Announcing The 2011 Worst Ad In America Nominees!

For the second year in a row, we asked you to tell us which TV commercials get on your last nerve, and you didn’t hold back. After sifting through hundreds of comments and e-mails, we’ve finally whittled down all those annoying ads to the elite few worthy of recognition in the Second Annual Consumerist Worst Ad In America Awards.

We’re happy to note that there are very few repeat offenders from last year’s finalists. In fact, of 2010’s five Absolute Worst Ad nominees, only one campaign — Progressive’s Flo — remains on the air, and while Flo did get nominated this year in the Most Grating Performance By a Human category, she won’t be vying for the big title.

The ads that will be scrapping and scraping to win the coveted Fast-Forward Button trophy cover a wide variety of annoyance. From the glass shattering screams of the woman screaming at the fake spider on her Samsung Infuse phone to the Geico geeks playing with the most irritating smartphone apps on Earth; from the wife who lets decades of pent-up hatred toward her husband spew out over his decision to upgrade to an unlimited wireless plan to Summer’s Eve misguided attempt at equating female empowerment with flowery scented feminine hygiene products. And then there is the Luvs commercial with animated tots competing to fill their diapers with poop.

As mentioned above, Progressive’s Flo is back in the competition this year, but she’s not alone. In the Celebrity category, both Activia shill Jamie Lee Curtis and the Rent-a-Center pushing team of Hulk Hogan and Troy Aikman have returned for another go at a WAIA.

Also of note is actress Suzi Barrett, who was nominated last year for being so irritating in ads for 1-800 Dentist. This year, she’s in the competition not once but twice! On her own, Suzi is nominated for her unblinking, crazy-eyed portrayal of a multitasking Metamucil drinker. And then she’s part of an ensemble nomination for being part of the cutesy staff at Esurance. She’s like a WAIA Kate Winslet!

The Death Star Dominates
AT&T isn’t just trying to take over the wireless market. The folks at the Death Star also seem intent on Worst Ad nomination domination. In just the Absolute Worst Ad category, AT&T has two noms, one of which is shared with Samsung. And then there is a third nomination for AT&T’s ad featuring the hapless and witless wannabe flash mob guy.

Another multiple nominee is Arby’s. The roast beef sandwich chain’s “Good Mood Food” jingle managed to annoy people to the point of singling it out. And then there is Arby’s Cravin’ Chicken ad featuring a fellow who uses his frog tongue to lick sauce of a co-worker’s face. That spot merited a nomination in the Creepy category.

Below is the complete list of nominees. Clicking on any of the names should take you directly to that ad’s YouTube video.


Absolute Worst Ad:
AT&T — wife berates husband for unlimited plan
Geico — Using smartphones for dumb things
Samsung/AT&T — Infuse 4G “spider”
Luvs — Poop There It Is
Summer’s Eve — Hail to the V

Most Grating Performance By a Human:
Flo the Progressive Insurance Lady
The State Farm “Thanks for buying me a falcon” guy
The AT&T flash mob dancer
The Metamucil multitasker

Group That Ought To Go Its Separate Ways:
The Esurance staff
The McCann twins for Consumer Cellular
The Trojan Triphoria ladies
The Miller Lite “Man Up” guys

Most Irritating Animated Actor:
Blue Tax Max
The Orkin blind date termite
Aflac “major medical” pigeon
CarFax Fox

Worst Abuse Of An Existing Song:
Old Navy — “Sister Christian” by Night Ranger
Honda & Tommy Hilfiger — “Holiday” by Vampire Weekend
(Second commercial)
Swiffer — “What About Love” by Heart
Value City — “I Want It All” by Queen

Original Jingle That Should Be Junked:
Education Connection
Farmers Insurance — “We Are Farmers”
(medley of all Truvia jingles)
Arby’s — “Good Mood Food”

Creepiest Commercial of the Year:
Arby’s “Frog Tongue”
The Pos-T-Vac penis vacuum
Jello — Pudding Face
Target — Denim-obsessed music teacher

Celebrity Who Could Probably Use A New Manager Right Now:
Montel Williams for Money Mutual
Hulk Hogan & Troy Aikman for Rent a Center
Jamie Lee Curtis for Activia
Claire Danes for Latisse

Trends That Need To Stop Being Trends:
Asian Accents are “hilarious”
(As seen in ads for DirecTV and Vonage)

Old Spice copycats
(As seen in ads for Dairy Queen, Edge Shave Gel… and now Old Spice appears to be ripping itself off)

Men are lunkheads who somehow manage to put up with their harpy wives and girlfriends
(As seen in ads for AT&T, McDonald’s and Klondike)

Playing hidden-camera tricks on “surprised” real people
(As seen in ads for Ford, Microsoft Windows and Febreze)

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.