People are too easily offended these days, or so we're told. So in this atmosphere of political correctness, you'd think brands would be obsessive about not, say, including accidental references to Nazis or child rape in their festive product labels. You'd be wrong.
#8. Bud Light Attempts To Remove "No" From Your Vocabulary, If You Catch Our Drift
Bottling the diluted menstrual pee of humiliated Clydesdales and turning it into America's best-selling beer is no paltry accomplishment, but that doesn't mean Bud Light can rest on its laurels as it sits the Shitty Lager Throne. That's why Anheuser-Busch dreamed up their #UpForWhatever campaign: In a bid to stay relevant with their "slip some creepy old dude a 10-spot to grab you a sixer at the 7-Eleven" demographic, they wrapped their Bud Light bottles in slogans worthy of being tagged all over the Twitter hashes, or whatever the hell it is kids do nowadays.
It went swimmingly for nearly two years, right up until some marketing prodigy dreamed up this little doozy:
"The perfect beer for removing 'no' from your vocabulary for the night." Yeah. What the creative minds at Anheuser-Busch swore was a harmless reference to the fact that their product could lighten inhibitions and result in maybe, we don't know, some harmless BASE jumping or something (DISCLAIMER: DO NOT BASE JUMP WHILE DRUNK), came off to the entirety of the brain-having world as a fervent endorsement of alcohol-assisted rape.
Twitter immediately lit up with a more appropriate hashtag -- #NoMeansNo -- Anheuser-Busch issued an official apology, and the production lines cranking out the offending labels went down quicker than a Bud Light fan after trying his first big boy beer.
And speaking of creepily sexual marketing choices ...
#7. Woolworths Names Their Line Of Girls' Beds After A Novel About Sex With An Underage Girl
You probably know Woolworths as the store that banished George Clooney in O Brother, Where Art Thou? (though from all of them or just the one is still unclear). You probably know Lolita as the controversial novel about the entirely too whimsically named Humbert Humbert having boatloads of sex with his 12-year-old stepdaughter.
Put the two together, and you end up with the particleboard pile of awkwardness that is the Lolita Midsleeper Combi:
There is no conceivable caption here that doesn't result in us going straight to hell.
Once you've had a chance to get over the initial shock (that Woolworths still exists), we should give the chain credit where credit is due: As soon as a parenting website raised a kerfuffle about the exceptionally repulsive taste of the product's branding, Woolworths removed it from their shelves and promised to find out what in the exact fuck the supplier had been smoking while naming it.
And now that we've given them some credit, let's yank it straight out from under them: In their official response, Woolworths claimed that absolutely no one at the company was aware of the statutory-rapey connotation of "Lolita," and in fact none of them had ever heard of the book (or either of the two movies based on it). Somebody slept through English class.
You'd think you'd remember a school book cover that is practically child porn.
Hey, speaking of English class ...
#6. Anti-Drug Campaign Pencils Promote A Very Pro-Drug Message (With Use)
Bureau for At-Risk Youth
Assuming you went to public school at any point since Ronald and Nancy Reagan combined into an illicit-substance-slaying Voltron in the 1980s, you probably remember having the "say no to drugs" message clobbered into your delicate cranium. Possibly the only good thing about such demonstrations was the free anti-drug paraphernalia used to peddle the message, and for one fourth-grade class in Ticonderoga, New York, it was no different. They got free pencils!
You've probably seen them pop up in your Facebook feed and assumed they were Photoshopped:
Bureau for At-Risk Youth
With every crank, the kid became more addicted to the devil weed.
Somehow, not a single adult at the Bureau for At-Risk Youth realized that their anti-drug pencils became far less anti as they were sharpened -- it took a 10-year-old student to point that out. The organization immediately reprinted the pencils in the opposite direction, thereby driving countless fourth-graders incurably mad when their secondhand pencils read "Too Cool To." Too cool to what? TOO COOL TO WHAT?!
#5. Nike "Gold Digging" Shirt Honors Female Olympians (By Implying They Have Sex For Money)
At the 2012 Olympics in London, the U.S. women were picking up so much gold that it looked as if they'd need to charter a friggin' cruise liner to lug it all home. This was the perfect opportunity for Nike, practically the face of athletic success, to capitalize on the situation by selling a T-shirt for women to wear as they celebrated said athletic success while wrapped in the lazy arms of their La-Z-Boys.
In a move that is written in bold, red Sharpie at the tippy top of every sane marketing executive's "DO NOT DO" list, Nike inexplicably decided to channel their inner Kanye West:
"Now, we ain't sayin' she a gold digger.
(We're branding it on her chest in stylish gold foil.)"
That's right: Nike commemorated the monumental achievement of some of history's most skilled athletes by trying to sell women shirts announcing to the world that they're fucking people for money. Nike tried to pass the stunt off by saying they were just being ironic, a phrase that Alanis Morissette might define as "trying to capitalize on their relationship with Kanye to help move his stupid Air Yeezy sneakers."
Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Who would have thought? It figures.