Agency: Fallon London
campaignlive.co.uk, Tuesday, 16 December 2003 12:00AM
(Eagle-eyed readers will notice that there are 12 entries in this list, testament to a pressured year). Oh how we cringed at easyJet's "discover weapons of mass distraction" poster, plastered around London: "EasyJet is shameless when it comes to cheap publicity stunts. With the blatant 'management trainee' steal from The Economist and its attempted hijacking of the David Beckham transfer saga, it tried to make a virtue of treading a dangerous legal line. But this is just crude and distasteful, making the brand look cheap and not just in money terms."
2. Nissan Micra
We're still extremely irritated by TBWA\G1's Nissan Micra executions, which haunted us several times across the year. Spafe? Simpology? Shollocks, more like. The idea of splicing words together is excruciating and shows astonishing immaturity. It's amazing the agency had the brass neck to present it and you can only despair of the client who signed it off.
Ouch. Red Cell's spot for Clinomyn is painful in a way the client probably never intended: did somebody's child come up with this? Get a lady to dress up as a tooth, get chatted up by a curry and rescued by a tube of toothpaste. Our skin crawled for the poor actors.
4. Ford Fiesta
Another eye-wateringly bad ad, this spot for Ford's Fiesta by Ogilvy & Mather London: "Talk about unrealistic - a guy bunks off work by drawing lipstick spots on his face, a female colleague accompanies him to the doctor and a friend bizarrely jumps out of a bush to join them for a spin in the car. With the strapline 'Get out more', they really do need to heed their own advice."
We were none too impressed with McCann-Erickson's new ads for Johnson & Johnson Acuvue: "Some people get rather excited about contact lenses. As false and unrealistic a commercial as you're likely to see. May well achieve standout by means of being one of the most irritating ads on TV."
Our delicate wee noses were put firmly out of joint by FCB France's TV commercial for SC Johnson's Glade air freshener: "This spot reminded us of one of those ridiculous badly dubbed foreign movies. Clearly, it was made for an Asian market and 'tailored' for air in the UK. Spots like this are a perfect example of how not to talk to your global audience."
7. Capital One
Another stinker: the Capital One ad, originally created by D'Arcy and Kaplan Thaler: "This is pantomime stuff. Losing your credit card to mermaids who then go out and buy hairdryers and shoes - what on Earth is all that about? The ad drifted too far into the realms of distractingly naff fantasy to deliver its message properly."
You know how too much chocolate makes you sick? Well, we were nauseated by Grey London's work for Galaxy without even taking a bite: "After Yorkie managed the theme of female chocaholic with such wit, along comes this campaign which is stuck in the dark ages. 'Of course you can go to the pub,' purrs one lady, stroking her mammoth erect Galaxy. Isn't it about time this feeble 'chocolate as sex' strategy was pensioned off?"
9. Renault Megane
We were absolutely dumbfounded by Publicis' execution for the Renault Megane: "This commercial has possibly the most contrived USP we have come across in a long, long time. What does this car have to do with these grinding arses? We're still not sure. Then again, the fact that 99 per cent of the arses belong to women might well hold the key to the ad."
10. Carte Noire
Talking of turn-offs, how about the BETC Euro RSCG (Paris) spot for Carte Noire? "Ugh. Plying David Ginola with tons of make-up and then airbrushing the hell out of his image is no way to sell coffee. Where's the strategy? Showing female consumers a bit of French totty is not going to make them buy coffee. Let's hope the coffee's got more depth than the thinking behind this execution."
M&C Saatchi's work for Currys wins the award for most irritating use of Linda Barker (and competition in this category was very stiff this year): "Linda Barker may well be one of TV's women of the moment, but getting her to wander around a Currys store is hardly an inspired strategy. And nothing prepares you for the dreadful jingle at the end."
You didn't have to be premenstrual to find Leo Burnett's ad for Always about as painful as stomach cramp: "The tagline about Always speaking your body's language suggests that Procter & Gamble is hugely knowledgeable about women during their time of the month. But when this is interpreted as a girl falling all over the place in a train carriage and giggling her head off, you wonder what kind of language they're on about."
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk