Review 10 – The 3 Worst Ads on TV

Apparently, the average person is exposed to somewhere between 3,000 and 20,000 commercial messages per day.  Sadly, I would estimate that between 2,999 and 19,999 of them are absolute dirt. However, it’s heartening to notice a few golden nuggets peeping through the confusing, lying, exaggerating pile of poo that is the vast majority of the advertising industry’s output.

These are not those nuggets.

In fact, these three examples are among the worst ads on TV at the moment.  I’ll tell you why.


Nicabate Minis/Nicorette Lozenges

Why it’s a crap ad: false advertising.

This ad commits the most basic of advertising no-nos: it portrays its product as something it’s not.  The benefits of Nicabate Minis/Nicorette Lozenges would seem fairly straightforward to me: they relieve cravings for nicotine without the harmful effects of cigarettes.  The idea behind the ad is straightforward too: every time you resist a cigarette, you celebrate a little win.  And while there are plenty of creative visions that could convey either of these messages, Nicabate/Nicorette have chosen to present their product in an entirely false way and confuse the viewer.

The ad in question, embedded above, is simple enough.  Man 1 asks Man 2 if he would like a cigarette.  Man 2 says “I’m good”.  What he should have responded with was “will those cigarettes give me the confidence to perform karaoke in an empty bar while hallucinating that a miniaturised Maori funk band is playing a cover of Rare Earth’s 1971 classic I Just Want to Celebrate on a serving tray?  If not, then I’ll be fine with these sweet pills from Nicabate/Nicorette.”

I’m not a smoker, and am therefore not a Nicabate/Nicorette consumer either.  But I’ve done the research.  I’ve described the intended effects of the product above: they help kill ciggy cravings.  But even the most severe side effects are limited to fast or irregular heartbeat; and swelling of the face, lips, mouth or throat resulting in difficulty swallowing or breathing.  Nope, that’s not hallucinating or confidence enhancing.  So, somewhere in between turning down a cigarette and hallucinating/performing karaoke, the man has obviously consumed LSD and drunk five to seven beers.  It’s the only logical explanation.

But hey, he’s not smoking, so I guess in a roundabout way the ad does settle on the right message.  4 ciggys out of a pack of 24 for this one.



Why it’s a crap ad: no mention of product benefits, presents a vague and unrealistic scenario.

Jeep is one of those brand names that has become so deeply embedded in society’s language that it has almost become a descriptor for vehicles suitable for use on rough terrain, just like Mackintosh’s raincoats have inspired an entire product category, the Mack raincoat.  They’ve reached this enviable position through precision engineering that combines the benefits of an off-road vehicle with aesthetics and luxurious interiors suitable for inner-city and family transport.  Recently, they’ve become surprisingly affordable too, and you can get a low-end Jeep, The Patriot (also the subject of this ad) for just $25,000.

So for their latest campaign, did Jeep focus on affordability, luxury, precision engineering, or the fact that their name is one of the most famous and highly-regarded in the world?  Your guess is as good as mine.

What unfolds above is some sort of awkward dialogue between Michael and an unnamed woman, presumably Michael’s wife or at the very least mother of his children.  I’m assuming they have kids because they’re cleaning up plush toys while they talk.  When unnamed woman tells Michael that she bought a Jeep, he repeats the question several times to confirm the information he’s just heard, before looking impressed.  Then the ad descends into the advertising cliché that is four-wheel-drives driving on an array of roads.

This wouldn’t happen.  These are more likely scenarios:


Michael: so what did you end up getting?

Woman: I bought a Jeep.

Michael: You bought a Jeep?  Why?  I’ve told you I don’t bloody like that brand and I’d prefer a smaller, cheaper car since we only have one child, and said child is a tiny newborn that can travel safely in virtually any vehicle given the right safety seat.  It’ll be years before we need a bigger car than a hatch like the bloody Volkswagen Golf, which has awesome ads, by the way.



Michael: so what did you end up getting?

Woman: I bought a Jeep.

Michael: Wow, I thought you were just going out to get a pack of almonds, 12 eggs and a tub of yoghurt like I asked!  What about our mortgage?  The kids we have to raise: there are so many doctor’s and dentist’s appointments involved in that.  The older one, he’s just about to go into high school… now we’ll have to send him to a shit one and he’ll end up making rash decisions and expensive impulse buys like you do.



Michael: so what did you end up getting?

Woman: I bought a Jeep.

Michael: You owe me $25,000.



Michael: so what did you end up getting?

Woman: I bought a Jeep.

Michael: You bought a Jeep?  Well so did I.

Woman: Fuck Michael, I knew we should have discussed this at greater length.

Ultimately, I guess the point I’m trying to make is that at the end of the ad, and I’ve seen it a lot, I still have absolutely no idea why I should buy a Jeep, or what Michael is really thinking under that seemingly impressed grin.

1 wheel out of a four-wheel drive.



Why it’s a crap ad: it had big shoes to fill, it’s more overplayed than Stairway to Heaven at guitar shops.

How the mighty have fallen… the glory days of Ketut, Rhonda and the overweight yet charming Balinese foot massager are but distant memories for AAMI and viewers now, played out of existence by this dismal excuse for an ad.

This is actually an ad for the AAMI Skilled Drivers Course, a course for under 25s that’s included with any AAMI comprehensive motor insurance policy.

The initial idea and execution for this ad is decent enough.  A woman reflects on her past driving experience when she catches a glimpse of her former self at the traffic lights.  But it was never going to be as memorable as the internet phenomenon that was Ketut’s romance with that loveable redhead Rhonda, and to a lesser extent, her Balinese foot massage.  The characters are nowhere near as endearing and the humour is mediocre at best.  If AAMI were hoping for this to spread like wildfire like their past ads, their hopes were misplaced.

Perhaps knowing their new campaign wouldn’t be as catchy as the old, AAMI took a different approach.  Instead of actually making a good ad that would stick, they have seen fit to seemingly buy up every single 30-second slot on every network at every time of every day to force it to stick.  Seriously.  This ad gets played all the time.  I have actually seen it play back to back in between goals during an AFL game. It should be illegal to play an ad this average this many times.

Every time it plays, I feel a little piece of my heart dying, never to return to me.  Sure, you can say change channel, but it’s like the taxman, death or Liam Neeson in Taken: you can’t escape this thing, it will find you, and it will destroy you, no matter where you turn.

0 out of 12097497654986, which I think is the number of minutes of my life I’ve spent watching this ad that I’ll never get back.


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