Top 10 Meaningless or Deceptive TV Ads

Advertising is omnipresent in today’s world. Old news. As with anything, there is a large spectrum of quality in advertising. But even bad ads often have a point; at least they are usually just doing a bad job of getting it across.

These ads don’t really have a point. Or worse, their point is to trick you. They are worse than bad – they are, at their very core, the essence of nonsense. Watch the videos and judge for yourself.


This one was fine until the end. We get it; the car is for the adventurous and free-spirited, that’s all well and good. Then we’re told this Acura is not just new, but “extremely new”. What hungover intern came up with that one? News flash to whatever ad agency was stupid enough to sell this slogan, and whatever Acura executive was stupid enough to buy it: something is either new or it’s not. It’s not like old, where there are varying degrees of how old it can be. I guess being new just isn’t good enough anymore.


I’ve heard of targeted advertising, but this goes a bit too far. Remember when your English teacher told you to show not tell? Most ads show us the type of person they are trying to reach. In this one, we have the pleasure of listening to an outrageously corny country number that very specifically tells us what kind of person is most likely to buy a Chevy truck. Come in late to work sometimes? Not married to your high school sweetheart? Then these trucks aren’t for you. Hey Chevy: wasn’t going to buy one anyway.

8-Pacific Life

This one makes the list despite the fact that I genuinely enjoyed this commercial. Beautiful ocean, majestic whales putting on a show, and a spirited theme song. It’s a whale of a good time. The only problem is it’s an ad for a life insurance company. I understand advertising doesn’t always have to directly promote a specific product, but this is over the top. I suppose anything is more captivating than talking about insurance.

7-Universal Pictures’ American Gangster

This trailer made us believe this would be one of the greatest films ever. Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Ridley Scott, Steven Zaillian. All-star cast and crew. Looked like a gritty new-age epic that had greatness written all over it. Instead, we were treated to over two and a half hours of recycled drug lord nonsense. A modern version of Scarface, except worse. And Scarface wasn’t even that good.


Unfortunately no video here, since Campbell’s was wise enough to take these down. They ran a campaign about their “all-natural” soups, and all the health benefits those who ate it would reap. Seemed great, except it was patently false. Common sense might dictate there’s something unnatural about eating soup with preserved meats and God knows what else from a can; if you’re an organic junkie eating canned soup probably isn’t for you. Stunningly, Campbell’s was sued last year for false advertising. The colossal amounts of sodium and preservatives in their products make any type of health claims outrageously devious.

5-NFL Ticket Exchange

The NFL’s ticket website is attempting to make us believe that when we buy a ticket to an NFL game, the whole gameday experience is so personalized that “you’re guaranteed the day belongs to you”. Except the only thing personalized about it is that your name is printed on the ticket when you print it out. All the other things in the commercial, such as the security guard greeting you by name, or your name written in mustard on your hot dog, are outright lies. Thanks for going out on a limb NFL and really making it special for us, by showing our name (which you got from our now-depleted credit card) on our cheap paper ticket.

4-Shake Weight

Enough said.


After telling us how other companies are vague when explaining how they specifically save us money, Esurance goes on to tell us they are different because they were “born online, raised by technology, and majors in efficiency.” That really clears things up. I guess since John Krasinski’s character on “The Office” was rational and down-to-earth, he has now become the pillar of common sense. Thirty seconds, zero useful tips about how we will save a dime.


Here we see BP boss Tony Hayward appear to apologize for their environmental demolition. Must be a heartfelt apology and not emergency PR, right? Sure. Later we learned BP dedicated $50 million to a damage control media campaign. As we all surmised, they were far more dedicated to cleaning up their image than the spill itself.

1-Bank of America

This one is certainly the most nauseating on the list. After showing us the smiling faces of Americans of all shapes and sizes readying to go to work, Kiefer Sutherland goes on to tell us, “This is America…and no matter what we keep moving forward.” Moving forward from what? Oh yeah, the catastrophic destruction caused directly by Bank of America themselves. The problem is in real life, millions of people like that don’t have a job to go to, thanks again to you BOA.

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