4 Companies Whose Ads Just Backfired Horrifically
Creating an ad for your company is tricky. You have to sell your product convincingly and make sure you don't accidentally piss off large amounts of people with excruciating obliviousness or faith-in-humanity-destroying insensitivity. And surprisingly, more companies forget about that last part than you'd think. For example:
LivingSocial Advertises Deal for Colorado Trip During Disastrous Flood
Recently, LivingSocial offered a deal for a trip to Estes Park, Colorado. Here's what this "picture perfect" destination looked like in the ad:
"Relive those magical moments from the opening to The Shining."
The only problem? That photo and description are slightly misleading, since this is actually what Estes Park, Colorado, looked like when they posted the promotion:
"Autumn did fall ... we're still looking for her body."
Yep, if you've so much as flipped past CNN over the past weeks, you know that the same area was ravaged by a vicious flood, claiming seven lives and causing massive damage. Apparently LivingSocial has been so busy giving killer deals and laying off staff only to rehire them that they neglected to notice the news. The deal was active on their site for over a day before LivingSocial's social media person finally decided to see if they had any Twitter mentions.
Decal Company Attempts to Attract Customers by Pretending to Be Kidnappers
What would you think if you were driving to work and saw this in front of you?
You'd think "I'd better ask the driver of that truck where he got that delightful decal so I can get one myself," right? Right? Why are you looking at us like that?
That's pretty much how the owner of Hornet Signs in Waco, Texas, thought it would go when he affixed that image of a bound and unconscious woman to an employee's pickup truck that sat in front of the store. Concerned motorists who had seen the truck driving around called authorities, thinking the decal to be real. After the outrage, the owner is now claiming it was all an "experiment in marketing" and that he simply wanted to raise awareness of this issue ("this issue" being morons who paint dumb stuff on their trucks, presumably).
He later removed and burned the decal after realizing no mortals could swallow a load of bullshit that large.
Mexican Restaurant Gives People Explosive Diarrhea, Offers Free Burritos
All right, so your restaurant accidentally gave 74 people E. coli and caused the now infamous "bloody diarrhea outbreak." Fine, everyone makes mistakes. What's important now is gaining some goodwill in the community and making them forget about the gory poovalanches you caused. Just do anything possible to distance your business from the concept of diarrhea, or pooping in general. Maybe do a promotion, like offering free sandwiches, or ...
"Federico's: An explosion of flavor."
... fr-free burritos. That works, too, we guess. Yes, and put the words "COME BACK" in big red letters (red all over the place, in fact), right next to those big, juicy burritos. Oh, those things are just ready to burst. If you'll excuse us for a moment now, though, we have to pay a visit to the nearest trash bin.
In all seriousness, we're not sure how well Federico's promotion worked, considering that half their clientele was probably still glued to the toilet.
"For the rest we had the 'Queen of Clean' on standby just in case."
Dating Site Uses Picture of Deceased Bullying Victim on Facebook
Of the many annoying things plaguing Facebook these days, the ads are at the top of the list (your cousin who "likes" his own comments being a close second). At best, they're pointless and annoying. At worst, they're literally evil -- like when the owner of a Canadian dating site was scraping random images from Google images and landed on a picture of Rehtaeh Parsons, a deceased 17-year-old Canadian girl who recently took her own life due to cyberbullying.
So, naturally, he didn't bother to read the context and just used her face on his ad.
Keep it classy, ionechat.
Note that when you Google "Canadian girl," you have to go through all these pictures first:
"No! No! Not Canadian enough! My users will know."
Understandably, Parsons' parents were horrified over the incident and the ad was removed from Facebook due to the backlash, as was the entire dating site from the Internet in general.