Unlike those advertisements on commercial television which attracted the most complaints, among the worse ads of 2011, for me, were the like of these:
Virgin Life Insurance:
irritating female: Let’s talk about your ringing up Virgin to get life insurance so me and the kids won’t starve, when you die, you fat slob.
stupid male: Nah, even though there are heaps of ads on TV life insurance which go on about not requiring long forms and medicals, there’ll surely be heaps of forms to complete and boring medicals.
irritating female: Well, Virgin’s not like that, you useless, lazy bastard, I’ve checked.
stupid male: Nah, it’ll still cost too much. If I cark it, you’ll be all right. The grandparents will look after you.
irritating female: So you expect us to scrounge on others? You want the kids to leave good schools and be reduced to attending state schools? You want me to go on the game when I can’t afford mortgage payments? Virgin is great! Here’s the ’phone.
stupid male: All right, all right, I’ll call them now. Though I don’t know why you couldn’t.
McCain Sweet Potato Fries:
stupid male: What are these meant to be, for frock’s sake?
smug daughter: Fries, you stupid dad.
stupid male: But they’re orange!
smug daughter: That’s because they’re sweet potato fries, you ignorant idiot.
stupid male: Well, I hope they’re as good as ordinary potato chips, which was what I asked for.
smug daughter: You know, sometimes, particularly at the disinterested bidding of corporations, consumers need to try different things, you unadventurous moron.
Cottee’s Double Concentrate:
stupid male: What’s all this?
demonstratrix: Cottee’s concentrate is now twice as strong, so you need only half as much to make the same amount of mixed cordial.
stupid male: What? Impossible! Sacre bleu! It’s so incredible I don’t believe it!
demonstratrix: Well, it’s true.
stupid male: Ha! If you need only half as much concentrate as before to make the same amount of cordial, you can call me by a risibly inappropriate, feminine name, such as Elizabeth—
Before these advertisements I occasionally bought McCain’s frozen fries—sometimes, when they’re on special, they’re cheaper than the equivalent weight of raw potatoes—, and I would buy several Cottee’s cordials a fortnight, but I now boycott those products. I shall avoid Virgin insurance, too.
See Tim Blair’s “Seven Shockers”.
UPDATE I: among the silliest advertisements of the year, of course, we must include the “Say ‘Yes’ to a Ruinous Tax Even Though You Have No Say Either Way” campaign, fronted by Cate Blanchett. See “Let’s All Jump Together” and “Let Them Eat More Dirt”.
UPDATE II (14 June, 2013): a far from astonishing survey, which might provoke the odd cry of “You reckon?”, reported in The Times (by way of The Australian), reveals “Dim-witted TV dads not presenting a true picture”:
Parents have criticised the “casual contempt” shown for fathers on TV programs and in advertising, which invariably depict them as hapless and lazy.
A survey has found that more than 90% of mothers and fathers say the archetypal bungling TV dad unfairly misrepresents the reality and overlooks the contribution most are making to family life, while almost a third say it amounts to discrimination. […]
The authors said the “incompetent dad” theme continued into light entertainment for adults and children. These include the bumbling, misanthropic dentist father in My Family, played by Robert Lindsay, and Pete Brockman, the disaster-prone dad played by Hugh Dennis and struggling to keep up with his street-wise kids in Outnumbered.
In these popular shows, dim-witted dads are invariably teamed up with shrewd, hard-working wives who are obliged to bail them out on a regular basis. […]
The report found evidence of double standards when it came to the perceptions of lone fathers and lone mothers in the media. While single fathers are portrayed as heroic [what, always?], single mums were more commonly presented as benefit scroungers.