5 'Inspirational' Ads With Secretly Horrible Messages

Aside from porn and kittens, the thing we love most about the Internet is its ability to make us cry hysterically. Whether we're cruising TV Tropes' database of tackily written pseudo-heartwarming bullshit, scrolling through the last day of an adorable dog's life on Imgur, or sucking down the violently intellectually poisonous horseshit that Upworthy publishes, there's a perverse pleasure to be had by crying at the beauty of the world and then feeling better about ourselves because of it.

The problem is that the gremlins who work in marketing know this, and they've hidden some really terrible messages in their so-called "inspiring" commercials. For example, did you ever notice that ...

#5. Canon Endorses Stalking

I'm just going to be preemptive here and admit that there are a shitload of Thai ads in this article. I dunno if this is because Thailand is fucking crazy, or because I'm racist, or some weird combination of the two. Also, is there a real difference between "Thailand" and "Taiwan," or are they secretly the same, like elk and deer? Ya know what? I'm gonna stop talking about race and just get to the ad.

In it we meet a charmingly awkward young photographer who develops a crush on a girl after he accidentally snaps her picture while he's chasing bubbles. They flirt, their relationship grows, and at the end they fuck in his dorm room.

The Problem

What I just described is the story the ad thinks it's telling. You can tell by the music. The real story of this ad, intended or not, is that of a burgeoning serial killer popping his murder-cherry. All that "flirting" I talked about? A more accurate word would be: "he follows her everywhere without her knowledge and discreetly snaps photos," but that's not a word, so I'm just going to say "stalking."




"Yeah, let's market to THIS guy!"

But it's cute, see, because after he snaps all those pictures and makes a crazy-wall of her face, he invites her over to his murder-closet. Those words describe a cute thing.

This is less an ad and more a warning to anyone who plans on dating the director in the future. Wait, no, you won't even have to date him. You won't even know he's into you. You'll just get an invitation, and when you arrive at the address scrawled on the inside of the envelope, he'll emerge from the shadows and ... well, we can't actually know for sure, but it most likely ends with him wearing your skin as a suit.

Buy Canon.

#4. Porsche Is Trying to Ruin Childhoods

Children are adorable. Bam: got your attention. Now check out this little shit:

Scientifically speaking, you're already riding high off his childlike wonder, because our scientists long ago discovered how to project concentrated adorableness through computer monitors. It just so happens that the little dude is captivated by a nearby Porsche 911. After school, he rides his bike over to the dealership, and the guy who runs the dealership even lets him sit in the driver's seat. Even though it seems like this is about to cut to the kid sobbing in the ER and become a PSA about sexual predators, it takes a far darker turn: as he leaves, he smiles and tells the guy who let him in that he'll "see him in 20 years."

Ha! Joke's on you, kid! That guy will surely have been promoted to a better job or killed himself by then, and you'll be living in an entirely different town. The stupid little shit has no concept of how much can change in two decades. But that's not the real problem here.

The Real Problem Here

The monologue at the end of this commercial lovingly says, "It's a funny thing about a Porsche: there's the moment you know you want one, there's the moment you first own one, and for the truly afflicted there's the decade or two that passes in between." So it's advertising the fact that kids fall in love with these sports cars and then carry that love into adulthood.


This is a minor point, but I don't think they really float across the water like an automotive Jesus.
Am I wrong? Someone let me know in the comments.

Hey! Did you know that doing that is illegal in some countries? The U.K. has passed fucking laws saying that advertising can't "take advantage of the natural credulity and sense of loyalty of children." Because it's like brainwashing, because children are stupid and emotionally vulnerable. I hate them so much.

3sbworld/iStock/Getty Images
I couldn't be less impressed.

Porsche isn't just doing that in this commercial, they're fucking celebrating it. "We brainwashed your kid to want our product," says Porsche. "We own them now, body and soul. The illusion of free will is a bitter memory," says Porsche. "Your flesh and blood lines our ranks. If you cross us, you will be destroyed at the hands of those you love most, and your last thoughts will be heartbreak at their betrayal. And when our blood-armies cover the Earth, the Reign of Our Dark Word shall commence," says Porsche.

When you read between the lines.

#3. Best Buy Targets the Emotionally Vulnerable

There's nothing worse than a long-distance relationship, especially when you're going to college. Not only are your hormones and ambitions pulling you in totally opposite directions but your GF is totes going to a different 'llege than you. Which causes hella emos, right? I might be using these terms wrong. The point is, maintaining your high school relationship through college is tough -- but luckily, Best Buy is here to help.


Somehow, a Best Buy sales rep who knows you exist isn't the most unrealistic part of this commercial.

The Problem

This probably seems like small potatoes after that whole "Porsche shall bring about the apocalypse" thing, but this ad bums me out. I mean, just look at those poor, naive bastards. They're clinging to a doomed relationship out of a childish sense of loyalty and permanence. Their innocence is about to be dashed, they can never go home again, and Best Buy is profiting off that.


Ever notice that dudes all be going to schools with square lamps, while chicks are always going to schools
with round lamps? Ha! Men and women are different.

Basically, this ad bothers me for two reasons: one, we see a Best Buy customer-service rep actually helping a customer, and brother, there's a Best Buy right near my house, and I promise you that never fucking happens. Second, it just seems cruel to emotionally vulnerable teens. Maybe I'm overreacting but -- OK, bear with me here, right? Best Buy can't possibly be in business due to the service they provide, right? The only advantage a real store has over Amazon.com at this point is customer service, and that train has sailed right on over the tracks. So maybe -- just maybe -- Best Buy is a doomsday machine powered by human misery.

I know it's a bit of a stretch, but how else do you explain this ad? There's no other way.

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J.F. Sargent

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