Tag Archives: bad marketing

Bad Marketing – House of Fraser Would Like You to Fall Asleep This Christmas

After last week’s extremely cheesy and sad commercial from Iceland (an ad that could have been screened in July) we have another contender with House of Fraser. To those who know House of Fraser, they have significantly different target markets. House of Fraser is a London-based department store that was created in 1849 by Hugh Fraser and James Arthur in Glasgow, Scotland.

You might know one of it’s competitors: London-based department stores, Harrods. The interesting fact is that, in 1959, House of Fraser bought Harrods. Mohamed Al-Fayed bought House of Fraser in 1985 and separated the two companies in 1994 by putting House of Fraser on the stock exchange and keeping Harrods under his ownership.

House of Fraser has always been quite a big name in the retail industry in the UK. With almost 60 stores, it makes more than one £billion in revenue each year. Earlier this decade, they had one of the fastest growing websites in the UK with comprising of 11% of the group’s sales. Upon hearing that, you might think that their Christmas campaign could be as big and beautiful as last year’s John Lewis one…

Well, it is not. Not even close.

This commercial features 3 young models, 2 young women and a young man that are asked some random questions about Christmas, such as “Best gift you ever received?”, “Hardeest present to shop for?” or “What do you give to a person who has everything?” Probably every question we are constantly being asked. Then, the music kicks in and you see the models in action, posing and so on. Oh, are you bored? So am I!

A bit after, you see the the male model with his grandmother, explaining that he chose to give her a gift, while the 2 girls chose to give gifts to their significant others. You can therefore appreciate their reaction while the tagline “Be You No Matter Who This Christmas” appears.


What can I say apart the fact that it is a terrible commercial? I truly can’t believe how uninspired and uncreative you have to be to make this. It makes you yawn like it was almost midnight on the 24th… Maybe you should put this ad on repeat to help your kids fall asleep on Christmas Eve?!

I really don’t get the point of showing models giving gifts to their loved ones. Don’t we already know that they are people who have a life, human interactions and feelings? We know that these people aren’t just a picture. You don’t need to feature them in a commercial to make us feel close to them.

For such a company, it is a pity that they could make such a thing and this is why it features on today’s Bad Marketing.

For Iceland Foods Christmas isn’t that special

Good morning December! You’ve finally arrived. We can finally admire your Christmas commercials without feeling too awkward. You never let us down, with your gorgeous and poetic advertisements. But we’re also really amused at the terrible ones!

On today’s Bad Marketing post, we will see a commercial that comes from the other side of the Atlantic, where Her Majesty rules the Kingdom. The United Kingdom has given us a treat with this commercial from Iceland, a food-retailer business specializing in frozen food.

This Christmas commercial features Peter Andre, a British singer, presenter and TV personality. Although I’m not a good judge in this instance, by the reactions of the ladies in this commercial, he must be quite famous and attractive!

The ad starts with an elderly couple doing their groceries at Iceland, when the woman notices Peter Andre. Her husband says that “it isn’t” him, but the woman is quite sure! So Andre takes notice and replies “it is!”

Here’s the joke – he’s not talking about himself. He’s talking about the cake in his hands – the “winter berry glistening gateau” – which he’s thrilled to find at £4 (about $7). “It is!” refers to a festive Christmas cake.

As Andre is ogled and hit on by various ladies at the Iceland grocery store, he can only focus on the Christmas cakes, their deliciousness and their excellent prices. The tagline “That’s why Peter goes to Iceland” ends the commercial and serves as a reminder that cheap products doesn’t mean cheap quality and aren’t only reserved for low-income families.

Where this commercial fails is on the way the message is sent. It’s not just a Christmas commercial. This ad could play at any time of the year, all you’d have to do is remove the garland and Christmas packaging. The cheapness of the products is not so much of a problem. But focusing on it for a Christmas commercial is a bit too déjà-vu as you can see the same kind of commercial during the rest of the year.

You can’t continue your campaign just by hinting that the products are for Christmas. This is a terrible idea. Your daily consumer already knows who you are and your prospects won’t be more attracted to your store than before. It is the same kind of ad they saw the rest of the year, and if they didn’t become one of your customers, chances are that this one won’t help either. As a result, this is why it’s featured in our Bad Marketing blog post!

#Badmarketing – How a Commercial Can Backfire in No Time

Alright players, gather round, Sony PlayStation has a commercial for us. Well, they already removed it from their YouTube Channel, but this is the internet. Once it’s online, it’s hard to take away!

With the launch of the new Xperia Z3 phones, Sony introduced a quite interesting feature to its PS4 and PS Vita: The Remote Play. Now you can keep playing a game from your PS4 on your smartphone and your PS Vita screen. No more limits – you can play anywhere.

To introduce this impressive feature, Sony decided that they should play on the word “play”. They employed TBWA (Brussels) to make the commercial, which is the same agency, but from Paris, that did this controversial poster from 2012:PS VitaWhat could possibly go wrong, right? Well pretty much everything.

The ad starts with an attractive female doctor that knows “you’ve already done it today, and [she] bet[s] you really enjoyed yourself”. Hum… is she referring to the glass of water I had earlier? Then she’s mentioning that you might be doing it “in your bedroom, under the blanket” or perhaps you prefer “the kitchen or on the toilet”. I guess not. She might be thinking about a more playful thing that men do: masturbating.

Then sensual music starts to play as she says, “You no longer have to feel ashamed” since “everybody is doing it because it’s fantastic”. To increase the power of the subliminal message, you have a close-up shot on her lips as she says, “you can do it all day long”. She ends the commercial by inviting you to join her while grabbing her PS Vita and starts to play. Then the double entendre is revealed, “PS Vita Remote Play Never Stop Playing” appears, explaining the point of those 40 seconds of awkwardness.

The traditional ending titles for PS4 “This is for the players” makes you realize something even stranger than the iMac G4 sitting on the doctor’s desk. Why would you use such a cliché to promote a feature to your players. Is every player a sexually frustrated 15-year-old boy, like the stereotype assumes? They reinforce a stupid cliché that people love to spread: a gamer is a teen male that has issues.

Sony’s hardcore gamers are 20 to 35 years old, and there are more women playing than most people imagine. According to the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the average age of a gamer is 31 years old! About 32% of the players are between 18 and 35. And women account for 48% of gamers! Of course, these numbers can be biased by the fact that the smartphone made video games much more easier to access than before but still! If you look at these facts, it flies in the face of most common clichés that have been used for years by the “video games = violence” club.

I know that the commercial could still make you laugh for some random reasons, but let’s be honest, this cliché is not helping the video game industry! I guess this is why Playstation decided to remove the video only a few days after a lot of bad reviews and comments on their Youtube Channel.

A great decision that would have been greater if they didn’t think to make this commercial in the first place. This is why, it features on today’s #BadMarketing.

Peugeot brings back the GTi spirit on its 208. Special effects included.

Since we love to bring more knowledge to our readers, we’ll start by telling you that Peugeot is based in Sochaux, almost 5 hours east of Paris which is a part of the PSA group with the other French based car manufacturer Citroën. Neither of them are widely known in North America except for some of you who have been in France or have been following the World Rally Championship (WRC) or the 24 hours of Le Mans.

One of its biggest success was the hot hatchback 205 that was launched in 1983 while Peugeot was in bad financial shape. During its 15 years of production, 5.3 million cars have been sold within Europe. It has been the second biggest commercial success of Peugeot, and came at the best time to help them live another day.

A year later, they released the GTi version. This hot and racy version has been a fantastic car that allowed Peugeot to win a WRC that same year. It’s quite a success story for the Lion brand which has led to an epic commercial in 1987. Gérard Pires was the director of the ad named “The Bomber”. It features a James Bond look-alike who’s telling us that he kept its latest weapon: the 205 GTi which he used to race against a… bomber! Yes, you read it correctly, and it happened without any special effects. If you watch it carefully, you’ll even see that the bomber “hit” the car’s roof at 0:28 and manage to break the antenna.

The car was a hit, and the ad is still a classic in Europe. So when Peugeot announced a 30th Anniversary car to celebrate the 205 GTi, there were great expectations surrounding the car and the commercial.

As we are not Top Gear, we won’t review the 208 GTi 30th Anniversary, but we will have a look at its commercial named “The Legend Returns”. Released a couple weeks ago by the Paris based BETC Agency, they decided to pay a tribute to its legacy by starting out with the original footage. When you see the bomber getting closer to the 205, a more powerful and modern 208 drifts onto the ice. But wait. Is it me, or are the special effects not so great?

You don’t need more than 15 seconds to figure that it is quite bad. Remember, in the 1987, they didn’t use FX, but in this one, they used enough for a year. After the ice gets smashed by missiles, the car manages to escape the bomber, and fake-slides in the snow. Why didn’t they even use a real car and a real driver? But, the silliness reaches a new level when the 208 is being chased by a Eurocopter Tiger… Whoa. To defeat it, the talentless actor had to loop over it so the Tiger pilot gets stuck in the lift cables. The ad ends like its older brother with a woman styled like the original actress tells the actor “You made me wait” to her man.

It is with regret that I saw the 1987 ad being remastered for the worst. Too much poor special effects, craziness, and silliness. I would expect something better than that to celebrate a car industry icon. If you want to do something as bold, crazy and epic as the old one but with today’s technology, at least make it looks good. If they wanted to have a bomber, a chopper and billions of explosions, maybe they should have asked Michael Bay to direct it!

We can just hope for Peugeot that the 208 GTi isn’t as cheap and synthetic as this ad…

#BadMarketing: Why we hate the new “Related” video by GoDaddy.com

Last week, GoDaddy launched a couple of new commercials. These new videos, titled “Stick It” and “Related”, were created by New York creative agency Barton F. Graf 9000. As you may know, GoDaddy is always trying to be funny and offbeat. Their previous commercials have featured geeks, attractive women (Israeli top-model Bar Rafaeli was one of them) and even Jean-Claude Van Damme. So it’s clear that GoDaddy likes to make memorable commercials.

In the first commercial, Stick It, the newly signed agency created testimonial-style advertisements with a twist. It starts out where a woman tells us about how she bought a domain and built her website – all with GoDaddy.com. She’s so happy to have built her website by herself that she tells anyone who didn’t believe in her to stick it. Husband, teacher, neighbour, grandmother and even a passed relative, everyone has to stick it! Easy, not too risky, but funny.

Let’s focus now our thought on the commercial named “Related” which has something even more particular for us.

We start like the other video: A redheaded businesswoman shows us how easy it is to build a website through GoDaddy.com. Thanks to these tools, she “look[s] so professional” and she finally gets her “first customer who isn’t related to [her]”.

The awkward part starts here. Her victory dance consists of sexual moves like pumping the air with her arms and humping her pelvis forward. As if that wasn’t awkward enough for her customer (and us), you can also see that everyone from her (entirely redheaded) family is just as happy as they are all making the same move.

We agree with Barb Rechterman, GoDaddy Chief Marketing Officer, when she says that “[her] brand has always been edgy”, but why on earth would you make such an unclassy commercial like this one? The name of the video, the family and the vulgar move sounds like a bad joke where the family seems to be even more related that they should be (i.e. consanguinity).

Whether you like it or not, they succeed. People are talking about it, and they will definitely remember it. But I don’t think this will help GoDaddy. Where the “Stick It” commercial is based on one’s feeling of accomplishment, this one is based on nothing. Who makes such a move when they’re happy? Drunk frat boys are the only ones I can think of, so would a businesswoman would do that in front of her customer? Wasn’t it easier to just jump on the counter and have her family burst in with balloons and confetti?

It is bold, but also silly. People will remember it but not for good reasons. That’s why it belongs in the #BadMarketing category!

What Does Easter Have To Do With It?

Once upon a time, according to Christianity, Jesus was reincarnated. And what does that mean for us now?


More specifically: chocolate eggs handed out by grown-ass men in rabbit costumes. Or at least it used to be that way, until the Mass Commercialization of Easter (MCoE) happened. Now we must buy almost as many presents for kids as we do during Christmas, and there must be a chocolate version of everything. Case in point:

Rabbits love carrots, so we must feed them chocolate carrots?
chocolate-carrotsRabbits also apparently don’t hop fast enough, so they must ride vehicles?


Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head are now a part of the Witness Protection Program as Mr. & Mrs. Egg Head. Just in time for Easter!

mr-mrs-potato-headThere’s also a hedgehog involved in Easter? This is news to me.

spike the hedgehog

In a galaxy far, far away, there are also Storm Trooper Easter bunnies

star wars easterOne could argue that “everything is awesome” when you have Lego in your Easter basket:

legoeasterAnd the pièce de resistance: for all the terrible vegans in your life

easter-avocadoSo what’s the weirdest Easter chocolate you’ve seen? Send us pics!