When ads go wrong, it usually involves a lack of focus or sensitivity – traits that can seriously damage your business. The list below demonstrates how potentially good ads suddenly turn into bad advertisements. What you say and how you display an ad greatly influences people’s perceptions about your company.

bad ads

  1. Displaying Drugs, Tobacco or Illegal Activities

Depicting a positive message about illegal drug use or tobacco can hurt your company’s image. Playing down the use of these items will not instill trust. Ads that promote illegal products are simply bad for business. Millions of ads have already been removed for illegal activities, such as online gambling. Do not make your message one that makes any of the aforementioned activities “cool.”

  1. Exaggerated Images

Exaggerated images spell out “SCAM” in a major way. For example, touting a weight loss product by displaying exaggerated before-and-after pictures certainly will not engender a good impression by the people who want to lose weight. Anyone who wishes to lose weight and make a serious commitment will pass over your ad and seek a better solution. In fact, statistics show that Google removed 47,000 sites featuring weight loss scams in 2016 alone.

  1. Sending an Unrealistic Message

If you support certain business practices, such as multilevel marketing, you need to tread carefully. While it is okay to emphasize that multilevel marketing plans will not offer you riches overnight, you should not send an unrealistic message. You also have to give the downsides and outline the amount of effort that is involved when marketing products.

People not only have to advertise their products on websites, they need to make hundreds of calls to support this type of activity. Ads that read “Make as much as $100 today,” are bad ways to support multilevel endeavors.

  1. Exploitation

Exploitation often emerges in bad ads online and on TV. Customers can experience exploitation through messages that are political or emotional in nature. For instance, emotional exploitation uses serious life events to sell products or services while political exploitation employs recent or controversial events to obtain sentiment.

Exploitation only works if people do not know they are being conned in this way, and even then, it is wrong. Using political events or social events to exploit your product or service can quickly backfire. Beliefs and value mean a lot to people, so make sure your message recognizes these attitudes.

  1. Patronization

Another way to stir up people’s ire is to patronize them or treat them like they don’t understand things. Patronization involves devaluing a person’s belief system or values or talking down to a customer. For instance, if you define a “Whopper” sandwich, you insult the reader’s or viewer’s intelligence. Likewise, playing down an important social movement insults some people’s beliefs or values. Never talk down to your audience. Doing so will only distance them, which is the last thing you want to do.

  1. Poor Text Alignment

You can make an ad go bad simply with poor alignment of the text. After all, execution is everything. If the text alignment is off, it can lead to some confusion. It also makes people mistrust your competence. Do you really want to buy a product from someone who cannot lay out their ad in a concise and easy-to-read fashion?

  1. Distracting Layouts

Ads also go bad when they are laid out wrong. For example, adding a decoration behind your print can be distracting. You need to make sure your printing is clear and easy to comprehend so you can ensure more sales. If an ad has too much clutter, it makes it difficult to sell your product as well. You need to present your message in a concise, simple-to-understand format, regardless of where you display it, whether it’s printed on an inflatable archor a business flyer.

Anytime you add clutter to your ad in the form of extra lettering or colors, you could cause your readers to abandon your message. Make sure you give your ad enhancements that will invoke a positive response – namely buying your product or service.

bad advertisement

  1. Poor Attempts at Humor
    Most people will not respond well to “funny” ads as the meaning is bound to impact someone negatively. For example, if a liquor store places an ad that says it can help alcoholics, this attempt at humor will certainly backfire. Because substance abuse is a sensitive topic, any effort at humor is bound to go awry. You can easily turn away customers by attempting to be humorous. Not everybody may think your attempts at humor are clever or funny.
  2. Adding Unnecessary Text

Sometimes a picture says a thousand words and you don’t have to explain the message. For instance, one ad for lightweight shoes showed that a toy car was heavier than the shoes. The advertiser did this by positioning the toy car and shoes on either end of a see-saw – a creative way to express the product’s uniqueness. However, the advertiser went on to explain that the shoes were lighter than muscle cars. They only needed the picture to tell their readers what they needed to know.

Over-explaining your ad will only direct the viewer away from the major point. By using an image that tells it all, you are getting to the point right away. Do not confuse everything by adding unnecessary text.

  1. Displaying Inappropriate Content

Sometimes advertisers get carried away by showing subliminally inappropriate messaging in an ad’s content. Don’t use your creativity to convey a message that is forward or insulting. Big companies, such as Burger King, have used this type of bad advertising. While it garnered attention, it was not the type of notice that increases sales and supports respect. If your ad features “locker-room” type copy and you’re not sure it’s appropriate for your audience, it’s probably a better idea not to take the risk.

  1. Irrelevant Associations

One bad ad featured by an ale company associated drinking the product with camping. The ad related camping with drinking instead of experiencing nature or spending time with the family. The problem is, most people don’t associate camping with drinking so the ad just left people scratching their heads, or offended at the implied connection between the great outdoors and drinking habits.

  1. Ignoring Your Target Audience

An ad can also go wrong if you don’t address the people who will benefit from your promotion. To make sure you direct your ad to the right people, you need to ask where your target audience is from and who your audience represents. You also need to show the benefits of your product and explain why your audience would want it. What will make your buyers act? Answer the six questions of ad copywriting –

  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • Why
  • How

Combine these questions with the two C’s: connection and clarity. Ads that lack these basic components often fail to bring you the best results. For instance, if you use an inflatable to support your ad message, you need to clearly connect the idea with something that relates to your audience.

  1. Placing Your Message toward the Bottom

If you want to ensure your audience gets your message, you have to act quickly. Make sure you place your important text at the top of a page or display it with prominence. This means using bigger fonts or vibrant colors. Ad copy should also be precise. The whole idea is to convey a message fast and share as many details as possible. Never use any long-winded scripts.

  1. Using the Ad in the Wrong Place

When writing ad copy, you need to make sure the content works with the type of display or medium you’re using. For example, don’t write copy for a magazine or direct mailer that would be better placed on an outdoor sign or billboard. Also, you shouldn’t display an ad that would be better shown in a newspaper and use it for an in-store display. Don’t add a message to an inflatable either when it should be featured in a longer type ad, such as a direct mailing.

  1. Leaving Out Testimonials

Testimonials seal the deal when it comes to promotions. Not only can they include celebrity endorsements, but customers and experts also give their two cents worth. If you want your ad to go bad, leave out the proof of why people should use your product. Show people the needed proof why your product rocks.

  1. Failing to Educate

In some instances, you need to explain the benefits of your product further. Ads go bad when advertisers leave customers with questions. Make sure readers can view the ad and immediately understand how a product or service works and how it can benefit them.

  1. Not Using Tact

When you see bad advertising, it often has to do with a lack of sensitivity. Ads that make people want to respond or do business convey sincerity and tact. For instance, maybe you offer consumer loan services. If so, choose your words carefully. In this scenario, it is better to say, “Check out our financial services today,” for your call to action or CTA. Compare that sentence with the following: “Are you broke?” “Check this out right now!” If you want to draw an audience, you need to express yourself professionally.

  1. Using a Bad Headline

To get people to read your ad, you need to get their attention. The headline serves this purpose in printed ads. Two types of headlines promise that the customer will reap a reward. One imparts a positive approach – the other a negative one. If you do not use either of these elements, your ad can suffer. Here is how to get people’s attention:

  • Tell the customer, in a few words, how he or she can carry out a goal or save money by using your product or service – how it will enhance his or her well-being, security, or overall satisfaction.
  • Tell the customer how to cut concerns, losses, or risks by the use of your product or service – how it will end his fear of discomfort or lack of professional or personal prestige.

Naturally, when you write a headline, you do not want to exaggerate. You just want to assure the reader that your product or service is valuable – a cut above the rest.

For example, you might ask the following when writing a headline –

“Do You Make These Errors in English?”

This headline piques the reader’s interest as it offers a direct challenge – one that provides a hook so the reader looks at the ad. The reader wants to know what errors are usually made so he or she can correct themselves.

  1. Lacks an Emotional Connection

While your ad can address a niche audience, it should also provide universal appeal. For example, if you are addressing computer users, you might state that your software is guaranteed by a full refund. Give your target audience, wherever they are located, a reason to try your product or service and see its benefits. Direct your message to your TA’s specific concerns while appealing to everyone’s emotions.

  1. Not Worthy of People’s Attention

A good ad is one that people notice. Sometimes it’s the right image or powerful copy that draws attention. Other times, it’s about creating presence. When you want your customers to stop and notice your messaging, sometimes you need to think outside of the box with your medium.

One fool-proof way to turn heads is to use inflatables. They’re much more exciting than the traditional signage, which your customers may not even look at. Use the right type of inflatable and you can create a lot of positive interest in your brand.

You can find examples of bad advertisements online and on TV. To make certain your ad stays true to form and you convey the right message, you need to remain sensitive to people’s feelings and use tact and diplomacy. Learn more about getting your message across in a positive and professional way. Check out our inflatable ads for businesses, events, and promotions.