to exacerbate the "problem" than the uniforms do.

Heh. Exacerbate.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Easy on the Gas?

These days, I'd say O.J. Simpson is probably less worried about what's coming out of his posterior and more worried about what's going in.

Monday, September 19, 2011

When Selling Sex Isn't That Sexy

If you're going to be blatantly sexist in your commercials, at least get some women that are remotely sexy. (Before you get offended, I'm sure they have lovely personalities.)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

New Latin Words for an Old Problem

You're familiar with the term per capita, right? Well, I'd like to propose a new term -- per actio: a rating of quality per action or piece of business performed by an actor or actress.

This certainly isn't the worst commercial disaster I've ever seen, but it's definitely some of the worst acting per actio.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Rambo for the Kids

Not to pick on Toys R Us again so soon, but who's the marketing genius that decided to market Rambo toys to kids? Wasn't that one of the bloodiest and most violent movies of the 80s?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sonic's Stiff Doppleganger

Sega -- or more accurately, its characters -- are back. This time, courtesy of your friendly neighborhood Pakistan McDonald's. I know CGI budgets can't be that great in Pakistan, but I would have expected slightly deeper pockets and smoother animation from McDonald's, regardless of the locale. Sonic and the gang aren't as lifeless as Geoffrey Giraffe, but they're close.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Lies Geoffrey Told You

Since I posted a Nintendo disaster a few days ago, I figured it's only fair to post a Sega (NES's biggest rival back in the day) disaster as well. So far, I haven't found a Sega commercial produced directly by Sega themselves. But I did find this Toys R Us disaster prominently featuring the Sega Master System.

Toys R Us's mascot, Geoffrey Giraffe, has definitely seen better days. Not only is Geoffrey as lifeless as Melanie Griffith's career, but he also boasts of the unlimited game power of... wait for it... 256k! That may have been a huge amount for a game back then, but there's no way that was ever considered "unlimited"!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Schlitz Fail

Advertising was a much different animal in the '50s, but that's still no excuse for poor storytelling. This vintage commercial disaster from Schlitz (a beer that fails on many other levels too) suffers from one of the worst transitions in advertising history. There is absolutely no transition or explanation linking the first part of the commercial with the second part. They could have just as well slapped footage of monkeys playing tambourines at the beginning and had it make just as much sense.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sexy Jennifer Anniston

This commercial disaster is a terrible mish mosh of poor execution and missed opportunities. I don't want to (entirely) spoil the ad for you at the outset, so watch it first and then we'll discuss...

The "fantasy" girl this guy is dreaming about is clearly not Jennifer Anniston, so we're supposed to believe, first of all, that this putz could land Jennifer Anniston in the first place, and secondly, that he could go out on a date with a second beautiful woman while Jennifer Anniston faithfully waits for him at home.

I suppose the advertiser is trying to imply that by wearing Lynx body spray, a loser like this can be so irresistible to women that he can pull this off. But c'mon!... Nothing about this pinhead's actions are likable, which makes this commercial unbelievable and ineffective. Screenwriting 101: make your character likable and the audience will get on board with your message much more quickly. This is especially important in commercials, where you only have 30 seconds to a minute to sell an audience on your message.

If this commercial had shown the guy starting out as a loser, putting on the Lynx body spray, and through a series of comedic accidents, discovering that he was irresistible to women -- particularly Jennifer Anniston -- it would have been a much more effective commercial... and frankly, a better use of Jennifer Anniston's "talents".

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Your Nintendo Is Possessed by Satan

I wonder how many NES sales Nintendo lost because this commercial scared the bejesus out of kids.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Disease Is Spreading

Not the best quality recording, but it's still easy to see that this spot is a commercial disaster. The interesting thing about this disaster is that the spokesmodel's lips almost match the English voice over. Which can only lead to one conclusion... a new strain of Ben Stiller disease.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Even More Politically Incorrect

Of course, the last commercial disaster pales in political incorrectness in comparison to this Ribena ad from the 1950s.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

NC-17 Disaster

I never thought I'd see a TV ad for a strip club. But I stumbled across one. And it's every bit as tasteless and offensive as you would expect.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The British Take on Why You Shouldn't Smoke

I'll say one thing about the Brits, they seem to have no qualms about putting unsightly things on the air. That still doesn't explain Rowan Atkinson though.

Monday, August 22, 2011

You Can't Milk a Bull

The title of the last post had me thinking about '90s hip hop, which led me to this commercial disaster from a foreign land (which one, I'm not quite sure) for Nidar's milk chocolate featuring a dancing blue bull and a slightly modified version of MC Hammer's "U Can't Touch This". In a way, its timing and catchiness are almost brilliant. But I just can't get past the fact that it's a blue bull with udders. I certainly don't want to know how they make that milk chocolate...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Return of the Mac

After taking a short break from the disasters, I'm back. And consequently, so is the Credit MacDaddy. (Haven't heard of the Credit MacDaddy? Check out his first commercial disaster here.) As you can see from this newest entry, the Credit MacDaddy is just as terrible and disastrous as ever.

Monday, August 15, 2011


After so many shocking (and consequently, disturbing) commercials lately, we need to lighten things up around here with a good, old fashioned laughable disaster.

Yep, this'll do.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Unfortunate Case of AYDS

No, this isn't a skit from the Kids in the Hall or the Upright Citizens Brigade. AYDS was an actual diet product that was on the market in the U.S. in the early and mid '80s, just as the AIDS virus was coming into the national consciousness. Anyone under 30 reading this may be surprised to learn this product and commercial were not immediately pulled from the market as awareness of the disease spread. In fact, as anyone over 30 can tell you, the two co-existed in the same collective consciousness for many years. This caused many children, such as myself, to react in horror upon seeing a candy that transmitted a terrifying, deadly disease for sale at the local Revco. (I mean, what if someone slipped this into our milk at lunch when we weren't looking??... This was our thinking, anyway.)

Finally, in 1988, the makers of AYDS gave up their bullheaded attempt to keep their familiar product name "come hell or high water", and they renamed their product. Their new name? DIET AYDS.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Flintstones Sell Cigarettes

Everybody knows Fred Flintstone loved bowling, the Water Buffalo Lodge, and his wife. But I bet you didn't know he loved smoking too. Specifically, Winston Cigarettes. (It probably would have been more amusing if they called them "Winstone" Cigarettes for this ad, but you know how ad agency-types don't EVER want their brand watered down... even if it kills people.)

Eventually, Barney gets in on the cancer-hocking too. (There are minor audio sync issues with this commercial, but not so bad you can't watch it.)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Another Bad Lesson for Children

While we're on the subject of lessons we shouldn't teach our children, I'm not so sure cross-dressing and keeping secrets from parents is something children should learn about in a video game commercial.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Ronald McDonald, Child Predator

A handy tip for any would-be child predators... it's perfectly acceptable for kids to leave home with you, as long as you dress like Ronald McDonald and give them 3 hamburgers.

Interesting side note: That's Willard Scott in the clown makeup. Amazing how some things never change.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Crazy from the Heat?

Perhaps the best cure for one of the hottest, most blistering summers on record is a nice, refreshing anti-malarial soda. Wait, what?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Disco Inferno

If this is good enough for John Travolta, then it's pretty much proof positive that it's good for, well, no one.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Model Glows in the Dark

I've been watching a lot of "vintage" commercials lately, and you wouldn't believe some of the things that used to pass for "acceptable" behavior in commercial production in the 50's. One of those things, apparently, is making your spokesmodel glow in the dark.

Yeah, you heard right. They made their model/victim radioactive to demonstrate that their cleanser gets your face cleaner than the competition. That may very well be true... Their cleanser may clean your face better than everyone else on the market, but that doesn't necessarily mean it can scrub away radioactivity! Clearly OSHA was still a long way away from being created when this commercial was produced.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Ben Stiller Doesn't Speak Japanese

While we're once again on the subject of American celebrities making Japanese commercials, did you know that Ben Stiller made one too? Notice how they dubbed his voice, even though he appears to making an attempt to speak the Japanese text. Kudos to Ben for trying, but I guess his pronunciation was so bad they couldn't use it. Add to that the assault on the senses that most Japanese advertising is anyway (and this ad is no exception) and you've got a guaranteed recipe for disaster.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cowboys & Aliens

I've featured one of Nicolas Cage's disastrous Pachinko ads on the site before, but I can't help but wonder if Cowboys & Aliens (the new movie opening in theaters this weekend) wasn't inspired by this ad...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pay to Get Insulted

Once upon a time, 900 numbers were all the rage. And this spot is further proof that the purveyors of these "services" would do anything to grab every last cent you have. Still, I can't imagine who this "service" is aimed toward. One thing I can say for certain though... at least the internet came along and made getting insulted free.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Microsoft and T-Rex Have a Lot in Common

This isn't so much a commercial as it is a promotional video, created by Microsoft for their Songsmith program (their terrible software that supposedly turns anyone into a musician). Nonetheless, I think we can all agree this video is a total disaster. If Microsoft keeps sinking their money into developing products like this -- and, frankly, it doesn't look like they're showing any signs of letting up -- Microsoft may very well go the way of the dinosaur mentioned in the title (or the band, if you prefer the musical analogy).

Friday, July 22, 2011

Where's Your Head?

In one of my television advertising classes in college, they taught us that you must run a commercial three times within a program to make an effective impression on the audience with the advertising message. However... I'm pretty sure they didn't mean run it three times in a row within the same commercial! Also, I'm pretty sure they told us to at least mention what the product does.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

CGI Isn't an Acronmyn for "Can't Get ILM"

Dear Commercial Producer,

Just because you bought a copy of Maya doesn't mean you can produce Avatar in 30 minutes (which is obviously all the time you spent working on this disaster). Also, making it black and white doesn't make your crappy CGI look any better. Shooting video of Hot Wheels wiping out in your driveway would have been more believable.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Don't Drink the Milk

Hot on the heels of the Demon Doll (aka Baby Laughs Alot), Milky The Marvelous Milking Cow is another toy  and commercial from the 70's that completely miss the mark. These kids are way too excited about a gross product that does nothing but make a mess. And I don't even want to know what's in the "pretend" milk.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Demon Doll

Were kids in the early 70's so starved for entertainment that this was actually considered a viable toy product?? I seriously think this toy may have inspired The Exorcist in 1973.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Just Say No

Apparently, doing drugs -- ANY DRUG -- will make the world move in slow motion.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Not Safe for Kids

PETA has been known to pull some crazy stunts. This commercial disaster is one of them.

I don't care how "right" their message is... If I had kids at an impressionable age and they saw this, I'd be pissed.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

It's Your Funeral

It's rare that I'm speechless in regards to a commercial disaster, but this commercial disaster really needs no introduction.

Friday, July 8, 2011

How Do They Know It Tastes Good?

It's weird... Even though I was quite young when this commercial was produced and aired (in the mid and late 70's), I actually remember it. Probably proof positive of how scary, disturbing, and utterly wrong it is.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yes, it's my birthday. And to celebrate this (not so) momentous occasion, I thought I'd share with you my favorite commercial disaster from the past year. (Although the site has only been online since April, so technically the past 3 months... but let's not split hairs.)

Hands down, my favorite commercial disaster this year has been Mow the Lawn, which I originally posted in late May. And judging by the number of hits it has gotten, it's far and away your favorite too.

However, a close second would have to be one that ran only two days later, but was largely overlooked by the viewing public. (Maybe you guys were still so busying sharing Mow the Lawn with friends that you missed this one.) Nonetheless, one that I find hilarious in its ignorance and think deserves a second look is Fauquier Health.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Birthday America!

That's right! The next time terrorists try to attack America, we'll band together in the streets! And the suburbs!! And the hill country!!! Yeah!!!! We'll wipe those terrorists off the map like the... Wait, what's that you say? This is a commercial for paintball guns??? Oh crap.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Educational Song

This commercial for Education Connection (an online college) has a jingle that will stick with you all day (and not in a good way).

By the way, the dead giveaway that this online college is only after your money (as are most, probably) is right at the beginning of the commercial. The girl says (sings?) that she didn't do great in high school. Isn't it conventional wisdom that college is harder than high school? So if you didn't do great in high school, college may not be for you, girlie. If Education Connection wants to con people out of their money, maybe they should try being more subversive. (I know, I shouldn't expect much from Education Connection. Their writer probably graduated from Education Connection.)

Friday, July 1, 2011

June Referral Contest Winner

Perrin Hall is the winner of the June Referral Contest!

Congratulations, Perrin! I will be contacting you about your $25 Amazon Gift Card momentarily. For those you that entered but didn't win, be on the lookout for more contests in the future. Surprisingly, this contest didn't attract as many entries as I expected it to, so I'm going to have to think over how to tweak future contests to make them more appealing to enter... but I expect we'll have more contests down the road. If you have suggestions on how improve future contests, send them my way via the Contact page or by sharing them on Facebook or Twitter.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Chins of the Father

What's up with this guy's chest? And why does he look like Jay Leno's illegitimate love child?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

That's Not a Taco

While we're on the subject of tacos, here's a commercial disaster from 1979 for Jimboy's Tacos in Sacramento, CA. It would be an easy mark to make fun of the dated clothing and cheesy production values, but I won't do that. For their time, these elements probably weren't too far off the mark for local commercials. In fact, they're better than some (most) of the local commercials I grew up watching in the 80's and 90's.


Watch for the camera pan of the menu items near the end of the spot.

Yep, nothing says authentic Mexican food more than hamburgers, french fries, and sub sandwiches!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Barbie Takes a Poop

I agree we've already seen enough dog poop in commercials (both literally and figuratively), but the makers of Barbie felt the need to get in on the action.

Not only is the product disgusting (really, who's going to buy this for their daughter?) But there was also a recall on the toy because the magnets used in it presented a choking hazard. (How'd you like to be the guy that writes that press release? "Toy is being recalled due to poop balls that can choke your kid to death...")

Monday, June 20, 2011

How Do You Spell C3PO?

In sharp contrast to the last post, here's an anti-smoking ad that almost works. If most smokers had seen this when they were growing up (especially in Star Wars' heyday when it was produced), they wouldn't be smoking today because, in the words of the person who posted this spot on YouTube, "there's no way I would have let 3PO or R2 down. NO WAY MAN!"

However, all that anti-smoking triumph is almost undone at the end because nobody bothered to PROOFREAD THEIR GRAPHICS! (Hint: it's spelled "GALAXY", not "GALAXAY"!)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Smoking Never Looked So Cool

During the '90s, as part of a multi-billion dollar lawsuit settlement with the U.S. Government, the tobacco industry agreed to produce a series of anti-smoking ads aimed at teens. The problem? The ads were not paid for by way of a fine to the tobacco companies which a government agency or other anti-smoking entity could draw from and pay to have the ads produced (as should have been done). No, the tobacco industry was left to its own devices as to when, where, and how the ads were produced with zero third-party oversight. The resulting Tobacco Is Whacko (If You're a Teen) ads were so ineffective that they, at best, portrayed a confusing, mixed message that was unclear to teens and adults alike and, at worst, actually encouraged teens to smoke. (Even the parenthetical (If You're a Teen) part of the title implied that it's perfectly healthy to smoke once you turn 18.) Don't believe said ads could possibly be so disastrous? Check out the following ad from this series and you'll see what I mean...

A study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that teens who viewed these ads were more likely to smoke. Surprise surprise.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Internet's Most Infamous Flea Market

Much like the Norton Furniture guy, the pitchman for Flea Market Montgomery, Sammy Stephens, has become something of an internet celebrity for the following commercial, even being featured on Ellen and parodied on The Cleveland Show. God bless the guy (I guess) for making the most out of his internet fame (you can actually buy his song on iTunes and Amazon), but after about 20 seconds of him repeating the same three lines over and over, I'm ready to change the channel. After two minutes, I'm ready to shove an ice pick in my ears.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

June Referral Contest Reminder

Just a reminder that the June Referral Contest is still going on through the end of the month. So far there have only been 2 official entries, so it's still anybody's game!

For rules and full details on how to enter, click visit the contest page here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Gene Roddenberry Is Spinning in His Grave

The original Star Trek series was no paragon of Hollywood production, but the acting, special effects, and overall production values in this commercial disaster make Star Trek TOS look like freakin' Avatar.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Dark Day for Geeks

Thank you, Mr. Lafayette Electronic Supply, for reinforcing every computer geek stereotype out there.

(Note: the audio level for this spot is incredibly low, but you honestly don't have to hear it to get the full effect.)

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Budweiser Creep

Is there any woman out there that wouldn't instantly make a beeline for the door if this happened to them at a party? 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pap's Place

If there's one thing I know about food service, it's that "Pap" should never be part of the name of a restaurant.

Besides the unappetizing choice of a name, the terrible Minnie Pearl impersonator and disturbing furries in this commercial disaster are more than enough to scare me away from eating at this restaurant. (Did you notice the catfish mascot has arms? Makes me worry about what kind of mutant catfish they're serving on their buffet.) And what's with the Jesus reference? Talk about a non sequitur! If all that isn't enough to dissuade you from eating at this establishment, keep an eye on the guy in the apron at the end. Scary.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Athletes Should Leave It on the Field

This commercial disaster from the Connecticut Lottery stars former New England Patriot John Hannah and is a perfect example of why athletes shouldn't act...

How is this commercial disastrous? Let me count the ways...
  1. No educated, affluent mother (as the setting, her wardrobe and appearance make this woman out to be) would really think it's ok for a 16-year-old to play the lottery. If she looked and sounded different, it might be believable. But as they're selling it, no one's buying.
  2. She's talking to herself in a way that no one ever talks to themselves
  3. Her acting
  4. His acting
  5. The look on her face that is supposed to say, "Oops, you caught me", but really says, "Who the hell let you in my house???"
  6. Why should we "take it from him"? What makes him a freakin' expert???
  7. The fact that to sell his credibility, they have to put him in his old Patriots jersey
  8. The graphics that, again in an effort to sell his credibility, describe him as a "legend"
  9. How, in a matter of seconds, the woman is convinced that this random home intruder must be right despite the presentation of any concrete evidence
  10. He hands her a football. Like there's any 16-year-old boy in America that's never owned a football before?
  11. The baby blue bow on the football
  12. The ridiculously long anti-gambling web address at the end. It's almost like they don't want you to visit it!
Whew! And that's just a 30 second spot! After all that, I need a drink! (Unless John Hannah is going to pop up in my kitchen and tell me I shouldn't do that either.)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sexy McDonald's

Speaking of Big Macs, am I the only one that finds this female version of Ronald McDonald both deeply unnerving and oddly sexy?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Nicolas Cage Loves Balls

Nicolas Cage is more notorious for overspending his income than the federal government, so these days it would be no surprise to see him shilling anything from Big Macs to toilet brushes to make ends meet. But at the height of his career, back when he wasn't quite the celebrity basket case that he is now, he quietly made a series of commercial disasters... er... ads in Japan for Pachinko. (Pachinko, if you don't know, is a slot machine-like gaming device popular in Japan that dispenses steel balls which can be exchanged for cash -- because direct cash payouts are illegal in Japan, for whatever reason.) Below is one of five commercial disasters he made for Sankyo, a maker of Pachinko machines.

(If you guys are interested in seeing more from this series, let me know and I'll post them.)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June Referral Contest

Commercial Disasters is proud to announce its first ever contest!

During the month of June, use a URL shortener to create a unique-to-you link that points to this site, send the link to me, and then share it with your friends. At the end of the month, I'll tally which link has referred the most people to this site, and the creator of that link will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Click here for complete details and instructions.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Disastrous Timing

This commercial for Hotels.com isn't so much disastrous as is its timing. Just watch...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

It's All in the Delivery

The majority of this commercial isn't all that bad (in fact, I think it's kind of inventive, generally speaking), but it all goes disastrously awry in the final seconds.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Mow the Lawn

If you're looking for something to do this Memorial Day weekend, here's an idea...

Monday, May 23, 2011

Most Disgusting Product of the Year Award

Good luck trying to get your dog to wear this one. And if you do manage to get it on him, have fun taking it off after he's filled it and scooted his butt halfway across the park trying to get "everything" off of himself.

By the way, why does it come in different colors? Do you really think anyone that straps a ziplock bag to their dog's anus is concerned about their pooch looking fashionable? And while we're at it, if this contraption works so well, what's the point in even taking your dog outside anyway?

PS - The perfect product for a Monday.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Need a Job?

It's a good thing these girls are attending the job fair, because their acting careers certainly aren't going to work out.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I Feel the Need for Speed

It's good to see the Micro Machines guy is still getting work these days, but the production values of his work have definitely gone downhill. Kinda like the porn industry, I suppose.

It goes without saying, there's a lot to make fun of in this spot, but the thing that stands out most to me (besides the meth-addled pitchman) is the fact that the woman's hair color inexplicably changes (and then changes back) in the middle of the spot. WTF?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Khloe Kardasian. Enough Said.

Yeah, it's no surprise that the ad for Khloe Kardasian and Lamar Odom's unisex "fragrance" (c'mon, Lamar, it's a perfume... don't kid yourself) is a commercial disaster, but even I'm surprised at how much laughable cheesiness they're able to cram into 30 seconds.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Campaign 2012 Begins

Political campaign ads are a veritable breeding ground for commercial disasters. Every campaign season, America's airwaves come under siege of some of the most deceptive, dishonest, misguided, malicious, venomous, and sinister advertising known to man... with each campaign season getting seemingly more terrible than the last.

The 2012 campaign season gets off to a mild but undeniably disastrous start with this ad from Dan Adler, who is running for the U.S. House of Representatives seat in California's 36th Congressional District. Fortunately, there is not a lot of venom and viciousness in this ad (those qualities always increase exponentially as we approach election day), but we're still assaulted with plenty of bad acting, stereotypes, and misguided moments that just make you go, "Huh?"

Friday, May 13, 2011

Gibberish Is Scary

Glad I didn't grow up in the UK in the 80's. The grossly disfigured pitchman coupled with the strangely unsettling "language" he speaks surely would have given me nightmares every time I saw it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Dance Dance Revulsion

Aww... apparently there was no money in the budget for dance lessons.

To be fair, the blame for this commercial disaster clearly goes to the director. Even on shoots with little to no budget, the director has to take the time to rehearse the scene with the actors at least once, give them believable and authentic business to perform, and if worse comes to worst... shoot a second take! If the director doesn't do this, then he or she isn't being a good steward of the company and product that is advertising. (And I don't care how "local" the spot is. There's no excuse for sloppy, lazy, or incompetent directing.)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Queasy Feet

This product might actually be a good item for senior citizens with mobility problems to have, and the commercial isn't that glaringly disastrous until the 1:12 mark... But that's when it all goes horribly, horribly wrong.

What kind of jackass takes his shoe into the shower with him... and then sniffs it??? Who directed this, that imbecile from The Anti-Gym?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

No Chubbies

I'm not sure what the "-ist" term is for someone who is insensitive and degrading to overweight people (sizeist?), but this guy goes about 6 miles past that. He also manages to be incredibly sexist at the same time. Quite an accomplishment for someone who's IQ is below 30.

(And full disclosure: I'm a thin male of at least average intelligence.)

As always, I've done my homework to make sure this commercial disaster is real. Sadly, it is. It's an ad that ran in southern California for a gym/weight loss program called "The Anti-Gym" run by (self-proclaimed) fitness guru and (by all other accounts) gigantic prick Michael Karolchyk. Even more disturbing than this cro-magnon's mono-syllabic roid rage is the fact that these actresses (particularly the larger one) allowed themselves to be degraded by this knob. I know they got paid to do it (at least, I hope they did), but come on, have some self respect!

If you visit this douchebag's website (which I seriously discourage), you'll see dozens of video clips where he is called on the carpet for being an idiot. Yet he's posted them on his website like it's something to be proud of. Interestingly, his website also uses an embedded audio player that plays music by Billy Idol, Snoop Dogg, and The Killers. I wonder how they would feel about their music being used (most likely, without license) to hock this asshat's hate speech.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Freshmaker

Here's a classic commercial disaster most of us remember from our youth. In fact, it's probably the first commercial disaster many of us remember seeing, and it's almost ridiculous enough to be endearing. Almost.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Lawyers Strike Back

Personal injury lawyers are another flavor of attorney that are usually quite detestable, and what this guy is saying sounds like no exception. However, the video they chose to run behind him is so incredibly ridiculous, that you can't help but laugh yourself silly.

PS - Yes, this commercial is so absurd, one has to wonder if this guy is for real. As you can see by clicking here, he is... which just makes this whole thing all the more hilarious.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Today is the one monthiversary of the launch of Commercial Disasters, so if you're looking for any gift ideas, you might consider this...

On second thought, never mind.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding Madness

In honour of today's royal wedding, Commercial Disasters takes on a decidedly British perspective by focusing on this disastrous Colgate advert from the UK.

Not only do they heavily bastardize the look and feel of 80's ska band Madness (even ripping off the tune of their song 'Baggy Trousers'), which is certainly enough to upset every Madness fan out there, but their over-exaggerated sets, props, and choreography are obnoxious enough to drive the rest of us to madness too.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Yeah, the first thing you do when your house is on fire is call your insurance agent, not GET OUT OF THE HOUSE AND DIAL 911!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Only 8 Shopping Months Left Until Christmas

Wow... uh... just, wow. Virtually every shot in this commercial is a definition of disaster. The music is equally as obnoxious. (What happened, Rebecca Black's "Friday" wasn't available? I'd like to hear a Snuggified version of that.) Little known fact, the guy assigned to edit this commercial was committed to an asylum shortly after completing this commercial.

It's hard to decide what the most disastrous moment of this commercial is. There are plenty to choose from. My vote goes to the guy looking at the magazine centerfold of a Snuggie. Wow. What gets your vote as the most disastrous moment?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Taylor Lautner Eats Frosted Flakes (and Sorta Plays Baseball)

Blink and you might miss it, but that's a young Taylor Lautner starring in this commercial disaster. (He's the kid in the glory shot eating the cereal.)

I'm not going to rag on everybody's favorite werewolf for starring in this commercial disaster, because practically every actor starts in commercials, especially when they start young. However, there are at least 4 major problems with this disaster...
  1. Since when is little league baseball practice a military boot camp? I don't remember any army-style chants in my little league experience.
  2. Aren't these kids a little too old to be hitting baseballs off of tees?
  3. In one of the shots (in fact, it's the poster frame for the video), the players are running the wrong way around the bases. I know this is a training drill, but shouldn't one of their top priorities be teaching these kids the basic fundamentals of baseball?
  4. I'm pretty sure eating a big sugary bowl of Frosted Flakes is frowned upon by most baseball coaches, especially AT A TEAM MEAL!
How many more problems can you spot?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

On the Other Hand...

Unlike the last post, there is nothing subtle about this disaster. This monstrosity (pun intended) was a "sweepstakes" spot that ran before the movie on the VHS release of Little Monsters starring Fred Savage and Howie Mandel (circa 1990). I put "sweepstakes" in quotation marks because it's really nothing more than a (very) transparent attempt to swindle parents out of money at the hands of their kids. I mean, what kid wouldn't want to call this 900 number? They make it look really fun and cool... and you can win prizes! Oh, sure, kids can enter to win the prizes by mailing in a postcard and all, but what restless kid is going to take the time to do all that when they can get the instant gratification of dialing the phone?

And did you notice how they charged per minute instead of per call? I'm sure once they got kids on the phone, they gave them all kinds of incentives to stay on the line for as loooong as possible. Of course, the chances of MGM's hustle being discovered in most households before the phone bill arrived was next to zero. What self-respecting adult is going to watch this abomination of a movie? And if they do -- if only to be a responsible parent and monitor what their kids are watching -- they would most certainly scan past all of the ads at the beginning of the movie. (Remember, this was before the days of DVDs that could prevent you from skipping the ads.) No, this scam was aimed squarely at the kids who watch and rewatch this movie when their parents aren't around.

If there's one thing that's more reprehensible than people who prey on the naiveté of kids, it's... no, wait... there's nothing more reprehensible than people who prey on the naiveté of kids.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Subtle Disaster

I'll admit, it took me two viewings to figure out what makes this spot a commercial disaster. At first glance, it basically looks like your average, run-of-the-mill local car dealer commercial, no more or less offensive than any other. But on closer inspection, I figured it out... Why is the kid in the bed fully clothed? I mean, the kid's wearing jeans and a polo shirt in the bed! Couldn't someone on the set at least have told him to take off the polo shirt and just wear the t-shirt he had on underneath during the bedroom scene?? I don't know, maybe that's just how they dress for bed in Southeast Texas. Makes me wonder what they wear in the shower.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Ellen Loves Commercial Disasters Too

Ok, I don't know if Ellen has ever seen this site or not, but she recently featured this commercial disaster on her show, so who knows, maybe...

Nonetheless, the commercial disaster that has her talking is, in fact, a doozie. It falls into that category of direct response product that is both a lame product and a terrible commercial.

If you missed it, the most ridiculous moments come at the :11 mark, where the guy seems very pleased that he spilled coffee all over himself, and the :23 mark, when the mother rolls her eyes and looks very disgusted that her daughter got in the van. Guess we know who the black sheep in that family is!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tax Day (Almost)

In honor of tax day (yeah, I know the official tax deadline for this year isn't until Monday, but let's not split hairs, ok?), we take a look at a pair of commercials from Mo Money Tax Service.

I don't know about you, but these commercials don't make me feel very confident about entrusting my social security number and other vital financial information to these guys. What about you?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Cleveland's 2nd Most Famous Celebrity

Furniture stores. They're some of the worst overall offenders when it comes to commercial disasters. Why? Because their products have one of the highest profit margins in the retail world, which means they have more money to burn on advertising time than most businesses. Unfortunately, they're some of the least creative people on the planet... otherwise, they wouldn't have become furniture salesmen.

This commercial is a prime example of that. At first glance, this disaster looks suspiciously like a skit making fun of furniture commercials and not an actual furniture commercial. But after doing some research, I discovered that the commercial, Norton Furniture, and its owner Marc Brown are all very real.

Which makes this spot all the more sad.

I'm not going to make fun of the guy's voice because, you know, that's biology. He can't do anything about that. (Even I admit I have a pretty unattractive speaking voice.) But he needs to pick up the pace or cut out some of the monologue. I started to doze off after the first sentence.

And the commercial really goes off the rails when the frog on the couch comes to life. A life-sized amphibian, a maniac with garden shears, dialogue you can't understand... it's like the nightmares I used to have as a kid after watching New Zoo Revue.

This commercial has been making the rounds on the internet for a few years, and has made Norton Furniture and Marc Brown something of a "cewebrity" (as I've heard it called). That's all well and good, and I'll laugh at the commercials (not in a good way) as much as the next guy, but sadly, I'd never take my business to an establishment that is so incredibly OUT THERE.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Direct Response 101

Direct response commercials have long been a staple of TV advertising. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, they're called "direct response" because they usually include a phone number or website whereby viewers contact the advertiser directly to order a product, rather than buying it in a store. Most direct response ads are revenue sharing opportunities for TV stations. That is, rather than buying the ad time from the TV station upfront like most "traditional" advertisers, direct response/revenue sharing advertisers usually share the profits with the TV station after each sale that is made. In other words, the TV station may or may not make any money from airing a direct response/revenue sharing commercial. That's why you mostly see them late at night, when a TV station has unsold ad time (and basically nothing to lose).

And generally, TV stations have complete control over which of these commercials they air and which ones they don't... Which makes it all the more puzzling how some of these commercials make it on the air. It's not that a lame product necessarily makes for a bad commercial. In fact, there are plenty of dumb direct response products that have commercials that fit in the "amazingly mediocre" category mentioned on the About page. However, it is entirely possible to have a lame product and a commercial disaster. This shameless pitch for a Vivitar 35mm film camera is a great example of that. (Here's a hint, dear advertiser, anyone who wants a poorly made 35mm camera still has the one they bought in 1983... and there's no shortage of them at Salvation Army either.)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Breath of Fresh Air

If you feel like you need to take a shower to wash off the sleaze from the lawyers in the last couple of posts, then here's a more lighthearted disaster to cleanse your palate. By comparison to the last few we've seen, this entry from McDonald's (circa 1988) seems almost quaint. Still, I would have loved to be on the set when the director told the actors, "I want you to prance around like a toddler in a ballet class."

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Lawyers: Round 2

If the last post wasn't enough to convince you that divorce lawyers are soulless, lecherous, bloodsucking lowlifes, this one will.

This guy is so insidious that I actually had to do some research to make sure he is for real and this wasn't an SNL skit or some YouTube parody. I guess I was hoping there some vestige of dignity left in humanity. If this guy is any indication, I was wrong.

(I will actually give this guy 1 point (on a scale of 0 to 100) for making me laugh with the "illiterate boob" line. Still, this guy's a waste of oxygen.)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Everybody Loves a Lawyer (Not)

Lawyers have long been considered the lowest form of life with an advanced degree. (Somewhere just above the dung beetle.) After watching this commercial, it's easy to see why.

This commercial disaster begins by warning us that this is a dramatization. I hope so. I hate to think that there are two people in real life so devoid of any personality or authenticity. If this was a real couple so bitterly close to the brink of divorce and still sitting in the same room together, they'd be arguing so much you couldn't shut them up. And did you notice the husband snatches the remote away, but doesn't change the channel? Even if he didn't want to watch something different and he just has a manipulative compulsion to control the remote, if he hates his wife so much, he would change the channel just out of spite. Of course, the closing scramble for the phone looks like something straight out of a Marx Brothers movie and not a "dramatization". Oh, the unreality!

All this commercial manages to advertise is that its sponsor is a sleazy opportunist that is too cheap to spring for a writer or the luxury of a second take. Twenty bucks says this disaster was shot in less than an hour.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Dateline: Australia, 1992

I know there are different standards for political correctness in every country. And this commercial was made almost 20 years ago. But I can't imagine who thought this was a good idea... in any time or place. At least we know now where George Lucas got his inspiration for Jar Jar Binks.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Approaching Disaster in 3... 2... 1

No, this isn't an April Fool's joke. There are real companies producing real commercials that are so bad they manage to assault our senses, insult our intelligence, and make us think, "Who in their right mind thought this was a good idea???"

All at the same time.

In short, these commercials are commercial disasters. And the first entry in my quest to explore commercial disasters is no exception. (If you don't die of a heart attack while watching this, there will be discussion afterwards.)

Yeah. Where to start the commentary on this one? First of all, a middle-aged white guy dressing and (over)acting like a very stereotyped pimp is never a good idea. Him rapping is even worse. Secondly, and back to the overacting, who taught these two how to perform in front of a camera, Jessica Alba? They're more wound up than basketball cheerleaders on amphetamines. Also, what's with the pie in the face? I realize that lots of local advertisers like to have a running gag or gimmick that they stick in all of their commercials, and that's probably what this is, but they need to realize that not only is this particular one incredibly dumb (pies in the face stopped being funny during Vaudeville), but it's even worse when it doesn't fit the context of the commercial it's in.

Of course, there's plenty more in this commercial that I could go on about, but I don't want to beat a dead horse. I'm sure we can all agree this is a complete commercial disaster.

It pains me that this commercial was made in my home state of Georgia.