The worst ad ever made (print division)?

Discuss

73 Responses to “The worst ad ever made (print division)?”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I wouldn’t say it’s completely incomprehensible, but penalty box to them, for inappropriate use of Photoshop. This is a symptom of designers who don’t (and shouldn’t) care, being forced to do work for the worthless and soulless products of the corporate system. These companies have huge advertising budgets, because they don’t spend the money on improving the product. By the way, I’m a designer.

  2. Ernunnos says:

    It would be better if it was a guitarist futilely bashing a bag equipped with a neck against a stage, with a caption, “There’s a reason we don’t make guitars.” But hockey’s not bad.

    • grimc says:

      No, hockey’s still bad. But your idea is kinda awesome.

    • Shelby Davis says:

      Haha! 2nding grimc, I like your idea! But it would be hard to convey the idea that the guitarist is “futilely” smashing the luggage in a print ad. Maybe a grid of, say, 6×5 panes, of the guitarist making increasingly elaborate and hilarious attempts, followed a large image of the guitar spotlighted, casually leaning unmarked against an amp, accompanied by the text.

      Internet, please mock this up!

  3. grimc says:

    Fake. No trademarks.

    And not bad because it’s incomprehensible; bad because it’s boring.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Sure it’s ridiculous, but it does deserve a lot of attention for the absurd balls of the creative attempt. You have to admit, a more tame headline and product shot never made it on to boing boing. And yes, the attention is accidental and mocking. But the definition of failed adverting isn’t that people think it’s ridiculous. The worst advertising is all the stuff that people ignore or don’t remember. Or worse still, the stuff that actively annoys folks. As stupid as this ad is it doesn’t do any of these things. And besides, when was the last time you remembered a luggage ad? Was it that gorilla through around a suitcase in it’s cage back in the 70′s: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2ZeIoLz8FE

  5. Anonymous says:

    I would consider looking at this product if I was in the market to purchase luggage, based on this ad. Because low weight and strength is what I would want in a suitcase. The message this ad conveys to me, is that the suitcase is relatively light (as a hockey stick is relatively light) while it can be tough enough to withstand big guys beating on it plus it looks good. Simply putting the words “light and strong” down on a piece of paper, as a commenter suggested, doesn’t convey enough information to interest a person on the product the way an image does that people can relate to. And I think that this ad does this an effectively.

  6. Xopher says:

    It took me more than the standard three seconds to figure out what I was looking at. Popsicles did occur to me, but the ice spray from the middle player’s skates looks like mist coming from the left player’s popsicle. Some kind of steam-cleaner? And ice, haha, it can melt…no, that’s not it.

    Eventually I noticed the WORD ‘Samsonite’ in the upper right, and only then figured out what those things were (oh, yeah, see those little wheels there?). Too late for the association of luggage with hockey to take hold.

    Pretty picture. TERRIBLE ad.

  7. Unmutual says:

    Like or dislike this ad, but “dumbest ad of the year” is ridiculous.

    First of all, the ad does make sense. The luggage is supposed to be light, obviously strong and light enough to swing around and hit a puck. Now I used to sell luggage many years ago and my personal opinion is that Samsonite is crap, but the ad makes sense. It’s better than that old ad with the gorilla.

    Second of all, has this guy even seen one single Svedka ad? You know, the billboards with the female looking robot making robot sexy eyes and some asinine portmanteau? Like “R U Bot or Not?” And they advertise vodka? Apparently, to 12 year old boys?

    Seriously, Svedka gets my vote for the worst ad of the year, every year, for the next 20 years.

    • Xopher says:

      Those were VODKA ads??!!? …actually I think I did look at them closely once and figure that out, but it’s impossible to remember when you’re not looking at them.

      Yeah, those suck. I don’t remember when they went up, though.

  8. Xopher says:

    Actually the ice spray is from the RIGHT player’s skate. It looks like the left player is steaming him, though.

  9. Jake Bullet says:

    The photoshop job is pretty crap in an of itself… scale and perspective are all off.

    I’m no expert on advertising, but I will chime in with the folks that “get” this ad and think it is far from the worst print ad ever made. It makes perfect sense to me and the message is clear as has been summarized previously.

    However, I will agree that the execution is not the greatest. The scale and the perspective are off and the puck looks like a UFO – that none of the players are actually following with their eyes.

    But in simple terms, I understand exactly how they are trying to position and differentiate their product.

    Maybe it would have been more palatable to those that find this terrible/boring/ineffective/confusing to use (US) football instead of hockey. The luggage could have been strapped to tackle dummies or could have on the bottom of a pile of offensive linesmen or something.

    • teapot says:

      Maybe it would have been more palatable to those that find this terrible/boring/ineffective/confusing to use (US) football instead of hockey.

      That would be the same, silly idea and would not solve the problem.

      I’d also hazard a guess that hockey would connect with a much more international audience than football. Does anyone outside the US even watch or follow American football? In Oz we cartainly dont.

      I like anon #7′s sugegstion: Maybe a better ad would have been an unscathed Samsonite suitcase being unloaded from a United flight among damaged brethren.

      Perhaps even have the samsonite bag smashing into & breaking its non-samsonite brethren? This would be far more effective, as it coveys the same idea, without the extra cognitive steps and gives the audience a little chuckle about how frigging hopeless baggage handlers are (which we can all relate to). It would also be far more universally understandable.

  10. Unmutual says:

    The target audience is important. If this ad ran in sports illustrated, for example, I’d say it’s pretty good.

    The Svedka ads have been around a few years. I despise them, they are all over every metro area I go to . . . on buses, billboards, taxis . . . and they are completely inane. They remind me of ads I saw in Europe in the early 00s when everything had to have some kind of computer rendered girl or girl-like entity shilling a product, including some kind of energy drink that was also beer (forget what it was called). I thought they were stupid then but apparently they were a few years ahead of the curve in the US.

  11. GauchoAmigo says:

    I really don’t see how this is any dumber than most ads.

  12. Than Saffel says:

    How has Phil Spector’s murder conviction hurt Ronettes record sales?

  13. Anonymous says:

    OK so it says at the bottom left hand corner THE STRONGEST AND LIGHTEST SAMSONITE EVER !!!! So you dont have to know hockey to get the picture.

  14. sleazy_demure says:

    This ad makes me want soju….

  15. pinehead says:

    I have to side with the majority here. The Samsonite ad is perfectly lucid. Even without being a hockey fan, I immediately understood the point of the photo, while subsequent seconds of viewing were spent looking at the details of the luggage pieces themselves.

    It’s only stupid if you take the photo to literally mean that the men in the picture are playing ice hockey with carry-on baggage. First, I’m glad you think it’s a stupid idea in practice. Second, if that was your first and most lasting interpretation of the image, that suggests to me that you could be a bit simple, autistic or schizophrenic.

  16. OsakaBen says:

    The desire for people to sound smart by playing devil’s advocate in BB comments section never ceases to amaze me. Although I suppose automatic disagreement is better than automatic agreement.

    Effective advertising or not, this is just a stupid picture. They look awkward holding the things, and the concept of using luggage as a hockey stick is completely nonsensical and visually unsettling to me. The shape of a hockey stick and suitcase are just too far apart for this to register to me. Cricket, baseball, tennis, or popsicle fencing are all much more suitable sport candidates. Must go wash my eyes now.

    • Unmutual says:

      >>The desire for people to sound smart by playing devil’s advocate in BB comments section never ceases to amaze me.

      Well this post actually motivated me to register here and post in the comments section for the first time after reading this site for a few years. That’s how stupid I thought this post was.

      >>They look awkward holding the things, and the concept of using luggage as a hockey stick is completely nonsensical and visually unsettling to me.

      I’d say the ad made an impression then.

      Certainly its nowhere near as stupid as a dude-bro who fakes his own death so he can be buried in a coffin full of Doritos. Or a running joke about a pizza delivery guy who keeps showing up a black family’s house to mooch a free slice of their frozen pizza. Christ. To call something the dumbest ad of the year is engaging in some serious hyperbole . . . we are talking about a literal ocean of stupid candidates and frankly I can not even remember all of the stupid ads I see in a single week, let alone an entire year. What about the french McDonald’s ad featuring the gay kid who is afraid to come out to his father? And on, and on.

      Actually a particular favorite of mine for the “dumbest ever” candidate is the Honda “Mr. Opportunity” ads, the one with the cartoon guy who knocks on the tee-vee screen. Like, he’s knocking on the screen, and it makes a tapping sound like he is rapping his knuckles on glass, even though nobody I know has had a glass tube tee-vee in at least 7 years. And this year’s commercial has him singing in some opera, you know, about the Honda Clearance Event. That’s something that really drives me batsh*t, like when some new commercial introduces a character to shill a product, and this character gets reused so often that they start to develop a narrative arc for them, like the nerdboy whackoff mascot for Esurance, a secret agent that has to take time out of her blackops mission to register her car and buy car insurance.

      • mdh says:

        You are awesome. Welcome.

        like the nerdboy whackoff mascot for Esurance, a secret agent that has to take time out of her blackops mission to register her car and buy car insurance.

        I must add, that esurance ad is just a moonlighting gig for Kim Possible.

        • Unmutual says:

          Thank you! I’m a bit surprised to see a comments section where regs are polite and welcome a newbie. My faith in humanity is restored a little bit . . .

  17. Ocker3 says:

    As long as this ad is going to be placed in countries where they play hockey, it’s well designed. A hockey stick obviously needs to be light, yet able to handle punishment, just like luggage.

    The name Samsonite is in two places, on a player’s shirt and in the top right corner. The name Cosmolite is in two places, both low, both small. I think both names need to be slightly larger.

    Context is always important, what medium was this ad for, and what audience was it shown to? Duffy, worst copyranter ever?

  18. jordoex says:

    Worst ad ever made radio edition: any of you seen the old spice tv ad with the black guy(yes, I know most of you don’t watch TV). But anyways, this debt consolidation service rips it off. Can’t stand it.

    (yeah, radio; its for the world cup coverage when away from screens)

  19. loonquawl says:

    how about every 20th post in BB just be a link to a random blog, hidden in the word ‘Discuss.’.

    Oh.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Its like the ad is using the its like them to make you like it.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I couldn’t agree more! It is not in any way clever, like good advertising should be.

    Whats worse, it is all over many billboards here in Sydney, Australia – where hockey (on ice) is virtually non-existent.

    Duh.

  22. felsby says:

    I am puzzled. It is a good picture, the message is clear. What is the problem?

  23. libraryboi says:

    Like many others who have commented, it was clear to me that the ad was supposed to convey the durability of Samsonite luggage when subjected to abuse. Hardly incomprehensible and certainly not the worst ad ever.

  24. bobsyeruncle says:

    Well, this comedian probably would have appreciated Samsonite’s product.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnkqCEuQnm8

  25. Anonymous says:

    #38 – its not they are using it as a global campaign. I saw this ad just this week on a huge billboard outside the Sydney (Australia) domestic airport terminal. At the time I thought it was a ludicrous ad if only for the fact that most Australian’s have no idea about ice hockey. It certainly took me a while to work it out – luckily I had to wait 15 minutes for a bus.

  26. deejayqueue says:

    • Visually arresting. Shows the product doing things it was never meant to do with aplomb. Portrays the product as tough, light and strong. Able to stand up to the abuse that hockey players would put it through.

    • Of course it’s absurd that hockey players would use luggage. They also don’t play in the dark, nor are they that professionally lit, nor to my knowledge does Samsonite sponsor 2 identical rec league teams, or manufacture any sports gear. But if you’ve looked at the ad for long enough to think of all that, (say it with me now) You’re NOT the target market for this product.

    • Yes, the photoshop job is abysmal. The luggage has a completely different light source and type than the hockey players do, and they’ve pasted the Samsonite logo and wordmark on everything they possibly can, though that’s mostly to cover other brand names like CCM, Nike/Bauer etc *which they missed one, on the white player’s helmet.

    Also, on first blush, the luggage looked to me like the iconic Big Red Snow Shovel, which makes more immediate sense to be in a hockey players hands.

    I’m not seeing the perspective problems though, having shot hockey players before, I can easily see that they are all on the same plane, and having had pucks shot at my head before, I can believe the foreshortening and enlarging of a puck meant to be flying at the viewer.

    I think the ad is successful though in how it handles its hyperbole. I can see the message clearly “Our luggage is so light, strong and durable that a hockey player might choose IT instead of his regular stick.”

    Dumbest ad ever? Far from it.

    • teapot says:

      I’m not seeing the perspective problems though, having shot hockey players before, I can easily see that they are all on the same plane

      It would take a real photoshop failure to mess up a photograph of real people, on real ice, in real gear. My main problem with the perspective is that the luggage angles seem to be a little off WRT the angle of the hockey stick, and the ratio between the size of the player and the luggage seems to be inconsistent.

      I can believe the foreshortening and enlarging of a puck meant to be flying at the viewer.

      The illusion is not the problem. The question is: why is it rendered in ‘night-mode’-UFO-blue? Did the art director forget that hockey pucks are black when he/she asked for the moody noir treatment on the photoshoot?

      As to this ad’s success? Well, 3 people out of 60 comments made mention of the gorilla ad: will ~5% of people remember, let alone mention this ad in 40 years? Unlikely. Except the people who hate it. They are likely to remember it every time they see samsonite luggage henceforth.

      • deejayqueue says:

        My main problem with the perspective is that the luggage angles seem to be a little off WRT the angle of the hockey stick, and the ratio between the size of the player and the luggage seems to be inconsistent.

        Well, Yeah. So is the lighting on all the luggage (doesn’t even come close to matching in direction, intensity or even type) so yeah, it’s pretty obvious that they comped it in there.

        The question is: why is it rendered in ‘night-mode’-UFO-blue? Did the art director forget that hockey pucks are black…?

        The answer is, “Yes.” Someone vehemently defending this ad (maybe the intern who designed it) will say something like “Well light reflects off of black shiny wet rubber things and when it does it tends to look blue.” but I’m not that guy. My bet is that the puck never existed at all.

        The actual photo probably depicted the attacking player (left) had possession of the puck and was steering it away from the defending player (white) which would indicate a down-stage or away-from-camera motion. That’s why his arms are crossed like that, and that’s why he’s making a power-turn away from camera.

        The puck as it’s depicted in the ad couldn’t have come from his stick unless it was a god-awfully bad shot, which is kinda believable given he’s using luggage to play hockey with. The defender is stopping to laugh at him.

  27. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think the message is so hard to understand, particularly for folks who know anything about ice hockey. What I question is Samsonite running it in places like Belgium and and Malta, neither of which is exactly an epicenter of hockey (and in the summertime no less)….

  28. Anonymous says:

    For all the commenters who feel the ad is “dumb” or “incomprehensible” because it caused them to stare for longer than two seconds, I have some bad news. That’s exactly what we advertisers want! Also, if you understood the ad well enough to get the message, and thought the visuals or concept were compelling enough (positively or negatively) to comment on, you just made some copywriter/art director team’s week.

    What you think advertisers want–quick, believable, and straightforward message transmission so that you can move on to the next message–is NOT AT ALL WHAT WE WANT. We want you to think, to feel an emotion, and to recall all of it next time you go shopping.

    Also, worst ad ever? Ha! I wrote one yesterday that would put this to shame–it’s clear, believable, has an uncluttered product photo, provides relevant performance stats…and nobody will remember it. For the splash this ad has made in the comments, I’d say it deserves an award.

  29. Anonymous says:

    I think it would be funny to have the luggage at an airport turn into transformers as soon as its out of sight, and they all start fighting like transformers, and the samsonite luggage beats up all the other luggage. They then all transform back into bags and are shown getting back to their owners, the samsonite owner the only one not ticked off that his/her baggage got dinged up. Maybe the samsonite bag gives a little robo-wink at the end.

  30. The Mudshark says:

    While this is far from being the dumbest ad I´ve seen (the message, as others have noted, is pretty clear to me), it´s also far from being my favourite Korean ad. That title would go to this one: http://spanak.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/the_fastest_auto_focus.jpg

  31. Anonymous says:

    I don’t watch hockey.

    However I have heard that it results in a lot of injuries and I assumed that meant it was a tough sport.
    I also seem to have picked up the information somewhere that hockey pucks are hard little bits of metal that fly around at very high speeds and can damage you if they hit you.

    As I understand it you must maneuver the small bit of metal around the court using a hockey stick and then attempt to get it through the net, achieving a goal?

    Generally the scoring of points in sports is one of the more difficult aspects of the sport, hence I had assumed that this maneuvering of the hockey puck was difficult.

    Given these preconceptions when I saw the ad I assumed that they were trying to communicate that their luggage was very maneuverable because professional hockey players would choose to use it to move the puck around, one of the essential tasks for their sport and presumably one of the most difficult. At the same time I assumed they meant to communicate that the luggage was tough, thus using hockey and the luggage being used to knock the puck around, which should be something that really gives a beating.
    I felt myself confirmed in my assumptions by the text “The strongest and lightest Samsonite ever”…

    I seem to have been mistaken, as I understand it the ad is in fact a total failure? I suppose that what these idiots(notably from Asia) were actually trying to communicate is that Samsonite luggage is spacious, luxurious, and tastes like chicken. That they have failed so ludicrously in their mission is indeed cause for mirth.

    HA HA.

  32. numcrun says:

    It’s an excellent ad! Muppets.

  33. VentureFree says:

    Thanks for ruining it for me. I went out of my way to make sure that I had no idea what the amazingly annoying “Wear no pants” commercial was for specifically to rob it of it’s effectiveness, at least on myself (gotta love DVRs for making that possible). Now you had to go and state exactly who was responsible.

    I will never forgive you for that.

    Never.

  34. geekd says:

    The ad seems clear to me, the luggage is light and strong.

    What’s so obscure about that?

    • Moriarty says:

      Yeah, I agree. The luggage is tough and maneuverable. Seems clear enough.

      Doesn’t make it not dumb, but I wouldn’t call it “totally incomprehensible.”

  35. Antinous / Moderator says:

    I, for one, welcome hockey players with heavy luggage.

    • TJ S says:

      Is that some sort of innuendo?

      As for the ad, I’m undecided. I’m in the process of learning to play hockey, so I get what they’re saying here, it’s a good message. The photoshop job, on the other hand, is god-awful.

  36. Church says:

    “PS: Duffy also hates Capri pants. So there’s that.”

    Shorts or not shorts; there is no Capri.

  37. Anonymous says:

    i think it’s a pretty kool photo actually – lighten up, Don Draper!!!

    • teapot says:

      To all the whiny peeps saying this ad coveys its message, which is all it is supposed to do, I say this:

      A white full page ad with black copy reading “Samsonite luggage – Light and strong” would also convey the message, arguably even MORE clearly. Would this be a good, engaging or effective ad? Probably not.

      IMO this post is entirely justified…. I’m tired of the concept in advertising that just putting your product on screen will make me wanna buy it. The ‘sell’ of the product in advertising is no longer there. It has been totally replaced by the concept of selling me the sizzle, not the steak. Tell me why I should buy *your* steak, or I will buy the most cost effective/environmentally sustainable option.

      i think it’s a pretty kool photo actually – lighten up, Don Draper!!!

      Your use of the word ‘kool’ brings into question your authority to comment on aesthetic issues.

      The photoshop job is pretty crap in an of itself… scale and perspective are all off.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Bill I wonder, are you a hockey fan? As a Canadian, I’m exposed to the sport a great deal, and above all the character of ice hockey is one of toughness and endurance. These are exactly the sort of qualities that Samsonite wants customers to associate with its products.

    Now, perhaps the ad firm in question didn’t do its market research properly, so they didn’t realise that many people just don’t know the sport, and don’t make those (or indeed any) associations. But from my perspective, the ad is compelling and effective.

  39. JudgeDef says:

    I have no problem with this ad. It is luggage light and strong enough that you can play hockey with it. What am I missing? I am not going go out and buy any, but I am not offended. Does it smell weird or something?

  40. Anonymous says:

    I agree with geekd. The message that the luggage will take a beating is pretty clear. It makes you look again, which means more eyeball branding time.

    Maybe a better ad would have been an unscathed Samsonite suitcase being unloaded from a United flight among damaged brethren.

  41. Anonymous says:

    I understand the ad, but that doesn’t mean it’s successful. The visual is pretty stupid if you think about it. What bozo would play hockey with a piece of luggage?

    I’d rather see a sumo wrestler standing on one, while balancing another on his nose (cuz it’s that strong and that light!).

  42. MCOBigBen says:

    I thought I was going to be the only one to say it….I get this ad. I used to play hockey, and I’ve recently purchased luggage. The idea of something light enough to swing around on a stick but stiff enough to take abuse is appealing.

    Go ahead and look at my post history to see if I’m a shill, you know you want to.

  43. Apreche says:

    Luggage ad is awesome if you ask me. I don’t see many ads, but I would figure that would be perhaps the best of the year, not the worst.

  44. kfunque says:

    The concept makes sense to me too.

    But HOLY CRAP, THAT GIANT BLUE PUCK IS BIGGER THAN YOUR HEAD AND IT IS COMING FOR YOU!

  45. Ushao says:

    Count me in on the “I Get It” bandwagon. Was pretty clear cut to me. I actually like this ad. :)

  46. Andrea James says:

    Though this is a far cry from the cleverness of the classic American Tourister ad that set the bar for all luggage ads:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2ZeIoLz8FE

    I’ve seen many ads worse than this. Heck, I’ve written many ads worse than this.

  47. Anonymous says:

    Regardless of the stupidity of the Pants ads, I and my band are happy for its continued notoriety. That’s our song they’re using!

    A Poxy Boggard

  48. Anonymous says:

    I think this ad is as effective as many that we see displayed during the super bowl or other sporting events. Compare it to the capital one or bud commercials that can be distasteful. The graphics and play on themes is very creative and interesting, catching the eye of a different customer group than a pretty lady with a pretty bag.

    Kudos to the designer, and I think that the author shouldn’t make blatant assumptions about the reception of this add. Personally i’m sick of ads that show women and men prancing around in underwear or less. This is definitely not a miss as far as I’m concerned.

  49. Antinous / Moderator says:

    I just thought, “Has this vampire fad got them making blood-flavored popsicles now?”

    • MrsBug says:

      Dude, we’re on the same wavelength. I was thinking raspberry flavor, but to each his own.

      Also: Capris. I’m wearin’ them.

      Unmutual, agreed. Cartoon man needs to go far, far away.

    • Felton says:

      “Popsicle hockey”…sounds almost as naughty as “lifting the luggage.”

    • arkizzle / Moderator says:

      Bizarrely, that’s almost exactly what I thought, minus the vampires: “huh, big hockey-pops?”

  50. caldrax says:

    It’s clear and concise and it is compositionally clean and well done. I’ve seen much worse.

  51. Anonymous says:

    Yes, because playing ice hockey with LUGGAGE makes perfect sense.
    —copyranter

  52. mmarlett says:

    The _criticism_ isn’t clear or concise. It might be the dumbest criticism I’ve ever seen.

    • wrybread says:

      > The _criticism_ isn’t clear or concise. It might be the dumbest criticism I’ve ever seen.

      Lighten up! I thought exactly the opposite, that the criticism itself was hilarious and well written. Why so hostile, especially to a guest poster?

  53. Drew says:

    OK, so every single person has already said what I came here to say. For about five seconds there I thought I was clever.

  54. imag says:

    There is one thing the internet teaches me every day:

    No matter what you say – it doesn’t matter what it is – at *least* 20 percent of people will disagree with you…

    …and they will, almost all of them, post their disagreement in the Comments section ;)

  55. JDMcDonnell says:

    Actually that’s close to what we’d do with luggage in the baggage room of the airport I use to work at.

  56. Anonymous says:

    I worked on Samsonite in the eighties. We did an ad with a gorilla as a cab driver beating the crap out of a passengers luggage. Not very different. Samsonite wants you to know their luggage is strong.

  57. Andy says:

    It seemed reasonably clear to me. The worst ad I ever saw was one for Smirnoff vodka in the subway about a decade ago. Snooty copy and with the tag line “No Pretense”

    Except the phrase ‘No Pretense’ used an obvious handwriting font…

Leave a Reply