There is a bizarre new trend in advertising where campaigns seem to go out of their way to insult their target demographic. We don't know if they figure the controversy will stir up buzz or if the ads were designed by some executive on his last day at work, hoping to leave a last "fuck you" before shitting on his boss's desk and running out the front door. All we know is that they range from mildly insulting to downright horrifying, and that none of them should have made it past the concept stage.
#4. Chicago T-Shirts Make Fun of Boston Bombing Victims
As we all know, to make a great T-shirt you must be both A) topical and B) totally shitty to a specific group of people. So when coming up for a design to sell shirts for an upcoming Stanley Cup playoff series, Chicago T-shirt company Cubby Tees took one look at the shirts commemorating the bombing of the Boston Marathon ...
... and decided it was just too good an opportunity to be assholes for them to pass up:
Besides, everyone knows Boston could beat Chicago up.
Because if you're going to belittle victims of a horrible tragedy, you might as well do it by gloating about sports. Professional sports, as you may have noticed, do not matter one fucking bit in the timeline of human existence, and real actual people were injured and killed in the Boston Marathon bombing.
For some reason Cubby Tees was surprised about the backlash, and although they recalled the design, they made it seem like we should all be apologizing to them for ruining their T-shirt.
Rodrigo Buendia / AFP / Getty
Some impoverished village in Latin America is about to make a terrible faux pas.
#3. Swiffer Wants Rosie the Riveter Scrubbing the Floor
Rosie the Riveter was a character featured in World War II-era propaganda posters who encouraged women to go work in munitions factories while all the menfolk were away killing Nazis. Rosie has since become a well-known symbol of the feminist movement, because let's face it, she's pretty badass.
Here she is, inspiring the do-rag.
Recently, Swiffer, the company who fooled all of us into thinking we could keep our apartments clean without having to buy a vacuum, decided that what Rosie really needed to do was get her ass back home and clean the damned bathroom.
"No, look submissive. And put on more makeup."
Unless she's using that Swiffer to polish a 150 mm artillery shell, this is the exact opposite thing Rosie stands for. There are very few truly iconic symbols of feminism, and Swiffer managed to pick the one that would be most insulting in this context. Also it appears she has accidentally set her Swiffer on fire.
#2. Red Robin Thinks Vegetarians Are Stupid
Most burger-and-fries restaurants don't make much of an effort to have vegetarian options, but Red Robin's garden burger is actually fairly popular. So it seems a bit strange that their latest ad essentially tells vegetarians to feed their anemic faces somewhere else by informing us that all vegetarians are fickle teenage girls going through a phase.
"My daughter only eats vegetables, like some kind of goddamned lunatic."
The exact line from the ad is "We even have a garden burger, just in case your teenage daughter is going through a phase."
Yes, this company is telling you to your face that if you are an adult male or female who orders this product, you have the emotional maturity of a whiny, demanding 14-year-old apparently refusing meat due to some weird fad her friends are trying. It's a weirdly passive-aggressive move for Red Robin to make, considering all the effort it takes to get vegetarian options on the menu. Isn't the idea to get vegetarians through the door? Hell, at this point we have to wonder if they're slipping meat in there out of spite.
#1. Killing Lincoln Is Stoked About Killing Lincoln
If you're National Geographic and doing a special about the Lincoln assassination, the assumption is that you're probably playing to history buffs who treat events like this with some measure of respect. Yet the advertising for National Geographic's upcoming docudrama Killing Lincoln is every bit as subtle and dignified as the trailer for Meet the Spartans. For instance, they have a banner ad that lets you shoot Lincoln yourself with your mouse cursor:
Apparently that's how you win Emmys.
There is also a behind-the-scenes featurette showing crew members acting out the assassination for the benefit of their Instagram followers:
The featurette then transitions to a close-up of the murder weapon as it erases President Lincoln from existence:
Then it smash-cuts to the production staff dancing to dubstep like a bunch of shitheads:
And finally it concludes with the "make a funny pose" group photo typically reserved for TBS sitcoms:
"Killing Lincoln! We did it, guys!"
J. F. Sargent is a Workshop moderator for Cracked who wrote a sci-fi adventure horror novel that you can read for free! He also tweets.