Malick Ba

Bad Ads

September 19, 2017

I work in advertising and I live in downtown Toronto. That means that I live and breathe advertising. Without a doubt, this blog is basically a platform for the best that we talk about in the advertising world. From trends, to commercials, we try our absolute best to focus on the top that this industry has to offer…but what about the bad ones? Working in this industry has taught me that anything you put out there goes against rounds and rounds of approval. Any bad idea (or good idea for that matter) can get tossed in the blink of an eye…so how do the bad ones slip through the cracks? This week I’m going to try and shift our attention to why/how bad advertisements get out there for the world to see.

What makes an ad bad? Is it placement? Is it creative? Is it both? For the sake of this article, lets say both. I’ve been fortunate enough to come from a media background and that’s taught me the importance of the strategy behind where and how you see an advertisement. In tandem with effective and contextually relevant creative the formula for good ads are there. However sometimes that’s not enough. Remember in the early 2000s? We saw websites serving you millions of pop ups and obnoxious ads on a daily basis. Even if the pop up was an ad for something that was targeted specifically for me, I would still get annoyed no matter what was placed in front of me-immediately putting myself off of it. For the most part, most websites I browse now don’t do that. Why? Because that’s bad advertising. Spam has never been an effective advertising strategy and never will. You can show me the same ad a thousand times but if it’s annoying, no one will pay attention to it-no matter how creative it is.

Let’s switch gears to talk about creative and the process that it takes to actually get something out there. This is a tricky one. Like I mentioned before, ads can have a million dollar budget and still turn out to be terrible. Remember that Pepsi ad earlier this year? That had an insane budget but still turned out to be a joke. Bad advertisements from a creative standpoint seem to have a consistent theme: someone approved something shitty. I’m not talking about local ads you find on a telephone pole, or someone handing out a piece of paper on the sidewalk. I’m talking about ads that have money behind them-one’s like Pepsi or that terrible Australian lamb commercial that turned out to be pretty offensive.

That’s a summary version of my opinion on bad ads. It’s a combination of poor placement, poor creative, and poor direction that brings it all together. What’s your favourite bad ad?

Malick Ba is an advertising and marketing specialist currently living in Toronto, Canada. As an alumni of both the University of Ottawa and Humber College, Malick specializes in communications, advertising, and marketing. Currently, Malick works at an advertising agency in downtown Toronto and is looking forward to how he can further leave his mark upon the advertising and marketing world. Follow him on Instagram, and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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