Horrors on the Idiot Box - this consumer's list of the Worst Contemporary Commercials

Now I'm not a huge television watcher, but when I do watch a show the last thing I want to see or hear is an annoying, offensive or plain stupid commercial. You know, the advertisement junk that truly puts "idiot" in idiot box. The airwaves are full of them, and this is unfortunate not just for the television watcher but also the maker of whatever is being advertised. Let's face it: a good commercial can sell a product to a lot of people; a bad commercial can make a product something a lot of people just want to avoid.

When it comes to commercials we hate my husband and I have become pretty darned skilled at hitting the remote control's mute fast. Its sad, however, that the makers and sellers of the products in these commercials continue to be clueless about just how grating these darned things are. In case they are reading this, jot down notes ad-creator people, because I probably won't post this twice. And if you really want a chance to sell us your product come up with intelligent and clever ads instead of the ones that make us want to run for the proverbial hills.

This Consumer's List of Worst Contemporary Commercials

Accu-Check Aviva System meters

This commercial is unappealing for two very separate reasons. 1. the woman speaking has a noticeable slur; is she saying "Rodney's kid, too" or "Rodney's skid rue" or "Rod Nee slid too"? Confusing. 2. that rather frightening view of her rear in one portion of the commercial. Unless you're really into lumberjack-type gals, who wants to see that mannish tailgate?. I really dislike this one popping up during dinner time. Heck, my digestion would do better seeing the Hardee's ad with the sexy girl licking hamburger drippings off herself.

Uloric's acid-lugging guy

Another stomach-churner here. This guy lugs around a giant sloshing beaker of what's supposed to be ulric acid, his heavy load making for near-spill incidents wherever he goes. Stupid and distasteful to watch, especially at mealtime. Heck, the commercials for cold sore meds are easier to watch.

The Cialis separate bathtubs ads

Just in case you haven't heard the exciting news, Cialis is used for the treatment of E.D.,aka Erectile Dysfunction, aka male impotence, aka limp johnson syndrome. These particular commercials have been done to death and there appears to be no end in sight. My primary problem with these comes at the familiar end of the commercial when you see the couple in the bathtub, or rather TWO BATHTUBS. Now, maybe its just me but advertising a product that supposed to put a man in the mood by showing a couple taking separate baths is counter-productive. For the love of Aphrodite people, show the couple in the SAME BATHTUB!

Binder & Binder's cowboy hat lawyer ads

First of all, Binder & Binder, most people don't get the image of a heroic cowboy when we hear the word "attorney" (its usually a shark or leech). Now while I understand your boy Charles might feel uncomfortable dressing like a shark or leech the heroic western imagery here just does not work. Try a little realism: show Charles chasing after an ambulance or swimming happily through a swimming pool full of cash. Believe it or not, the truth shall set you free, even if your personal interpretation of freedom means putting the screws to the other guy.

Activia Yogurt's Jamie Lee Curtis ads

I like Jamie Lee, she's a good actress with a personable disposition. But I am also a huge yogurt eater and having tried Activia can say that in my opinion the second-rate product here undermines the quality commercial. In my estimate Jamie Lee is selling out her talents on this product, and if truth be told, if anything gives my tummy a need for comfort it is cruddy-tasting yogurt with a ridiculously high price tag. But hmm...when you think about it, this could actually make a good ad premise for Activia's rivals!

Energy Tomorrow's “Let’s put oil and natural gas resources to work for America” androgynous spokesperson campaign

Ok, if pressed for a guess I'd say this spokesperson is probably female. It has a slightly feminine build and nice cheekbones but the entirely genderless voice tone and drab, drab drab suit does leave me uncertain. I'm offended by this insertion of deliberate uncertainty; don't they think an obvious man or woman could sway the viewers? Or is the idea of oil and natural resources working for America only something gender-uncertain folks are interested in? That premise borders on stereotyping for gender-uncertain folks and I just can't support any campaign that endorses that! Besides, these commercials are excruciatingly boring, which is just as bad a social transgression.

Niaspan's "crisis intervention" commercials

Crisis Interventions are typically delegated for such life-damaging habits as drug use, alcoholism and gambling. But to hear these commercials if you refuse to take that cholesterol-lowering med that helps keep pharmaceuticals the rich fatcats they are then baby, you need a crisis intervention.The stated message of these ads is that the drug MAY help lower your cholesterol. The unspoken message I get is the Niaspan pimps (aka doctors) really need your business and if you are a decent human being who doesn't want to see your over-worked, underprivileged family doctor standing in the Food Stamp line then by golly you will take this darned prescription. Not that it matters if you end up on the Food Stamp line because there's no money left after paying for the Niaspan. Its the welfare of the medical profession that counts, people!

GE’s Ecomagination line dance commercial

This one has all the makings of a bad dream: masses of people being subjected to an ear-offensive C/W tune playing on the radio. Worse, these poor people start line dancing. This line dance stretches over hill and dale, shop to airport, country to city; a never-ending snakish assembly of mindless, line-dancing zombies. They had a similar problem back in Medieval Europe; when the Flagellants would travel from town to town, whipping entire populations into religious frenzies with whips, chains, cat-o-nine-tails and even fire. Unfortunately, the only ones being subjected to sadistic rites here are the unsuspecting viewers and you don't even have to be a member of the converted to feel the pain.

Verizon’s "Susie builds a lemonade empire via Dad's credit card app" ad

There are few things as sad as watching an innocent child transformed into a cold-hearted corporate magnate. This is what happens to Susie once Dad hands her the Verizon. Over the course of a single day Susie evolves from little-girl-next-door into a snappy wretch of a businesswoman who changes her wardrobe with every change of the breeze and turns her friends into virtual slaves to her growing empire. By the end of the commercial sweet innocent Susie is your average smug, suit-wearing Capitalistic pig who has no time for Daddy or even enjoying that lemonade Mom probably made after heating Susie's morning Pop Tart. But this is what Daddy gets for handing Susie the Verizon instead of a kiss and a warning to behave herself. I hope Dad survives reading the credit card bill because Susie looks a little too preoccupied to be bothered with a funeral.

Toyota Highlander's snobby kid

This brat showed up in Highlander's 2010 TV campaign and apparently some genius at Toyota thought he was cool enough to bring back this year. Of course, this decision doesn't surprise me as this is the car company with the infamously reoccurring break system recall problem. Anyway, these commercials are so extremely annoying that they won, hands-down, my choice for #1 Most Worst Commercial last year.

But wait, perhaps I'm being unfair. What's there really to hate about this commercial? It is only a curly-headed freckled-faced boy cruising around in a fancy new Highlander Hybrid, looking down his nose whenever he passes by some other child in a less-expensive vehicle. Never mind that he looks like a dufus strapped into that huge car seat or that his own parents listen to hip-hop; his god-given mission is to remind peers that their lesser affluent parents are lame. Oh yes, this child comes from privilege and wealth and his parents don't drive demeaning affordable vehicles. They don't have to have good taste in music. They don't have worries over the price of gas (though they do have to worry about pesky limo riders asking to borrow their treasured Grey Poupon). But most importantly these parents can afford the hospital bill if and when the Toyota breaks go out and their pricey Highlander plunges into the next lane of traffic.

PC Matic's male-exasperated Mom

She's an attractive, smart Mom, wife and daughter and well-versed in the latest high-speed gadgets and thing-a-ma-jigs. Nevertheless, her personal space is intruded on by the helpless males in her life, most frequently while she's applying make-up, selecting a pair of high heels or attempting a break for the door in the quest to jump into her sports car. Yep, PC Matic woman is not only surrounded by computer-challenged morons but her biological clock is quickly approaching the midnight hour and the fleet leaves the port at ten o'clock sharp. When will the males in her life learn to fend for themselves? But not to despair, dear lady, with your internet savvy you can still hook up with someone new at the any chat room you want. And college boys usually don't even ask for ID in those places!

This video is a parody of one of the PC Matic Mom commercials.

More by this Author


Comments 24 comments

Matt in Jax profile image

Matt in Jax 5 years ago from Jacksonville, FL

I actually like the Cialis and Viagra ads. Pretty humorous.


Farmer Ted profile image

Farmer Ted 5 years ago from US

Good stuff


bethperry profile image

bethperry 5 years ago from Tennesee Author

Thanks for stopping by and reading, Matt and Ted!


Barbara Hansen 5 years ago

I'm really enjoying this blog of yours.....I usually watch the programs I like from my DVR. That way I can fast forward through the commercials.


bethperry profile image

bethperry 5 years ago from Tennesee Author

Thank you Barbara. And that's a good idea :)


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

Hi, I know exactly what you mean! over here in England, they are just as bad! the worse one is for something called 'go compare' it's a car insurance ad, there is this really fat guy dressed like an opera star, with a great big moustache! and he yells GO COMPARE! at the top of his voice! arghhhhh! I could throttle him! ha ha


bethperry profile image

bethperry 5 years ago from Tennesee Author

Nell, what a cruel diss they're doing to opera in that commercial! (Yeah, I love opera)


KateWest profile image

KateWest 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Actually I switched to Activia from Yoplait and can't go back now - the latter now seems way too rich and the former seems to work really well for me. Go figure (get it?) (--;


bethperry profile image

bethperry 5 years ago from Tennesee Author

KateWest, if Activia works for you I say go for it. But I still say, that for me, the price is waaay too much when compared the yummy assortments of the generic brands I can find at my local shop.

Btw, I LOVE Yoplait, lol. We buy them for desserts :)


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether

Beth - this was absolutely hilarious! I voted it up and funny! I have to say, my favorite commercials (which by the way most people would include as some of the worst commercials out there) are the etrade commercials with the talking grown-up babies! I know...pathetic...but he's just too darn cute! "Apparently riding the dog like it's a pony is FROWNED UPON in this establishment!"


bethperry profile image

bethperry 5 years ago from Tennesee Author

Thanks kitty :) Aw man, I adore the etrade baby commercials and especially the one you mentioned!!


epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

...well I must post this to my Facebook page with a direct link back here so more people (hopefully) may discover your fantastic writing style and in particular this classic hub subject which is both enlightening and entertaining .....


ruffridyer 5 years ago from Dayton, ohio

I agree totally the toyota highlander ad sucks. I hate that snotty boy. When I was his age I had no say in what car my parents bought. I told my son I would drive that kid straight to the barber shop and get him a butch. I also hate the ad where the boy runs home followed by bullies. He jumps into the back of his moms car and then his mom, not knowing her son just escaped a beating, drives off while the idiot kid tauts the bullies. I figure the bullies will just beat him more severly the next day.


Mark Ellis 5 years ago

I agree with most of this, but you're wrong about the PC matic babe. She is a paragon of foxy, suburban hotness, a glorious, gorgeous woman who has it all going on. Men may not want to admit it, but most would seriously covet a wide-eyed, pretty-mouthed, symmetrical beauty like her.

I await her graduation from commercials and onto the television screen


mcrawford76 profile image

mcrawford76 5 years ago from Greeley, Colorado

That was a hoot. One of my local favorites is Edgar Stanley (lawyer). His ads are just so cheaply made, and he's such a terrible actor that it's very comical.

Nice hub, voted up and funny.


Jim Hanson 5 years ago

How many times do they say "PCMATIC" like 100?


TomR 5 years ago

PC Matic is the WORST commercial, but the Toyota kid and Susie are a close second. I'm so happy I'm not alone!


mike 5 years ago

pc matic... pc matic... pc matic pc matic have i introduced u to pcmatic? he works for pc matic... my pc matic hurts im gunna have to get my pc matic checked at the pc matic doctor..... pc matic


Jim 5 years ago

The best thing about the PCmatic commercial is that the

knuckle head doesn't even know his own car (shared car that the wife is using for 'girl's night out') has a license plate that says 'pcmatic'.


John Palmer 4 years ago

Your "limp johnson" characterization made me laugh out loud. I don't mean to inject a critique, ( actually I do)You started out right with the stupid niaspan commercial , but don't blame the doctors for this. Doctor's don't make anything specifically by suggesting this over that, it's the drug companies being reccomended that do. Oh, and when switching from regular niacin to niaspan you run the risk of fulminant liver failure, which can result in death without a liver transplant.


john 4 years ago

oh..two additional comments:

The pc matic lady is hot.

Have you seen the clorox commercials where the kid , who looks to be 6-7 years old takes a dump in his pants because his dad is ignoring his requests to take him to a bathroom, I guess.

Jeeez, talk about anger/control issues.


ann 4 years ago

The pc matic commercial that's on these days with the dad and the young girl make me crazy. Besides being very annoying with dopey bad actors, it's on all the time and I mean all the time!! Annoying me like that just turns me away from a product.


dwachira profile image

dwachira 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

Some commercials can be funny and questionable, i enjoyed reading this. voted up and shared.


Tusitala Tom profile image

Tusitala Tom 2 years ago from Sydney, Australia

Advertising on what are called the 'free to air' channels here in Australia has got so bad that films that two-hour films go for three hours, 33% being ads either for products or the TV station itself advertising itself or what it's going to put on in the future.

Thank God for the 'mute button.' It's the only thing they haven't been able to tamper with.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working