With a few notable exceptions (the Snuggie), bad advertising can be more detrimental to a product or business than no advertising. However, if it happens to be a series of ads singled out as being bad, that's another thing entirely. One bad ad can spoil your day. A series of them may ruin your future.
Plainly, if you played a role in bringing an ad to life that was highlighted as one of the best of the worst, you may have some career challenges in your future. Not to worry! As advertising moves forward, other bad ads will come to take the place of your bad ad (or series), and you will soon be forgotten -- or so you can hope. While our taste in what makes a good ad versus bad one is not only determined culturally, but it is a selective individual process. Some ads are universally accepted as being tasteless, off-topic, poorly executed, or just plain stupid.
Enter Crowell Advertising's Tracy Awards, an effort that brings this "Cream of the Crap" to the top of the proverbial pile for all to view. The Tracy Awards, highlighted in a previous post on this site in September, has been scouring Madison Avenue and beyond in a relentless pursuit of bad advertising. They've ferreted out the mediocre and the sub-standard to bring us the worst of 2009. Please take a moment to thank the creative geniuses at Crowell (none of whom I've met) and give them a hearty, "Bravo!" After all, if there are going to be numerous competitions bestowing accolades to the best, there should at least be one entity that shines the light on the worst. Thank you, Crowell.
While radio is under-represented in the list of "winners," take some time to peruse the worst that print, online, viral, and television have to offer. The best thing about the Tracy Awards: If you weren't privy to an ad because it didn't run in your geographic area or you just tuned it out, you'll be able to catch everything you missed. Some of my favorites for tasteless (all print -- I want you to enjoy the numerous video selections all on your own) are below (with the exception of the WWF's Tsunami ad I acknowledged earlier this week).
As I alluded, if you were part of the team the let these abominations loose, welcome to the bottom, my friends. The one nice thing about being down here is there isn't any pressure -- yet.
In any event, go to the site, watch the videos, and immerse yourself. You'll be much better for it.