by Campaign, 13 December 2007

Here they are, the ads that have driven us crazy in 2007. Campaign has picked the ten biggest howlers to have dogged our screens over the year, ranging from mediocre work from agencies that should have known better to ads that simply should never have seen the light of day. Got any to add? Go to the comment box at the bottom of the story.

1. Trident Chewing Gum
“Mastication for the Nation” isn’t a half-bad strategic idea, but in this business, execution is everything, and, in this case, JWT produced a howler for Trident Chewing Gum. Stick an exaggerated Jamaican accent on an idiotic comedian and the racist murmurs will begin to emerge. Combine this with a contemporaneous racist outcry over events in the Big Brother house and you’ve got a cacophony. The Advertising Standards Authority received more than 500 complaints and the campaign was pulled

2. Philips Philishave
However, the top spot for Turkey of the Year was hard-fought by DDB London and its “robot” ad for the Philips Philishave. Female robot caresses face of showering human. They share a moment… there’s love in the air. No there’s not. It’s cringeworthy rubbish. High on production values, low on taste.

3. Kellogg’s Nutri Grain
This idea for Kellogg’s Nutri Grain should never have made it past Leo Burnett’s creative department’s bin: get horses to behave like humans as they indulge in a filling Nutri Grain snack. Trouble is, horses simply can’t be made to act like people. There are clunky hooves “picking up” tea cups, horse legs sticking out at unnatural angles and unfunny gags aplenty.

4. Rana Pasta
Rana Pasta is delicious, but its advertising efforts via Leagas Delaney are not. The ad presents itself as a spoof demonstration by “citizens for fresh pasta” outside 10 Downing Street, but it’s all a load of cluttered nonsense. The appearance of Ann Widdecombe only adds to the mess.
A know-it-all, smug voiceover caps off the silliness.

5. Nintendo DS
Talk about unconvincing. She may be very pretty, she may be a very good actress, but are we honestly expected to believe that Nicole Kidman likes to sit in front of the fire playing with a Nintendo DS? There will be no Oscars awarded for this little number, created in-house.

6. Lynx
You might argue that Bartle Bogle Hegarty’s “Bom Chicka Wah Wah” campaign for Lynx isn’t that bad. But remember, this is from the stable of “pulse”, “billions” and “getting dressed”. The Bom Chicka Wah Wah line is clumsily glued to the end of each spot in a too obvious attempt to create a popular catchphrase.

7. Crunchy Nut Cornflakes
JWT has been churning out ads about “Crunchy Nutters” for Kellogg for some time now, but “special lane” was an ad too far. In this spot for Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut Cornflakes, people desperate to get home and eat their cereal are allowed to use a dedicated traffic lane. It doesn’t sound funny because it isn’t. There’s a valiant attempt by the voiceover artist to lend humour to the idea, but he fails.

8. Kellogg’s Frosties
Who at Leo Burnett thought of taking one of 2006’s worst advertising howlers and putting it to opera for a new version in 2007? That’s what the agency did for Frosties this year, exposing the general public even further to the “gonna taste great” theme music. There was nothing great about this advertising.

9. Glade
It was a sad day when Glade decided to inflict another instalment of its brat-on-the-crapper series on us. This time the little priss can’t bring himself to go until his mother refills the Glade air freshener. What on earth is she feeding him, for goodness sake?

10. Mars Planets
Does Mars have faith in its Planets or not? Judging by its advertising to launch the product, its ambitions are low. Stereotypical young people jump around excitedly at a fruit machine that is distributing the mini-chocolates. That’s about it. Well, apart from a voiceover imploring us to “mix it up”. Not Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO’s
finest moment in 2007.

I have to say that I definitely agree with the Crunchy Nut lane ad – completely stupid and pointless, if anything it made you NOT WANT the cereal. Also, the trident ad was more annoying and a bit generalising than anything else. Plus threw people in this country into a fit, as anything and everything in advertising that might concern anything that could be seen as PC or non-PC would. Apparently, not only do we have to please the creative director, then the client, but then Joe Public gets to put their two cents in and squash it. Growl – okay, must be my flu kicking in!

Taken from…you guessed it! Campaign, via Brand Republic