Every advertiser worth his/her salt in cheap suits and overinflated rhetoric knows one thing to be universal: sex sells. Even in the most conservative of societies (let’s say the Amish since they don’t have access to the Internet, and I will thus avoid any death threats or comment trolls), a salacious ad campaign will create a buzz even if that buzz is negative like “Oh, my Elizabeth! I can’t believe that stocking advertisement is showing ankle! Didn’t they think about the kids?!”
Well, no, they didn’t and, honestly, sometimes they don’t even think about how unsexy their attempt at being sexy is. Here are some sexy ads that horribly and fantastically backfired.
Carl’s Jr.’s Unapologetic Burger Porn
You might live in a part of the world where there isn’t a Carl’s Jr. fast food chain, but you must have inevitably stumbled upon one of their ads in a Paris Hilton parody, in a list of the “Most Sexy Super Bowl Ads”, or in a university gender studies book called Things That Set Feminism Back by Decades.
These ads are the equivalent of naked ladies draped over motorcycles and classic cars that you normally find hanging in a mechanic’s garage (of the ‘80s, of course. Even the male-dominated field of vehicle maintenance is getting a little more sensitive today). Carl’s Jr., however, decided that creating a series of ads that, if it weren’t for the burgers, would basically soft porn… thus trying to prove the idiom: “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” with the addition of “ but via a detour that runs smack dab through his nether region”.
I’d also like to point out the inadvertent body shaming in the ads, as these admittedly highly attractive glamour models/un-spokeswomen wouldn’t even touch these 1,270-calorie and figure-destroying edible monstrosities. If you’d like to go back to the gender standards of the ‘50s, feel free to check out a compilation of them above [throws papers over his head and walks off in frustration].
The Italian Boner Car
Yes, boner car. I’m not going to be coy, just like Fiat wasn’t. Although it’s common knowledge that, according to Freudian theory, a large car is compensation for a smaller male member, Fiat must have heard that and said (in a heavy Italian accent, because when it’s not threateningly terrifying, it’s hilarious): “Ei, Giorgio! You hear that-a Nonno Freud thinks-a that a car is an extension of your-a little Caesar? We should-a do something with that, sì?”
The result combines a slew of the un-sexiest things imaginable: old people acting sexy and getting ready to boink, boner-assisting pills, church bells, and people getting strangely turned on by inanimate objects which includes yet another altogether different old person making “sexy” ooh sounds.
Burger King’s Obvious Boner
Being obviously aroused in public can be a mortifying experience. People will try to hide it in a myriad of ways, from sitting cross-legged to wearing a demon mask to draw attention away from the offending area. Displaying your “arousal” proudly in public is generally considered a social deviance, but Burger King in Singapore seemed to think it was completely fine to create an ad campaign that paralleled a seven-inch sandwich with fellatio… if you don’t know what fellatio is, then take an online human sexuality course, look it up on Wikipedia or, if you’re feeling bold (and at home), do a Google image search.
The ad depicts an attractive woman at eye level with a monstrous sandwich with her mouth agape (I’m so hoping in surprise, but I know that’s not what the ad execs/chauvinists had in mind). This isn’t the first time Burger King pulled a boneheaded move either: back in 2000, one of their ad campaigns featured the lower part of a model’s face with Band-Aids over the edges of her mouth. The tagline read “Bigger. Better. Burger King.” Bleh.
Honorable mention: Burger King is also guilty of plagiarism having stolen comedian Bill Eichner’s routine of street comedy to advertise their new chicken nuggets, which were probably plagiarized from McDonald’s.
This vid is highly, highly NSFW (that’s shorthand for “not safe for work”, for all the old fogies reading) so I’ll break it down for you. It shows a bevy of very, very attractive, precariously high heeled ladies dropping trench coats to reveal semi-translucent undergarments and garter-belted stockings, while sexily dry-humping produce (as in veggies). An 80s-inspired rock ditty, that would make any skin flick perk up in recognition of the familiar electric guitar riffs, rips in the background.
The point it tries to make is that vegetarians not only bone more, they bone better, too. On the other hand, most vegetarians I’ve met shy away from shaving (anything) and smell like a bong water filled with patchouli oil. So they can bone away; I will not be participating, thank you very much.
So, sometimes, even the most respectable of organizations launch an ad campaign that is a regretful combination of sexy, sexist, and gross. Well, Belgrade, Serbia (that’s a country’s capital in Eastern Europe, you geographically impaired boob) is no stranger to the aforementioned combination of adjectives for eye-catching mass appeal.
The thing is that when you want to go sexy, the idea you’re trying to promote needs to be sexy. Let’s hypothesize: keeping with the overtly sexist theme, an ad features a stunning, tall model-esque blonde in red lingerie. So far, so good, right? Now imagine that this bodacious blonde is leaning back, almost reclined on an armchair – got that visual image? Great!
The tagline could be “Are you tired of itchy, inflamed hemorrhoids?” or maybe even “Condomex condoms: so good, they’re bad” or something equally corny. So, which one do you think is sexier? The condom one, of course.
Well, the Serbs fell into the hemorrhoid trap (that’s the official name I just gave it) and combined the curvaceous posteriors of women bending over with a tagline that read, in questionable English: “For beautiful city”. The second tagline featured on the posters is the slightly more grammatically correct: “Clean after your dog”. Women’s behinds? Sexy, if not sexist and derogatory. Dog poop? Not sexy.
As a simple rule of thumb, combining something sexy with unsexy is like multiplying with zero. Anything you multiply with zero will be zero. Go ahead, try it, and imagine Megan Fox spreading arthritis ointment on her legs, any member of the 300 cast using anti-chaffing powder, and Scarlett Johansson spreading liquid fertilizer on herself. OK, there aren’t many things that can diminish Scar-Jo’s sexiness – every rule has an exception.
See Also: Top 5 Most Controversial Job Ads
Do you know of any other regretful advertisement campaigns? Let me know in the comments section below!