What Do People Hate About Advertising?

10 Things About Advertising That Drives People NUTS

Angry Man
Angry Man. Getty Images

Let's face it, advertising is often annoying. It's designed to be. 

Advertising is not supposed to blend in, or be ignored. It is supposed to shout at you, grabbing your attention in the BEST way (most clearly do not) in order for you to make a good association with the product or service on offer. If you really like it, you may just go on to purchase it. 

However, all too often, advertising doesn't do its job very well.

It either goes completely under the radar, selling nothing, or it hits you in the face like a frying pan in an old Tom and Jerry cartoon.

Those are the ads we're focusing on here today. Not specific ads, but the content used in them over and over again that rubs you all the wrong way. When these kinds of ads come on, you quickly change the channel, curse under your breath, or punch a hole in the magazine. Is one of your advertising pet peeves on the list? 

 

1: Top Of The Line Car, Base Price. 

Although it’s perfectly legitimate for advertisers to misrepresent cars in this way, it is somewhat misleading. 99% of these ads show the absolute best model you can possibly buy, with the lowest possible price listed next to it. Like a top of the range Honda Accord, with the price of the base model listed. It will say something like “From just $26,569” but in the fine print it will say “Model Shown $38,751.” Those are random numbers, but you get the point.

Very shady. Very annoying. It's legal, but you hate it, and rightly so. When you walk into the showroom, you are immediately disappointed with what you can actually afford. 
 

2: Oh Those Neverending Medication Side Effects.

To be honest, medication shouldn’t be advertised at all. It’s outrageous that the lobbyists got this one through.

Only your doctor should be telling you what to take. But anyway, now that there are ads for medicines, there are disclaimers. Oh boy, are there disclaimers. And they go on and on and on and on and on. Usually, they last longer than the benefits part of the ad, and include side effects so awful, you’d be better off with the disease. The sooner these ads get banned, the better.
 

3: Fake Husband & Wife Scenarios.

Most advertising is fake anyway. But those poor actors that have to represent married couples, they top the list of unrealistic scenarios. Either the husband is a moron, the wife is constantly worried about cleanliness, or they’re both asking each other insanely dumb questions.

“Hey honey, did you know Cereal X is not only good for my digestion, it’s good for my heart too?” “Of course silly, that’s why I bought you two boxes. It’s also good for my purse.” They both laugh heartily. 

In what world is this a reality? In fact, it parodied to perfection in The Truman Show, with Truman's wife offering to fix him some new Mococoa drink. "All natural cocoa beans from the upper slops of Mount Nicaragua, no artificial sweeteners!" Truman's response - "What the hell are you talking about? Who are you talking to?!"
 

4: Making Food Look Insanely Delicious.

To be fair, there are laws about this. An advertiser or brand cannot do anything to blatantly falsify the product. They must work with the actual food being sold. BUT they can work with the best of the product, and spend hours making it look beautiful. For instance, if making a burger, they will get a food stylist to select the best bun, slice the best tomatoes, and cook a burger to perfection. They will spend a lot of time assembling it, adding just the right ketchup drips, and putting it in the best light. It’s a thing of beauty that can take hours. On reflection, your average fast food burger flip has about 20 seconds a best to assemble yours. But, it’s still annoying to compare the picture to the sad reality in your hand. Ask Michael Douglas.
 

5: Those Not-So-Adorable Talking Babies.

Once, for about five minutes, they were cool.

That quickly turned into forgettable. Then annoying. Then really annoying. Then “please come back Mr. Charmin, all is forgiven!” Talking babies advertising finances, cars, insurance or anything else for grown ups is bad enough. When it’s for baby products, it’s a stunning lack of original thinking. What next? Talking dogs for pet food?
 

6: Those Misspelled Words. Sorry, Wurdz.

Once it was a sign of rebellion. The brands are so cool, they don’t even have to follow the laws of grammar. Now, everyone’s doing it, and it’s getting really annoying to people. Brands are adding letters, substituting others, and dropping some altogether. And with so many web domains taken, brands are trying to get creative. An ad on the radio for something called borrow dot com was actually spelled Borro.com. When you have to spell it out in the ad, you're working too hard. In fact, the radical move these days would be to spell everything correctly.
 

7: Blatant Product Placement.

Everyone freely admits that product placement happens in the entertainment world, and they understand it helps pay for some of the high costs of the productions. But there’s a clear difference between a movie or show using a certain brand of car, compared to one that has a huge focus on it. Who can forget the Texaco scenes in Back To The Future parts one and two? The moral here for advertisers is, do it if you must…but do it with more subtlety.
 

8: VERY LOUD Advertising.

You’re watching a TV show set on 40% volume, an ad comes on at 90% and makes your ears bleed. This is not a convincing argument for a floor cleaner or bottle of pop. Loud is not a way to break through the clutter, in the same way violent facial acne is not a great way to get noticed. Laws have been in place to stop this from happening since 2011, but the advertisers have found loopholes. Until those loopholes are closed, you are going to keep getting hammered with screaming, shouting, awful ads. 
 

9: Completely Inept People

Look...we all know how difficult some tasks can be. Stripping the engine of a Honda Civic to replace the timing belt is not for the novice. But commercials have us believing that it takes an IQ of 200 to make an omelet without setting fire to the kitchen. Infomercials, and As-Seen-On-TV products are the biggest perpetrators of this. Every single task, from opening a can of tuna to putting on your socks, is almost impossible to do. Unless, of course, you buy their new product. 
 

10: Overpromising

The advertising term is “exaggerating the benefit.” You, the consumer, calls it total BS. Chocolate is nice, but is it a “rich, creamy, decadent experience for your taste buds?” Is a car going to take you to the most unimaginable places? Is a wallpaper going to change your life? No.