BNET's Worst Ads of 2008

Last Updated Dec 22, 2008 4:13 PM EST

It was a banner year for truly awful advertising. Here's BNET's Worst Ads of 2008:

Extended Stay Hotels "farting" ad Extended Stay wanted viewers to know that you'd feel so comfortable at their place you'd feel free to break wind any time you wanted. So they produced an ad showing just that. Advice: Never associate your brand with farting!

Salesgenie's racially dubious "Ramesh" ad "I have seven kids!" pleads "Ramesh," the brown-skinned salesman with the Peter Sellers-style "dib-dib-dub-dub" Indian accent, as his white boss threatens to fire him for not making enough sales. Only one thing missing, and that's Ramesh saying "Thank you, come again!" at the end. Advice: Never associate your brand with racism!

Gillette's Thierry "Who?" Henry ad Do Americans know who Thierry Henry is? Of course not. FYI: He's a world-famous French soccer player. So why, in the one country not known for its love of the beautiful game, is he starring in this ad for Gillette razors? Was it wise to show him in an Arsenal shirt when he long ago made the move to Barcelona? Is the fact that he was footballer of the year in 2003 really relevant five years later? And we haven't even got to the pitch yet -- Gillette wants you to believe that changing your razor blades is "historic."

Any ad for You've seen them: "I made $5,000 working from home!" "I quit my job!" "Just last month, I made $12,000!" They're on all the time, and they feature the same rotating cast of ordinary-looking folk standing in front of ugly McMansions, midlife-crisis sportscars, and gauche swimming pools. The ads never say how you're supposed to make the money. The consensus is that it's a scam.

hw.jpg Optimum Online's 877 393 4448 ad It's targeted at Hispanics but offers phone service to Canada. It features pirates and mermaids. It's half in Spanish and half in English. And there's a bunch of ludicrously suggestive hip-thrusting during the dance sections. None of it makes any sense whatsoever -- but, after watching it, you will never be able to get the stupid phone number out of your head. One YouTube viewer had this to say: "I was in the hospital when this commercial originally aired .. and i think that, because it's so bad, it actually elongated my recovery time."

E*Trade's puking baby ad "You just saw me buy stock! No big deal! If I can do it, you can do it! Bleargh!" Advice: Never associate your brand with vomit!

SoBe's dancing lizards campaign Like Optimum Online, this is another ad that makes no sense. Why are there lizards in this ad (there are none shown on the label)? Why are they dancing? What does Naomi Campbell have to do with this drink? Why are they dancing? To Michael Jackson's "Thriller?" Advice: Never associate your brand with a child abuser!

The President Obama commemorative plate BNET readers are already laughing over this one: A cheesy plate celebrating the "kind eyes" of our new president. One of a series of awful Obama-mobilia ads, including a bunch of coins, a beer-can cooler and a rug.

The Jerry Seinfeld Microsoft ads This is the commercial in which Seinfeld asks Bill Gates to give him a signal as to Microsoft's new direction by adjusting his shorts. And Gates does so. Advice: Never associate your brand with someone's butt (unless you're advertising jeans and "someone" is Brooke Shields).

Toyota: Saved by zero No description required. Everyone hates it. Most critics have focused on the vapid re-use of a forgotten '80s song. But I despise the animated zero bowing and twitching to each new auto as they zoom by. It's just laziness.

Bowflex: size matters! Three gym rats, sporting the sunken eyes and tight skin that are the symptoms of HGH abuse, tell you that "size matters" and "I get the size I want here because they made it a size smaller there." All three of them seem to be covered in gravy browning. And the ad never goes off the air. (Warning, this link leads to a spoof of the ad; actual ad can't be found online.)

Shaq for VitaminWater Stunt advertising at its worst. Shaquille O'Neal is very, very big, and jockeys are very, very small, so wouldn't it be funny if Shaq was in a horse race? A boy watching the race picks his nose. Advice: Never associate your brand with boogers!

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