The Daily Ping

The 1st Ping was published on January 6, 2000.

July 29th, 2003

The Worst Commercials

There are two industries that consistently make the worst TV commercials. I’m not talking production values, though… in one case, I’m talking about creativity and in the other I’m talking about creativity and effectiveness.

Beer commercials are, to me at least, almost 100% lame. There have been a few trend-setters along the way, but are the testosterone-driven beer commercials of today any different than the testosterone-driven beer commercials of 20 years ago? Not really. I’m sure I’ll face a lot of resistance on this one, but I’m holding my ground.

Even worse than beer commercials, though, are car commercials. Pretty much every car commercial has three parts to it: 1. the car being advertised driving fast, 2. a focus on some sort of financing deal that has become so ubiquitous, it’s all but worthless (0% financing with 0 down!!! yahooooo!), and 3. the words “Professional driver on closed course. Do not attempt.” Seriously: when was the last time a car commercial you saw really changed your image of the car or made you think, “Hm, you know what would be good right now? A car, as an impulse buy!” Considering that almost every commercial break features at least one car commercial, it’s pretty sad that there’s only one company making ads that are the least bit interesting or innovative (Volkswagon).

Posted in Television, Movies, and Music

FROM: Brody T. Johnston
DATE: Tuesday July 29, 2003 -- 10:38:57 am
I'm right there with you on the car commercial thing. I'm tired of seeing consumers portrayed as mindless zombies who wander into a car dealership with no set goals and will accept any deal-of-the-day with the excitement and joy of a toddler discovering where mom and dad hide the Christmas presents. And the one that airs now, with the guy who gets all excited by the remote control for the minivan door? What is that? If I’m not mistaken, in that commercial this family is picking up not only a minivan, but also a new truck.

On a different note, it is interesting that you find Volkswagon ads “interesting and innovative”. With the exception of some Honda ads, I can’t think of any other car ads that target you as an audience. And when I say “you”, I mean young white guys in the 20-30 range who have a little bit of money, but not a ton, and they want something modern to reflect their taste in technology and ikea-like things. I am in this T.A., and it makes me even more sick to see ads directed at me. The Honda Element probably has the most vomit-inducing ads around, because of how blatant and specific they are with their T.A.. “Hey, if you and all your American Eagle-type friends go skiing or biking in the mountains, you need this car!”

The only thing worse than tv car commercials are local car dealership radio commercials. I mean, is that echo effect really necessary? And what does “our intention is to approve EVERYBODY!” really say? It says they want everybody who comes to their lot to have a perfect credit history and lots of cash for a down payment. Otherwise, you’re screwed.

If my girlfriend is reading this, hi sweetie.

FROM: Chris
DATE: Tuesday July 29, 2003 -- 10:57:50 am
Beer commericials are trying to evoke a lifestyle - and the lifestyle of their target audience really isn't anything to aspire too. Especially the major American breweries, which turn out the worst beer on the planet. Given what they have to work with - I think they do a decent job of getting attention via advertising.

The industry you should have mentioned is "feminine hygene products." This is not exactly a discretionary purchase. Women know what they are, where to get them, and when they will need them. Do we really need all these damn commericals promising that women will feel "fresh."

FROM: Monica
DATE: Tuesday July 29, 2003 -- 2:00:20 pm
... "pads with --New!-- longer wings!!" I think it's good to know there are improvements out there to look for, but the commercials for that kind of stuff are pretty lame... as lame as diaper commercials.
Speaking of car commercials, does anyone else find that guy's voice in the Dodge commercials annoying?

FROM: Matt
DATE: Tuesday July 29, 2003 -- 2:42:57 pm
I think the beer and car companies should make an ad together. Just think of all the dumbasses that will run out and buy beer to drink while driving.

FROM: Greg
DATE: Tuesday July 29, 2003 -- 5:19:57 pm
I'm with Monica on this one. That guy in the Dodge commercials really does need to shut up.

Ryan: You need to go back in time to find some good car commercials...

FROM: Robert [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday July 29, 2003 -- 7:33:59 pm
Commercials all try to sell you things you almost certain don't need or want. They are inherently evil.

FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday July 29, 2003 -- 8:22:32 pm
Radio is not exempt from the bad commercial plague. In fact, I'd like to take every screaming car commercial announcer and drop them into Death Valley myself.

More than annoying commercials, what really bugs me are commercials that just arent creative. Radio used to be a haven for innovative, funny commercials. Now it's just where someone who is learning how to read a script gets in front of a mic and rambles for 30 seconds. THere are still some pros out there, but the bad definitely outweigh the good.

FROM: cd-rw
DATE: Tuesday July 29, 2003 -- 10:28:07 pm
here is the best car commercial ever, bar none.

there's no trick photography involved and it took them 606 tries before getting it right.

i hope i got the html right..

FROM: jk
DATE: Tuesday July 29, 2003 -- 10:29:32 pm
I will never buy a Ford product for the sole reason that they use tired, rock songs in their ads. I can't even recall what the latest one is because whenever it comes on, I scream inside and change the channel.

Ahh, the brilliance of the VW commercials. Such beauty and intelligence all wrapped up in a tidy package.

Aside from that, is there even a need for beer commercials? People know what they like, so is an ad really going to get them to buy/try something else? Or remind them "Hey! It's Friday! Go out and drink!" Like they would forget to.

Isn't the voice in the Dodge commercial Edward Hermann from Gilmore Girls? Help me out here.

FROM: jethrow
DATE: Tuesday July 29, 2003 -- 11:02:20 pm
I will never buy a Ford product for the sole reason that they use tired, rock songs in their ads.

ditto on that worn out "like a rock" car commercial. i change the channel on that one, too.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Tuesday July 29, 2003 -- 11:08:25 pm
I'd never buy Ford simply because of their use of that jackass Toby Keith. And the "like a rock" ad, too.

FROM: Monica
DATE: Wednesday July 30, 2003 -- 12:39:11 am
my sympathies go out to everyone in the Madison (WI) area that have to hear the radio commercials for Copps Food Centers. It's just a lame script reading, and the women reading it come off as total idiots. What a way to sell a grocery store!
Matt said something about combining car and beer commercials--isn't that what those billboards by the highway do? That should be illegal--I think it is in NJ. (?)
I remember a car commercial from a long time ago, it was something about a guy singing about his Toyota (started with "my Toyota.. I love it!" just like the real Toyota commercials, but ended with "my Toyota.. I'm gonna sell it!") I remember liking that one. And the Geo jingle. But I was in middle school then, so I don't know if commercial quality has sunk so much or if I just had lower expectations.

FROM: Courtney
DATE: Wednesday July 30, 2003 -- 8:32:20 am
While the beer and car commercials are pretty lame for the most part, at least they are actually selling a product. What's up with the commercials that have no product for me to impulse buy? For example, there is a Union Pacific commercial that I've seen a few times recently. I don't understand why they are putting money into this advertisement. What exactly do they expect to get out of it?

FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Wednesday July 30, 2003 -- 9:24:40 am
The Ping has already chronicled one of the worst all time commercial series in the history of radio: The Aaron Neville Milk Ad. Who thought this gem up?

Of course, the greatest course of bad commercials continues to be Public Service Announcements (PSA's). My personal favorite for bad PSA's airs locally in Delaware from the Delaware Solid Waste Authority. It's a guy who sits way too close to the microphone and calls the PSA's the "Talkin' Trash" series. (Seriously).

Add a boring guy, who's overmodulated, with cheesy 60's elevator music for background talking about landfills, and you've got a train wreck waiting to happen.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Wednesday July 30, 2003 -- 9:34:50 am
I also feel I should add any commercial advertising a drug that says, "Ask your doctor about..." It's a new level of schiestiness from the pharmaceutical industry, but that's a whole 'nothing Ping...

FROM: Steve Gallagher
DATE: Monday August 25, 2003 -- 3:13:10 pm
The absolute worst radio commercials are produced by Coors.

The current series...with a psuedo rock band who's punchline on every 'I Like' sentance is '...and TWINS!'.

Who would approve this? Are they thinking all males in the audience are thinking ..'I like beer ...and I too like 'TWINS'!'.

It makes me think that Coors thinks of it's audience as a bunch of testosterone driven, mullet wearing, living in Mom's basement, working at a gas station, womanizing losers.

I truly can not believe that they keep airing this series of commercials.

Anheiser Busch on the other hand, always seems to think 'outside the box' with clever ads. I may not laugh at half of them ...but they at least are on the right track.

Coors' commercials are as bad as it's beer.

One man's opinion

FROM: Alfredo Armendariz
DATE: Tuesday September 23, 2003 -- 3:30:25 pm
Regarding Steve Gallagher's comments about Coors commercials, that's too funny! I definitely agree that those ads are very, very, very annoying.

You got it right with the mullet wearing, living in Mom's basement, working at a gas station, womanizing losers.

Add to that ugly, emaciated, whiny, generation X, Maynard G. Crebs looking goof asses.

That music they play is so awful. I’d love to know which ad agency put that crap together.

FROM: Mark B
DATE: Thursday September 25, 2003 -- 12:33:57 am
Without a doubt, the worst commercials are for Taco Bueno. That mindless and totally UNFUNNY Jenkins and his idiot boss are pathetic scripts. What was their advertising company thinking? I refuse to eat there, EVER

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Thursday September 25, 2003 -- 9:36:48 am
That music they play is so awful. I?d love to know which ad agency put that crap together.

According to this article, the ad agency responsible for those awful ads is Foote Cone & Belding. I don't believe Belding is related to Richie Belding of Saved By the Bell fame.

FROM: GreenFish
DATE: Thursday September 25, 2003 -- 10:29:24 am
For those of you who live in Illinois, one of my personal favorite campaigns is the "Fun For Some" campaign. I know this is really lame, but it makes me laugh every time I hear it...

i.e., "Man, I'm huuu-ge."
"Yeah, you're huuu-ge."
"We're huuuuge!"
"Yeah, we're huuuge."
Then the announcer says, "Gym talk. Fun for some. Illinois instants... fun for all..."

Or whatever. I dunno. I have strange taste in commericals.

DATE: Saturday November 8, 2003 -- 7:38:26 am
Ryan, you Chevy head!!(like a rock),
The worst industry for commercials is hands down the drug industry. Does anyone get what they're talking about? The Beer and Automotive industries at least get a message across.

FROM: matt
DATE: Wednesday November 26, 2003 -- 1:35:47 pm
what about the wachovia commercials for crying out loud? they are the worst ever bar know..."what can a barbie doll teach us about investor relations" .....who thought up this crap?

FROM: Remoh
DATE: Wednesday November 26, 2003 -- 3:57:27 pm
mmmm.... TWINS

FROM: Bert Dil
DATE: Wednesday November 26, 2003 -- 3:59:55 pm
we have a winner (at least on the west coast).... it's the car commercial that uses the ghost buster's theme song...

DATE: Tuesday December 16, 2003 -- 12:27:27 am
you guys r all gay

DATE: Friday December 19, 2003 -- 2:23:34 pm
Does anyone have an explaination as to why we now see Dodge Ram commercials every 7 seconds?
This is sick. They seem to want to drive their poorly made, pointless 7000 lb crap-wagons down our throats until we give in and buy one.
Gee-do giant oil companies and the 'admin' have anything to do with this? Ya think?
The world already sees the us consumer as a greedy pig-now we get brain-damaged rednecks drag racing on city streets. Is this how Americans really are? What the *&^^%$(& is going on?
curious in Mich.

FROM: Aaron [E-Mail]
DATE: Saturday December 20, 2003 -- 6:22:26 pm
> According to this article, the ad agency responsible for those awful ads is Foote Cone & Belding. I don't believe Belding is related to Richie Belding of Saved By the Bell fame.

But what about his brother? The guy who was supposed to take the class river-rafting? He had a very sleazy ad-exec vibe to him...

FROM: John
DATE: Wednesday December 24, 2003 -- 7:46:08 pm
Get a life

FROM: Paul
DATE: Thursday December 25, 2003 -- 9:31:28 am
What an insightful commentary on the topic, John!

FROM: arvkan
DATE: Saturday January 10, 2004 -- 5:27:22 pm
the wachovia ads are really cool. i pity you since you are not able to get them

FROM: Shira
DATE: Wednesday January 28, 2004 -- 8:11:11 pm
You think the Wachovia commercials are dumb!! I have to write a freakin' essay on them. "What commercial out there annoys you the most? Write a persuasive essay on why you think the company should take these essays off the air?" CAUSE IT IS THE STUPIDEST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN!! But noooooo it has to be logical. They are dull, confusing, boring, stupid...Need I say more? I guess so...what does a tilt-o-whirl...a convinent store parking lot, a balloon!!! have to do with a bank? What's next? "What does a fart have to do with life? Here at wachovia..." Does anyone follow??

FROM: Paul
DATE: Wednesday January 28, 2004 -- 8:54:39 pm
Do you happen to need pictures for your essay?

FROM: Ashley
DATE: Monday February 2, 2004 -- 6:02:00 pm
Here in New York it seems that there are many commercials made off of a five dollar budget. One commercial has a mafia-type looking guy who screams that his car selection is HUUUGEE!! in a voice that will make you run for asprin. His sidekick rambles on about nothing besides how "...the selection will amaze you..." Then, when he rambles and tries to spit everything into 30 seconds, the other guy just screams "HUGE!" On top of that, he has made buses that feature him lying down next to the word HUGE. I'm sorry but when did selling cars turn into promoting yourself with a one word-no music jingle?
Do the commercials these days catch the audience or at least make the commercials known with annoying jingles and horrible production?

FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Monday February 2, 2004 -- 7:49:48 pm
New York has already had some...ahem...interesting low budget ads. I still think the worst I ever saw were the "Crazy Eddie" commercials in the 1980's. Just a guy yelling at you the whole 30/60 seconds..Argh.

In the Delaware/Philadelphia market, we've got a couple real good "screamers"..people who scream their way through ads. The best is for a Lincoln/Mercury dealer here in DE...the guy, while screaming, always rhymes his lines, no matter how inane the rhyme. The best (or worst) comes at the's always the same, where he signs off like a cowboy:

"Come to ____ Lincoln/Mercury today..Yippie-kayo-kai-YAY!!!

DATE: Tuesday February 3, 2004 -- 12:59:47 pm
I like Mitsubishi's car commercials just for the music alone - aside from a few VW gems the rest are crap.

I don't mind beer (hmmm, beer) commercials too much - they're pretty mindless after all.

The worst offenders are
1) Drug commercials (WTF is a "purple pill" and why do I want it?)
2) Feminine hygiene products (ladies, ask yer moms, sisters, aunts, friends!)
and 3) food commercials late at night - I don't want to have to look at food commercials after 9pm as I don't want to think about food that late...


FROM: Get Real!
DATE: Friday March 12, 2004 -- 5:13:24 pm
The "Professional driver on a closed course" disclaimer is as fictional as the evening news AND 7650% wrong, and has GOT to go, especially when you consider the fact that they almost never show anything that vaguely resembles an auto-racing maniac driving on an actual racetrack. Are those car commercial geeks so stupid that they don't even know a professional driver on a closed course if they got run over by one! If they're going to use blatantly false disclaimers, they might as well fantasize that black cats bring good luck, 3+3+3=379721 and Carrot Top is the president of the United States!

FROM: me
DATE: Monday April 5, 2004 -- 3:57:37 pm
The Spongemonkeys are the worst i mine who would buy subs from aplace thats got dead looking rats singing we love the subs

FROM: that guy
DATE: Saturday May 22, 2004 -- 11:52:42 pm
The absolutely, most disgustingly bad commerical I've seen lately is the one from Crest WhiteStrips. The one where the ladies are sitting around some table in who knows where, talking to their friend who is smiling and talking at the same time(raise your hand if you do this???). They are accusing their friend of having a new guy in her life because of her smile???!??(whaa?) Let's make some sense here.

FROM: Evan Stoliar
DATE: Saturday June 5, 2004 -- 10:09:36 pm
Now, a number of car commercials aren't even DRIVEN, they're computer animated. The marketing doesn't even show you the REAL car.

FROM: Gregory
DATE: Tuesday June 15, 2004 -- 12:48:20 pm
The absolute WORST are those that feature a woman talking with a man's voice saying (s)he bought a bunch of stuff with a credit card. They the announcer mentions it's about identity theft. I turn it off because it fouls me up to hear someone talking with a voice they shouldn't have.

FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday June 15, 2004 -- 1:18:40 pm
Here's a question: Do the people of the Ping consider "commercial parodys" to be bad?

Case in point: The radio station I work for, WDEL, is doing a series of commercials parodying the Geico commericals. (But I do have some good news..)

Instead of that tag line, we tout our services like Traffic Watch, Weather Forecasts, etc.

Script: Insurance adjuster and car owner

Insurance Adjuster: Looks like your insurance is going up....30%!
Owner: I cant afford that!
IA: Well, I do have some good news!
Owner:We can avoid the increase?
IA: No, you can get the weather forecast on WDEL, so you know what to wear while you're walking to work!

I think it's funny the first few times around, but like any commercial, once you get the joke, it gets old quickly.


FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday June 15, 2004 -- 10:20:02 pm
The absolute WORST are those that feature a woman talking with a man's voice saying (s)he bought a bunch of stuff with a credit card.

Actually, I think those are usually pretty funny.

Dave -- I'm not a big fan of commercial parodies, but in general, they're usually on a local level and pretty harmless.

FROM: Denise
DATE: Thursday June 17, 2004 -- 12:13:36 pm
I agree with a couple already mentioned. THE worst TV ad is the one with those things that are like 'dead looking rats' (as described earlier ..hehe) dancing around singing about Sub sandwiches. They are hideous looking creatures that would NEVER convince me to eat there. (I think it's Quizno's Subs). It looks as though they spent 12 bucks on that one. What were their ad people thinking??
A close second is definitely that annoying woman with her friends at lunch in the Crest WhiteStrips commercial? I'd like to knock her teeth out....
D. :)

FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday June 17, 2004 -- 12:24:08 pm
Good call, Denise: I ***hate*** the Quizno's commercials. That earns the big "WTF?" award in my book. Some commercials you don't get until you see them a few times..I've seen them for the past few months, and I still don't get them and find it annoying.

FROM: Paul
DATE: Thursday June 17, 2004 -- 4:07:36 pm
Geez, Dave, you brought out the triple-asterisk hate. That's pretty bad.

I agree: the Quizno's spots are annoying and weird.

Here's a question: Do the people of the Ping consider "commercial parodys" to be bad?

Not necessarily. The recent Geico one with the hair loss clinic got me good, as I thought it was just a cheesy hair plug commercial at first.

FROM: donny
DATE: Monday December 20, 2004 -- 5:10:39 pm
i hated the commercial ware the guy kept saying call somethin at 866 home today and i hated that so much i called and the answering machine came up and i told them when ever i here that commercial all i do is change the channel and they changed it and now it says it once

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Monday December 20, 2004 -- 6:07:02 pm
Did you use punctuation when you left them the message?

FROM: Enough Is Enough
DATE: Saturday April 30, 2005 -- 10:40:54 am
New candidate for Worst Commercial Ever: GM "hot-button" commercials featuring a totally stupid misuse of an exercise song called Push It (as in the "hot button")... of course, legal fees would be even higher if they used a parody of that song!

DATE: Friday May 13, 2005 -- 5:05:07 pm
Wow are you people bored or what? A bunch of real "haters" that love to complain.

FROM: Dave
DATE: Sunday July 10, 2005 -- 7:54:14 pm
My big complaint is the use of music to try and sucker those who have happy memories of specific songs into buying the product as a way of somehow owning something connected to their own memories. How many meaningful Beatles songs have been sullied by connection with a product?

FROM: Jonathan Mengel
DATE: Sunday October 2, 2005 -- 6:41:38 pm
My least favorite commericals are for empire carpets. Their jingle is mind numbing. In fact, I have a petition going to remove the jingle. All are welcome to sign.

FROM: Paul
DATE: Monday October 3, 2005 -- 9:46:36 am
My least favorite commericals [sic] are for empire carpets. [sic]

Good luck taking down a jingle that's over 35 years old, bub. (Nice choice of method, too.)

FROM: scott
DATE: Monday January 30, 2006 -- 5:35:48 pm
You liberal dumb-asses just have to be whinin' about something at all times, doncha? Quit pullin' yer puds and go DO something!

FROM: Powermeister
DATE: Wednesday March 1, 2006 -- 9:30:00 am
Listen, guys, my favorit commercial was the one that was the guy yelling Get me a beer you sissy homosexual nad take off that skirt. Hell yea. There was boobs and asses in the tv and I like it like that. You see, in my opinion. the commercials for beer is the best USA's got today and they are the best, and no one can tell me diffrent. I like to watch the boobshake and GODaddy. I'm just inferring that alright Americans like women in their commercials.......thats why they continue on always like that!!!!

FROM: Paul
DATE: Wednesday March 1, 2006 -- 11:21:51 am
Powermeister's post is crap, save for this:

I like to watch the boobshake and GODaddy...

With that capitalization style... it made me realize that Go Daddy has the word "god" right in it. Right there! Given Parsons's background in religious software, I wonder if it's just a coincidence or not.

This is crazy! January 12, 2007, 3:00 pm

Evan Stoliar, car commercials should be required to show the REAL car, and ‘computer animation’ is an oxymoron.
Another crazy trend that ought to be outlawed is the absurd practice of product placement (which isn’t even limited to real products). The worst product placement ever is in a Powerpuff Girls episode called Jewel Of The Aisle, which is a story about a robber who gets away from the Powerpuff Girls but hadn’t counted on losing the Klopman Diamond in a Generally Foods Cereal factory (General Mills is the real, trademarked company, which they don’t mention on the show). He opens box after box of Lucky Captain Rabbit King Nuggets in search of his prize but to no avail, so he dresses up as Lucky Captain Rabbit King and goes after the box that got away. The girls tell the robber dressed as Lucky Captain Rabbit King “Ridiculous Lucky Captain Rabbit King, Lucky Captain Rabbit King Nuggets are for the youth!” (a BLATANT rip-off of “Silly rabbit, Trix are for KIDS!”) a mere 12934856132498757283916798134675 times in this episode before catching him with the Klopman Diamond in his mouth. (“Stupid unlucky captured robber dude, JAIL is for you!”) Jewel Of The Aisle is a de-facto ten-minute commercial for Lucky Captain Rabbit King Nuggets. Worst…Product…Placement…EVER!!!

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