Today is Friday the Thirteenth, but also the day before Valentine’s Day—an odd coupling of holidays, for sure. And while some people may just be unlucky in love, they deserve a special day as much as anybody else. So we decided to send some love to the unluckiest ads and campaigns we’ve seen so far this year.
What makes an ad unlucky? Typically, they’re the ones that are neither utterly stellar nor completely cringe-worthy—they fall somewhere in the uncomfortable middle. They’re built on solid foundations, but for one reason or another, they ultimately flop. So here’s to those unlucky ads: You’re not really our type, but we’ve learned a lot from knowing you.
Nationwide's "Make Safe Happen"
Dear Nationwide Dead Kid Ad,
Imagine if that Sarah McLachlan “adopt a pet” commercial was a person. It’s working for a good cause, and you’ve got to respect that. But would you want to drink beer and eat wings with that person? Would you want to cheer about football with that person? Probably not. They would probably just kind of bum you out with statistics about puppy shelters and play “ Angel” through the Bluetooth speakers.
Now imagine how you’d feel if that person started talking about dead kids. That's you.
Listen—we know that you meant well. And under different circumstances, who knows? This might even have worked out. But did you really need to be such a bummer during our Super Bowl party? Cheer up, though. There are plenty of appropriate audiences who would love to share your message in big, meaningful ways. Just not during one of the biggest sports days of the year.
Coke's "#MakeItHappy" Twitter Campaign
All right, Coke—so you were tricked into tweeting quotes from Hitler’s autobiography/totalitarian manifesto. I'd love to say “we've all been there,’ but that's simply not the case. Not to rub it in, but you kind of walked into that one. I mean, who in 2015 is so trusting—so naïve to the dark realities of the social web—that they’d curate user-generated content without reviewing it first? Did you not see what happened to the Patriots? It’s one thing to have a hashtag hijacked, but you actually rebroadcasted the malicious takeover. That’s next-level regrettable. And worse still—you turned a quote from a genocidal maniac into a sloth in a recliner chair. Sorry, #MakeItHappy You seem like a nice enough campaign, but we want ideas that think for themselves. This isn’t going to work out.
GoDaddy's Budweiser Puppy Spoof
Dear GoDaddy Puppy Ad,
You’re funny, you’re clever, you’re culturally relevant—we don’t care about the complaints levied by PETA, but we take serious issue with your timing. Just imagine: It’s a commercial break during the big game, the entire world has seen the Budweiser puppy make its perilous journey home at least a dozen times, your ad comes on, and eyes start to roll. “Here we go again,” says everyone in exasperation. But wait—there’s a twist. This isn’t the ad we thought it was. This ad has humor, and wit. Hilarity ensues! GoDaddy wins with an ad that doesn’t include a single scantily-clad woman! Rejoice!
But instead, you blurted out the punch line like some over-eager amateur. They say timing is everything in comedy, and you didn’t just come in a little early. You jumped the gun by an entire week.
Wait, is that a ring in your pocket? Slow down, buddy. We just met.