UPDATE: Be sure to check out the 2011 edition of our Worst Ad Round Table!
In case you’re coming late to the party, we recently announced the nominees for Consumerist’s First Annual Worst Ad In America Awards. For perspective, we spoke to a round table of cognoscente to get their feedback on some of the nominated spots.
Joining us was Nathan Rabin of AVclub.com and author of the upcoming My Year of Flops; Jen Doll of the Village Voice; Lilit Marcus, editor-in-chief of TheGloss.com; Mark Marino, entertainment writer and the mind behind Confections of a Dangerous Mind; and an ad agency executive who wished to remain anonymous, lest he lose his job.
Here are their knee-jerk reactions to the nominees in our top category and a handful of other nominees:
HONDA: “MR. OPPORTUNITY”
Anonymous: “Maybe this campaign wasn’t annoying when it was for a one-off sales event, but after running so long, even I’m ready to punch Mr. Opportunity in the face.
Nathan: “That creepy CGI spokescartoon is so getting a handjob in the back of the limo. That, friends, is the takeaway from that ad.”
Mark: “Mr. Opportunity should be called Mr. Douchebaggery for the simple fact that he looks like Matthew McConaughey and hangs at trendy clubs. And the Honda pitchman is really being taken for a ride if he thinks that model is with him because she’s attracted to him. Mr. Opportunity, meet Ms. Opportunist.”
Nathan: “I think it’s fittingly progressive that Progressive has chosen as its spokeswoman a boundlessly cheery woman who is clearly on MDMA all the time.”
Lilit: “Sorry, but people named Flo only make me think of one thing, and I don’t like to associate car insurance with my menstrual cycle.”
Mark: “I pray that the speeding car at the end of the ad was fleeing a hit-and-run scene in which it mowed down Flo and the fat guy with the sweater draped over his shoulders. In his one second on screen, he managed to be more annoying than she is.”
Nathan: “I never imagined it possible, but Quiznos has found a way to make kittens insufferable. Good job, Quiznos. I can’t wait to see how you fuck up rainbows and sunsets.”
Jen: “That cat really needs to stop smoking and drink some honey lemon throat tea — that voice sounds like my mom singing in church. Regardless, if Quiznos is targeting the stoner market (which they should), this does the trick nicely. But, isn’t ‘toasty bullet’ slang for anal sex?”
Mark: “This is wrong on so many levels. First off, I don’t want cats anywhere near my food. They could get fur in it and their paws were just in a filthy litter box. Also, this poor cat clearly has polyps on its vocal cords and needs surgery, yet the Quiznos people still forced it to sing. I needed a lozenge after watching it.”
STAPLES: “WOW! THAT’S A LOW PRICE!”
Nathan: “Who among us doesn’t experience orgasmic joy due to office supply deals?”
Mark: “While the screaming in this ad is certainly jarring, you have to give Staples credit for hiring a mentally challenged actor to plug their great prices. And God love him, he’s enthusiastic, ain’t he? But that other guy is going to hell for mocking him at the end.”
STATE FARM: “POCKET AGENT”
Nathan: “I’m still not entirely sure what a pocket agent is, though it sounds dirty.”
Mark: “Pocket Agent sounds dirty, and this ad also reinforces the “subservient Asian woman” stereotype. The guy tries to do all the talking for Larissa, his lil’ pocket agent. My biggest issue, though, was this: What the hell is up with his hair? It’s like he couldn’t decide wheter to part it in the middle or to the side, and went with this off-center, severe separation that looks not unlike what Joyce DeWitt sported on season 1 of Three’s Company.”
CHARMIN: “STICKY-BOTTOMED BEARS”
Lilit: “You know, ‘Do bears shit in the woods?’ isn’t actually a Zen riddle.
Jen: “OK, maybe I’m out of the loop, but is this an actual problem people face? Toilet paper left behind? Still, I can’t help but think fondly of a commercial that leaves me with visions of ass hair dancing in my head. Toasty bullet, indeed.”
Mark: “This is worse than getting the sex talk from your parents.”
McDONALD’S: THE “NOT UNTIL I’VE HAD MY COFFEE” JERKFACE
Jen: “I think what he means to say is, ‘Don’t talk to me before I’ve had my orgasm.’ Can’t he just jerk off in the bathroom like a normal dude?”
Mark: “I’m not a morning person and I don’t like to converse until at least noon, but this guy’s just an a-hole.”
1 800 DENTIST: THE LAST WOMAN ON EARTH YOU’D WANT IN THE ELEVATOR WITH YOU
Anonymous: “At least the coffee jerk redeems himself at the end, but this woman isn’t likable at all.”
Mark: “Getting your teeth drilled would be less painful than getting stuck on an elevator with this irritating woman. And lose the attitude if you want to land a dentist, lady! It also wouldn’t hurt to lose the jacket — she looked like a big dumb-ass with those too-short sleeves.”
OLD NAVY: SUPER MODELQUINS
Lilit: “Remember the replicants from Blade Runner? That movie was awesome. Wait, what was this commercial about again?”
LIBERATOR MEDICAL: “NO MORE USED CATHETERS”
Anonymous: “Please don’t talk to me about catheters– used or otherwise.”
Mark: “Jessica Simpson Is totally convincing in her role as ‘Cath,’ a woman on a quest for a sterile catheter. What a dramatic turn for the singer/Dukes of Hazard star! And I like that she pulled a Charlize Theron and uglied herself up a bit for the role. I smell Oscar… and pee.”
Lilit: “This is totally a missing scene from Best In Show, right? RIGHT?”
DANNON LIGHT & FIT: HEIDI KLUM
Jen: “The perfect commercial for anorexics who dream of binge-eating…yogurt. 80-calorie yogurt. Sad. You know what else has 80 calories? A glass of wine. Drink seven to make this commercial bearable.”
APPLE: iPHONE FACE TIME — “SMILE”
Lilit: “I’m so glad that lonelygirl15 was able to get more work.”
Mark: “There’s something a little “To Catch a Predator” about this creepy guy Skyping with a tween girl and trying to get her to smile. I was expecting him to say something like, ‘Will you smile if I show you Mr. Happy?’ and then flash her. What a relief when she called him “Dad” at the end — that is, if he really is her father.”
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