Often times companies make great ads to promote great products. And sometimes they make ads which are remembered for all the wrong reasons.
In this article, we will focus on the latter and show you 5 instances where tech brands completely missed the mark with their advertisements.
1. Microsoft Windows Vista Ad feat. Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld (2008)
This ad had all the elements to be a classic which would be remembered for generations. The ad features Bill Gates, the fun-loving, geeky founder of Microsoft and Jerry Seinfeld, probably the funniest guy of our generation.
What could possibly go wrong?
Well, for starters, it’s 90 seconds long. It’s mostly centred around shoes and ends with Bill Gates wiggling his bottom. It left most viewers confused as they struggled to fathom what the discussion in the ad had to do with Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows Vista.
No wonder the company withdrew the ads shortly in favor of other ads featuring other celebrities. All that could easily be forgiven, but then we were treated with the travesty that was Windows Vista.
2. Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch Ad (2013)
Samsung has a history with bad ads, but this 2013 commercial of Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch takes the cake for being the most awkward, cringe-worthy ad of all time.
The acting is wooden and the ad has a creepy, stalky tone to it. The whole script is implausible where two guys try to impress a blonde woman while on a skiing trip. Needless to say, the guy with the Samsung smartwatch ends up with the girl while the other guy aimlessly struggles with his smartphone (sans smartwatch).
When the ad was released in 2013, it made the headlines for all the wrong reasons. YouTubers were quick to point out the absolute awfulness of the ad. A number of users called it ‘the worst ad ever’, ‘creepy’, ‘the most awkward advert of all time’, whole one YouTuber named Paul Murley commented that Samsung’s marketing department had ’employed a whole team of mentally deficient hyenas to make a large number of decisions.’
Watch the ad below and watch it in all its awfulness.
3. Apple’s Lemmings Ad (1985)
Let’s face it. Even if you’re not an Apple fan, you’ve got to admit that they come out with some insanely good ads. Remember the Mac vs PC series of ads? Or the Think Different Ad campaign? What about the iconic 1984 ad which was touted at the time to be the greatest ad of all time?
But oftentimes, greatness is followed by mediocrity. That’s what happened when Apple released the “Lemmings” ad in 1985. Just a year after the 1984 ad, Apple released a follow-up ad promoting MacIntosh office.
The ad appears to have the same Orwellian theme and narrative, but it’s oddly dark and unsettling for an Apple ad. This was also the year Steve Jobs was sacked by the Apple board. What followed was a decade-long obsession with mediocre ads with John Sculley at the helm.
4. Samsung EVO SSD Ad (2013)
Oh boy, Samsung is at it again. As mentioned earlier, Samsung has a history with bad commercials and this 2013 Samsung EVO SSD advert just proves Samsung’s ineptitude in making ads that resonate with their target audience.
The acting once again is horrendous and robotic. The actors would later claim that they were instructed to speak slowly as the ad would be translated in Korean. The ad features 3 bad actors/ “clients” who talk about how they use computers in their daily life.
The commercial was highly criticized for stereotyping women and Asians and was quickly pulled off the air by Samsung. But the internet never forgets. It continues to be popular among YouTubers and Reddittors albeit for all the wrong reasons.
5. Groupon Super Bowl Ad (2011)
This 2011 Groupon Super Bowl commercial was greatly reviled for trivializing the Tibetan refugee crisis.
The ad was received negatively and bombed in front of 11 million viewers who had tuned in to watch Super Bowl. People took to Twitter and Facebook to voice their discontent, calling the ad ‘beyond disgusting’ and ‘in poor taste’.
The ad was later withdrawn by the company and an apology was issued by Groupon CEO who claimed that his team had “turned off the part of our brain where we should have made our decisions.” The ad cost Groupon $3 million.