most irritating commercials of 2008

Here are the top 20 commercials that irritated the public most in the past year:

after the success of tourettes machine i’ve linked the bellow Ad’s to they’re remix/piss take versions for more flavor… enjoy what the public do with the shite that some agencies fart out over the airwaves…that then gets remixed into total gems, click on dear readers click on…

1 InjuryLawyers4U: The Gate Films

2 Iceland: Tom Reddy Agency

3 Halifax: DLKW

3 In-house

5 Phones4U: WCRS

6 Picture the Loan: Watson Phillips Norman

7 Churchill: WCRS

8 Oatibix: WCRS

9 DFS: Gratterpalm

10 Polaris World: In-house

11 Vauxhall Corsa: DLKW

12 Specsavers: In-house

13 COI: HM Revenue & Customs: M&C Saatchi

14 Holland & Barrett: WCRS

15 Orange: Fallon

16 Dolmio: Proximity

16 Marks & Spencer: RKCR/Y&R

18 Olay Regenerist: Saatchi & Saatchi

19 Clairol Herbal Essences: Atelier

20 Pizza/Pasta Hut: AMV/BBDO

Ask any marketer what they think about appearing on the list over the years and the chances are that they will say they are ‘honoured’. A brand’s presence in our table proves it has stuck in consumers’ minds. To be irritating is to be memorable and thus effective, so it can be argued that the fact that these ads have caused irrational rage among consumers is beside the point.

Do brands really set out to irritate consumers, and is this a brand strategy that is sustainable in the long-term? According to Richard Holmes, marketing director of Specsavers, the answer is yes. ‘As Oscar Wilde said, there is only one thing worse than being talked about, and that’s not being talked about,’ he argues.

However Elliot Moss, managing director of Leagas Delaney, says that good advertising should not be about who can shout the loudest; instead, it should be about creating a meaningful conversation with consumers. ‘Crap advertising does not have to exist, but the fact is that most advertising is crap,’ he adds.

Pointing to the now-defunct ‘Daz doorstep challenge’ ad, Moss claims that ultimately, if an ad becomes too irritating, consumers will simply vote with their wallets and stop buying the product in question. ‘People want to be entertained,’ he says, adding that irritating advertising is often lazy advertising.

There are several direct-response ads in the table, notably InjuryLawyers4U, which retains the top spot, while price-comparison site and insurance brand Churchill also make the top 10. Chris Watney, head of brand at Churchill, is unfazed. ‘Churchill is one of the most well-known insurance brands. We know that [dog character Churchill] has a lot of fans out there and the ad has performed really well,’ he says.

Churchill’s agency, WCRS, also has the somewhat dubious honour of having created the highest number of ads in the table. It has produced arguably the most grating spot of the past year for Weetabix’s Oatibix, as well as a series of eccentric executions for Phones4U, and introduced us to the weird and cringeworthy ‘odd couple’ of health-food shopkeepers, Mr Holland and Mr Barrett.

In the age of social networking and mass-blogging, many of the ads that appear on our list have also attracted widespread derision and outpourings of anger from consumers online. One particularly unpopular entry in the list is the Specsavers campaign, created in-house, featuring legendary French singer Edith Piaf belting out her most famous song, Non, je ne Regrette Rien, with the subtitle giving a cod-translation of the lyrics suggesting that the chanteuse did in fact have one regret – not having bought her glasses at Specsavers.

The campaign attracted the wrath of consumers online. One incensed blogger wrote: ‘Specsavers’ hijacking of the song and the woman to offload a couple of pairs of glasses is, in my opinion, beyond reprehensible. Aside from the fact that it takes the personal, emotional core of the song and castrates it for the sake of corporate “humour”, did any of the firm’s copywriters do any research on the woman whatsoever? If they had, they would have known that from the ages of three to seven, Piaf was blind as a result of the disease keratitis. That’s right, Specsavers have tastefully chosen to parody a dead alcoholic who had no sight as a child.’

As ever, there remains something of a gulf between what the public and the marketing community deem a ‘great’ ad. Orange’s ‘I Am’ campaign ranked as the 15th most irritating ad, while Cadbury’s ‘Trucks/Gorilla’ mash up came 24th.

Consumers also showed signs of ‘food-porn’ fatigue, voting Marks & Spencer’s ‘M&S Food’ ad the 16th most annoying of the year – a ranking it shared with pasta sauce brand Dolmio, whose puppet ads continue to give grown men nightmares. The public also proved that they are not duped by ill-thought-out marketing ploys; the Pizza Hut/Pasta Hut ‘rebrand’ came in at number 19.

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