Saturday, July 23, 2011

Top 5 List: 5 Awful Banner Ads

Here's an experiment you can try at home. Don't watch any TV for a year. You can watch shows online if you'd like, but don't watch on the television itself. At the end of the year go back and turn on your TV, then wait for the first commercial break. Count the number of seconds it takes before you want to punch someone.

Most commercials are so awful I'm honestly convinced it might all be a massive inside joke or experiment. It's like the somewhat well-known story of Motley Crue members Tommy Lee and Nikki Sixx, who had a bet to see who could go the longest without showering and still sleep with groupies, except in this case advertisers are trying to see how terrible they can make their ads and still get corporations to pay for them. Even good products are getting terrible ads, as I've mentioned before.

As my way of launching my newest post tag I decided to sit down and find five truly abominable ads. Originally I was going to discuss television commercials here too, but I'm afraid I'm not ready for that kind of crazy yet, and this is coming from a person who read Time Cube from beginning to end and journaled my descent into the rabbit hole on this very blog. Besides, at this point banner ads are sort of my thing.

That said, here are five ads that force me to ask: "How in the Hell are you selling your product?"

5. 4 More Years?

This is a great example of what I was talking about. This ad for -a real news site with real journalists and real stories and everything- shows off all the wit and subtlety of a Mack truck combined with an absolute minimum of effort and a crop job that looks like it was done in 5 seconds on MS Paint. For Christ's sake, the name of the site they're advertising doesn't even appear on the damn ad!

Just to prove my point about how not hard this is, I decided to make my own ad for the same site making the same point as theirs, only in a more effective way. The following ad only took me seven minutes to make, and I'm not even a professional advertiser.

If I was a professional advertiser you can bet your ass this thing would be flashing like I had a blood vendetta against epileptics.

4. Milanoo Final Fantasy Cosplay Stuff

Here's a secret the ad agencies don't want you to know: advertising is actually really simple. Just show your product looking awesome, delicious, or convenient, then tell people how to get that awesome, delicious, convenient thing. If your product can't be made to look awesome, delicious, or convenient, then you lie.

Clearly, the advertisers for Milanoo were well aware of this simple idea. Who needs to lie when you're selling cosplay materials and outfits so amazing they will magically transform you into a CGI character cropped out of the game and crudely photoshopped onto a picture of a couch?

3. Alli Labs: Look 10 Years Younger in 10 Minutes

look 10 years younger in 10 minutes

Before we begin, it's important that you understand, I did not alter this ad in any way. I didn't crop out some crucial text that explains what's going on. This isn't the first frame of an animated ad. This is all there is to this ad. The only other context available is mouseover text which I've included here.

First of all, when trying to sell a rejuvenating lotion (I assume) it's important that you show a picture of someone attractive, someone your viewer would presumably want to look like. This woman looks so old I'm convinced the only thing your lotion would do is take her from "fossil" to "mummy." Combine that with a slogan that sounds like something you'd see in the subject line of a spam e-mail, and you have two great reasons not to click this ad.

Just for argument's sake, here's a more effective ad (not made by me) for a similar product, in this case apparently a magical spell that will turn you into a life-sucking demon.

Admittedly, she's pretty hot for being probably a witch.

2. Free Electronic Cigarette

For those not in the know, electronic cigarettes are battery powered smoke machines lauded for managing the Herculean task of being better for you than a tube full of tar-soaked carcinogens, a claim almost as obvious as it is completely untrue. But it takes more than bad spelling and a stupid product for an ad to be truly awful. Fortunately (ha) this ad quickly goes full retard.

It just raises so many questions. Why is the word "now" in quotes? Are they being sarcastic? Why are they talking about quitting smoking in the middle of a cigarette ad? Why did they include the year at the end of the ad? Are they expecting me to see this and say "okay, you say I can quit smoking with your e-cigarette, but what year, huh? Oh, I see! Sold!"

A trip to their website doesn't answer any of these questions. It does, however, assure me that Leonardo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp, and Paris Hilton all use e-cigarettes. Quite the argument there. How could I possibly disagree with the product choices of out-of-touch, eccentric douchebags?

1. Knight Productions...what even is this crap?

This is just bad. I mean, first of all, what is this even advertising? Some stupid angelfire site no one's ever heard of? And that artwork, what is that, a cave drawing by a blind weeaboo neanderthal who died of terminal lameness halfway through? The slogan is even worse. "Shameless self-promotion" stopped being a funny line in, oh wait, it was never funny.

I like the font, though. It looks like if SyFy stopped trying.

Apparently the moron who made this stupid crap eight years ago has some sort of blog now. Let's check that garbage out. ...oh.

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