The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Would You Trust Someone Who Trusts Me?
December 14, 2016, 11:00 pm
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Brand Suicide, Comment, Egovertising, Marketing Fail

So a while back I got an email from a journalist at Bloomberg Businessweek.

To be honest, I thought it was a joke, because they asked me if I’d be interested in writing an article on some of the WORST advertising that has run in the US over the past 20-30 years.

After determining it was a genuine request from a genuine journalist, I jumped at the chance.

Sure, it was going to be a tongue-in-cheek article hidden away in the back of the magazine … but who wouldn’t want to do it! Hell, I’d go as far as to say I was made to do it.

So after making sure my choices didn’t insult any existing or past client [or their competitors, so I didn’t look like a sneaky fuck] and explaining I was going to do it from the perspective of a bad idea, strategy or execution – because I wouldn’t know the actual effectiveness the work had on the business – this is what I submitted …

“Video Game” by Jack In The Box 2016 [Click here to see]

Jack In The Box ads sort-of got me wanting to work in advertising. They were irreverent, mischievous and – in their own way – very honest. The latest stuff is rather sad. They’ve lost all their personality and charm and are doing their very best to create communication that doesn’t even have the ability to leave a bad taste in my mouth. If the 20 year old version of me saw this, I’d want to become a CPA rather than enter advertising. And this is coming from someone who once got 2% in a maths exam.

“Big Game” by PayPal: Super Bowl 2015 [Click here to see]

The whole premise of this ad is that ‘Paypal is new money’. What a shame they spend the next 55 second ignoring the fact that to use their service, you have to have access to old money. You know, the stuff that will actually pay for that wi-fi selfie-toaster you think is a great idea to buy. At 3am. After drinks.

“The Portrait With Steven Tyler” by Skittles: Super Bowl 2015 [Click here to see]

I love Aerosmith. And Skittles. Or I should say I used to, until I saw this. Maybe Steven Tyler charged so much money they didn’t have enough cash left to pay for the agency to do what they do best. Or maybe Mr Tyler blew so much of his cash living the ’70’s dream’ he has to take whatever he can get to pay the bills.
That would certainly explain his appearance on American Idol.

“Shape Up With Brooke Burke” Sketchers 2011 [Click here to see]

Nothing kills a bad brand like good advertising. I can’t remember who said that, but Sketchers found out to their cost when it was discovered their ‘shape up shoes’ didn’t really shape you up unless you actually moved your legs. A lot. Doing something called, ‘exercise’.

“What Can Brown Do For You” by UPS 2002 [Click here to see]

I get it, UPS like the colour brown and they want everyone to know it. But when I think of brown, I think of 1970’s cars, dirt and [thanks to my 22 month old son] ] nappies. I don’t know if I had millions to spend I’d try to associate my brand with those unsavoury items. But then, I don’t think the ‘attempt at humour’ at the end is appropriate or funny either. Questionable strategy. Pretty bad delivery.

“Kenyan Runner” by Just For Feet: Super Bowl 1999 [Click here to see]

Some white dudes in a 4×4 seemingly chase a black runner through a barren plain. Someone drugs him. They watch him fall over. Then they lean over his body menacingly. Seriously, how did no one think this was in utterly horrific taste.

“Calvin Klein Jeans” by Calvin Klein 1990’s [Click here to see]

I honestly don’t know if these ads [which were eventually pulled] were trying to appeal to America’s youth or middle aged perverts.If the former, I’m not sure they would have been that successful. If the latter, then I am pretty certain it kept prosecution lawyers in business for a few years.

“Can’t Get A Man” Lux Soap 1940’s? [Click here to see]

I would love to meet the people who wrote this ad. And approved it. And accepted it in their publications. Actually, scrub that … I would love my wife to meet them. And Cindy Gallop. And as they both punched them hard on the nose, I’d be there cheering them along.


To be honest, I thought it was quite good.

As I am sure people who know me would agree, being cheeky without being too nasty is something very difficult for me, so imagine my surprise when the article came out and I saw they had done this …

Can you see it?

It’s the small bit on the bottom right hand side of the page.

Yep, not only did they tuck it away at the bottom of the article that was tucked away at the bottom of the magazine … they cut down the amount of ‘entries’ by over half and had edited the hell out of what was left as well.

And you know what … I don’t care, because while it is a jokey article tucked away in the jokey section of the magazine, my name appears in Bloomberg Businessweek and that is something I literally never thought would happen.

Sure, some may say that because last year my name appeared in some semi-serious books and I was awarded a fairly serious award, I’m on a downward spiral based on this years achievements … but in a weird way, this feels even more valuable, mainly because it isn’t an industry publication and for me, that’s ace because it’s utterly mental, hence it gets this overly long blog post.

But don’t worry, tomorrow is the last post of the whole year. Yippee!

11 Comments so far
Leave a comment

They should have left your original copy. Very amusing.

Comment by Lee Hill

dear dan wieden. congratulations on no fucking longer being the most stupid bastard in business.

Comment by andy@cynic

Good news. You’re not the most stupid man in business.
Bad news. You’re the second most stupid man in business.

Comment by DH

I’m sure this will make Dan’s year.

Comment by Rob

i bet bloomberg circulation dropped like a fucking stone after associating with you. first positive thing youve done in fucking years campbell.

Comment by andy@cynic

Rob is the reason the print industry is dying.

Comment by DH

Nobody reads long copy.

Comment by John

You do.

Comment by Rob

Nobody reads your posts. Just the comments.

Comment by DH

That’s because I’m nobody.

Comment by John

I agree with Lee that they should have left your original copy. It’s a fun read and you navigated the potential danger of insulting clients, ex clients and potential clients with your usual brilliance. I wish I had this skill.

Comment by Pete

Leave a Reply