The Scrappy / Advertising

Adman: Of course I can save your business, Homer! You know those obnoxious commercials with two guys talking back and forth? I invented them! [Homer punches him in the face] (unfazed) Happens all the time.
The Simpsons, "Mr. Plow"

The point of advertising is to try to sell you something, but these ways are so annoying, that they are much hated by viewers.


  • Chad, The Alltel Wireless guy, is often criticized for seeming like a smug jerk while his competitors (personas of competing phone companies) seem like incompetent yet harmless nerds in comparison.
  • Arby's infamously evil Arby's Oven Mitt. Apparently so many people hated the thing because of how Uncanny Valley it looked, Arby's actually got rid of it.
  • The Atari Jaguar stands out among over-hyped consoles doomed to failure for its "do the math" advertising campaign, where it compared its disputed 64-bit processing power to the existing consoles at the time (Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo had 16, 3D0 had 32). One of the commercials had a woman speaking condescendingly to a classroom of dull-witted adults meant to represent the competition ("Some of you believe your system is the most advanced in the universe!"), but her condescension ends up rubbing off on the audience. In the end, the Jaguar flopped, and to some people's satisfaction, this is somewhat reflected in the commercial, as the teacher is reduced from a smug know-it-all to shouting frustratedly at the ad's intended Scrappy, "Clifford."
  • There was an Audi advert in the United Kingdom where an arrogant yuppie is driving an Audi, while talking about looking after number one, and how your car makes a statement about you and you want that statement to be that you're a winner, and so on. And just when the audience completely hates him and, by extension, the car, he drives it back to the showroom, gets out and says to the dealer, "Nah, not my style, mate." Message - Buy our car and you won't be this guy. Pretty clever, actually...
  • In the UK, pharmacy/beauty chain Boots made a Christmas advertisement using Ernie K Doe's "Here Come the Girls." It was so successful that from then on, the song and slogan were used in most of the chain's advertising, but became unpopular when the original song was replaced with a new, upbeat pop version by girl band Sugababes and the adverts reworked to focus on a recurring group of "girls" in sitcom-style sketches. The adverts were accused of being annoying, unfunny and sexist towards both men and women, and the actresses who appeared in them became Scrappies nationwide, particularly comedienne Barunka O'Shaughnessy, who was usually the leading figure in most of the ads. In 2011 they were voted among the top 20 most annoying commercials in an annual market research study of the advertising industry, and despite Boots' then head of advertising stating that the campaign had a lot more "creative potential", it was dropped and the chain completely re-branded less than a year later.
  • Burger King had their infamous "Where's Herb?" campaign of the mid-1980s. A kind of advertising Anti-Sue (Herb was a stereotypical nerd, the only man in the U.S. — maybe the world — who hadn't eaten a Whopper), his campaign was never very successful and issues with a contest where a person who spotted Herb visiting a Burger King would win $5,000 didn't help. (A 16-year old Alabama boy won; BK denied him the prize since he was not the minimum age to participate; his parents complained to their state representative, eventually causing the Alabama State Senate to pass a resolution condemning BK's action.)
  • For Canadians, the infamous "Canadian Tire Guy" became so widely reviled and mocked by such satire shows as This Hour Has 22 Minutes that he was replaced in 2006 by different ads. He was intended to be a friendly, helpful "everyman" character, but he was interpreted as smug and intrusive by the general public.
  • Cara Confused, a cartoon character who was the face of UK car insurance comparison website Confused.com. Viewers mocked the bizarre appearance of the character (who in turn was based on the company's original logo) and the way the adverts appeared to show her pulling out random items (from microphones to cars to a HOUSE) from under her skirt— not helped by the way the company tried to excuse this by saying the objects came from her "magic pocket". Viewers also disliked her singing voice— performed by professional West End singer Louise Dearman— and in her later commercials, her chest becoming more defined and noticeably...bouncier, which came off as simply weird rather than attractive. One of Cara's adverts featuring a cover of "Somebody to Love" by Queen was eventually pulled when it emerged that the commercial was leading people to think Confused.com was a dating site. The campaign was finally dropped and Cara was replaced with a new mascot.
  • In the Howie Long Chevrolet commercials that ran from late 2008 through 2009, Long simply came off as a jerkass talking down to the viewers. The most famous are a trio of ads where Long mocks the drivers of competitive pickup trucks because they are driving trucks that offer features and equipment that the Chevrolet does not. The reactions to these ads (and the whole campaign) in general was so overwhelmingly negative that Long was quickly dismissed, replaced by Tim Allen for the new "Chevy Runs Deep" campaign that is currently in use.
  • Dee Lincoln, founder of the Del Frisco Double Eagle steakhouse chain in Dallas, did her own radio ads - much to the chagrin of radio listeners due to her Fran Drescher-like voice. (Like Drescher, she wasn't a bad-looking woman in person, but that sadly doesn't translate over radio.)
  • Welsh pop singer Duffy became a Scrappy to viewers all over Britain when she appeared in an infamous and widely mocked advert for Diet Coke. The ad showed her stealing a bicycle and riding through a supermarket while singing a horrible tuneless version of a Sammy Davis Jr hit. Duffy was meant to have been the face of Diet Coke throughout its "Hello You" campaign, but the advert was so poorly received that she was dropped.
  • Domino's Pizza:
    • Andy, a weird puppet-bear thing who totally gained potential consumers' confidence by slacking off at work and yet returning for several more commercials. At least Domino's showed mercy and stopped.
    • For Domino's in the 80's this was the Noid. The character design was intended to be annoying ("Noid", "annoying", get it?) but the designers went a little overboard with a giggling Foil who's voice sounded like a guy sucking helium. Kenneth Lamar Noid, a mentally-disturbed man, convinced that the character was an attack on him, held the staff of a Domino's in the Atlanta area hostage for five hours on January 30, 1989, but finally surrendered to police. Although, that didn't kill the Noid off—it was Kenneth's suicide in 1995 that did.
  • Dear lord, the woman in the notorious HeadOn commercials. Some viewers truly believe some Evil Genius thought this up, seeing as it may be the only commercial that seems to cause the medical condition its product claims to prevent.
  • Dr. Pepper introduced Dr. Pepper Ten in 2011 as a low calorie soda for men. Their main advertisement featured an obnoxious pitchman who acted out scenes from a faux-action movie, telling female viewers that they couldn't appreciate this soda with its "ten manly calories," ending with a tagline that the soda was "Not for women." Dr. Pepper eventually pulled the ad after negative backlash, reissuing the product with more gender-neutral branding.
  • Erin Esurance was once quite popular, but by 2010 (six years after her debut) she had become pretty unpopular, doing worse than Clippy in a survey of corporate mascots. Oh, she did have fans... the wrong kind, that is. Thanks to her attractive design, she gained a Rule 34 following, with pornographic fanart of her frequently showing up alongside official images on Google, stigmatizing the character and forcing Esurance to get rid of her to avoid association with pornography.
  • First National Bank (FNB) from South Africa had a series of radio adverts starring 'Steve', a constantly flustered call-centre agent who worked for the woe-fully inept BLEEP! Bank (name is bleeped out like its a curse word, as it's illegal to defame another product in advertising in South Africa). It should be noted that the character did not start out as a scrappy. The adverts were fairly clever in that they had a Myth Arc of sorts with Steve, at first, calling random customers to get them to join Bleep! Bank, only to have them tell him how awesome FNB is, and him eventually secretly going over to FNB while still working at Bleep! Bank and trying to keep it secret from his superiors. Though Steve could reasonably be considered a small pop-culture figure he eventually became a Scrappy for non-FNB clients who found the later adverts extremely condescending towards them. Others were put off by his constant use in radio adverts. When FNB took a break from Steve they had a condescending American narrator extol the virtues of FNB and why clients for other banks foolishly are losing out, which arguably irritated non-FNB clients even more. Later they tried to revive Steve by making him a flustered call-centre agent again, but that only annoyed FNB clients and fans, who felt that the character had grown and taking him back to square one was stupid. Eventually FNB stopped using him completely.
  • GEICO has a reputation for running even its most popular campaigns into the ground through endless repetition. For example, Peter Pan from GEICO's new "It's What You Do" ad campaign which a still-young Peter attending his class reunion (the class of 1965) and behaving obnoxiously towards his aged former classmates. Specific disdain is typically held for Peter's opening explanation of "Phiiilll!" as he flies over to greet his fellow alumni, mainly because it occurs so early in the commercial with little to no prior warning.
  • GO COMPAAARE! GO COMPAAAARE! Do nothing rash, conserve your cash at GO COMPAAARE! Everyone in the U.K. cheered when Jimmy Carr gave him quite the nutshot in this video. It was bad enough when the (thankfully fictitious) opera singer Gio Compario was just singing in people's houses; then he was doing it in the Stone Ages, in various countries, in the sky, as a woman... Go Compare actually got the hint about this one, however, so their "Saving the Nation" follow-up campaign has him blown up, tortured, punched or otherwise abused by various celebrities. For instance, Stephen Hawking created a black hole just to suck the spokesperson out of existence. One of these gave him a Sympathy for the Devil moment, portraying him as an Iron Buttmonkey subjected to a ton of physical abuse for just trying to tell people about car insurance. However, much like the audience, the woman he's talking to has clearly lost all sympathy for him.
  • Of course, as bad as Gio was, these guys were even worse, and viewers never got to see them sucked into black holes. (What in the world does opera singing have to do with cash settlements and annuities?) This one has even gone through some Memetic Mutation with parodies like this one.)
  • The rather distinctive-looking Howard Brown used to be the face of the advertising for Halifax (a major UK bank.) He appeared in a series of commercials singing various pop hits with new lyrics about banking. The ads became wildly popular but also attracted a ton of anti-fans who became sick of Brown's face and the awful music. Brown then started taking lesser roles in the ads and the main song was performed by someone else; particular loathing was directed at an ad that featured a fat woman instead. In 2008 it was decided to drop the musical adverts because of the recession, and the Hatedom breathed a sigh of relief. And then they go and make new adverts with particularly loathsome employees "rapping" along to Vanilla Ice. If this is the price of scraping out of recession, well...
  • The man coming into the parties in those Heineken commercials enters by greeting foreigners in condescendingly westernized gestures and shows up everyone he sees at whatever they're most talented in. In one commercial, he jumps onstage and decides to show up the band playing the music. In the other, he leaps through a Japanese-style paper door (essentially property damage to the high-class establishment) like it was designed for that. Essentially, he's being as smug as smug can get in front of a number of wealthy and/or important looking people and becomes the center of the party thanks to it.
  • The kid in hello.ie ad. Basically, he stands there teaching a class of adults about how to make savings on their mortgage protection in an extremely condescending manner. Many viewers wanted to punch him through the screen.
  • An ad for Invisilign (transparent alternative to braces) features twin teenagers. One gets to wear Invisilign while the other is stuck with regular braces. While The Unfavorite laments her lot in life, her sister gleefully rubs it in, and is shown taking unflattering pictures, stealing her snacks and generally being an unpleasant little monster.
  • Keith Stone from the Keystone Light beer commercials. The ads play him up as being every bit as smooth as the beer he's shilling, but he looks and sounds like the sort of dude whose last words will surely be "Hey, hold my beer and watch this!"
  • Macintosh:
    • The "Mac" of Apple's "Mac and PC" ads, largely due to the Strawman Product nature of the ads. In the early ads, the Mac guy came across as such a smug and arrogant jerk that it was actually turning people away from Apple computers. Apple responded by attempting to make the Mac guy more likable and the PC guy more of a jerk, but people still find the PC guy to be a lot more tolerable than the Mac guy.
    • The UK version of the ads especially made the Mac guy look like a jerk as they starred the comedy duo Mitchell and Webb, who are known for starring in Peep Show. In the words of Charlie Brooker, "Mitchell plays a repressed, neurotic underdog, and Webb plays a selfish, self-regarding poseur... So when you see the ads, you think, 'PCs are a bit rubbish yet ultimately lovable, whereas Macs are just smug, preening tossers.'"
  • Metro PCS has commercials starring a stereotypical Indian guy, who's best described as an Ethnic Scrappy. It also doesn't help that one Metro PCS ad continually states "Period Power".
  • The Miller Lite commercials with the "Man Up" slogan. Basically, the commercials are supposed to indicate that drinking the beer indicates manliness and drinking any other light beer means you're an unmanly wimp. In reality, however, the Miller drinkers come off as smug jerks and the "other" brand drinkers come off as Camp Gay stereotypes.
  • Jeff, Dave and especially Brian representing MoneySupermarket.com. Following a campaign with vague similarities to the aforementioned Go Compare adverts, the three have been able to pull off anything they want purely because they used the site and "feel epic". Brian is the worst, strutting around Vegas and tossing a coin into a slot machine which spills out winnings, entering backstage to a performance, which he then hijacks, completely ignoring his family. The hammy voiceover doesn't help at all.
  • Ms. Brown from the M&M commercials, an annoying Smug Snake who has willingly gotten the Red M&M eaten in a way that is very reminiscent of a rape.
  • The "Puppymonkeybaby" for Mountain Dew: Kickstart that debuted during Super Bowl 50. It's a disturbing-looking hellspawn with the torso and tail of a monkey, the face of a dog, and the legs of a human infant, and moves around in an unnatural, jittering way while chanting its own name. It received tons of social media buzz when it was first revealed, the vast majority of which was people complaining about how creepy the thing was.
  • Halloooo! Frank Walker from National Tiiiiles wants to know why he's hated by every Australian with a radio and is still somehow in business.
  • Nationwide Insurance has "The World's Greatest Spokesperson In The World", a guy wearing a telephone on his jacket who is literally able to do anything. He is totally aware of how awesome he is (or how awesome he is supposed to be, at least) and is not afraid to brag about it. Strangely, the customers he addresses are only impressed by his gimmicks (Impossible Shadow Puppets to represent bundling, disappearing into thin air to demonstrate "vanishing deductible", etc) and are never shown actually buying the insurance.
  • Hallie Eisenberg — or, as people liked to call her at the end of The '90s, the Pepsi Girl. The primary gimmick of her ads was her extreme little-girl cuteness being undercut by her suddenly speaking in a tough guy voice (Joe Pesci's in the original ad) when she couldn't get a Pepsi. Not bad once, but as with most ads in which kids doing benignly unkiddy things is the gimmick, it got old fast.
  • Ads for the "Planet Honda" car dealership in Jersey City feature the most stereotypically annoying, loudmouthed car dealer guy, who MUST SCREAM EVERY WORD LIKE THIS!!!
    • Kia has the similarly loudmouthed Jim Sipala, who ends every radio commercial with how he wants to see ya in a Kia.
  • Progressive's Auto Insurance Box. While Flo at least had a following (which may still exist, albeit in lessened numbers), the box was unpopular from day for being such a narcissistic, arrogant douchebag. Even worse, Progressive became well aware of how the fans feel about him and cranked his personality and popularity In-Universe Up to 11, putting him into unfortunate territory.
  • Marcus Rivers, the PlayStation Portable Spokesman, who was described generously by Jim Sterling as a "flapping gargoyle". Given he was dropped about a month after he was introduced, clearly Sony got the message.
  • Windowman from SafeStyle Windows "YE BAAAAH WUN!!!!!!!!!! YE GET WUN FREE!!!!!!!!!! AH SEZ YE BAAAAH WUN!!!!!!!!!! YE GET WUN FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!" using some bloke from Coronation Street and some comedy duo not seen on TV since The '80s is less annoying, but only slightly.
  • Scion released a series of commercials where Zeus praised its upcoming lineup of cars. Unfortunately, they decided to portray Zeus as a lazy slacker straight out of a Seth Rogen movie who refers to himself as "the god of awesome" and sings using AutoTuning. This turned what was obviously an attempt at creating a new Memetic Badass into an obnoxious and self-obsessed jerk.
  • The Six Flags old guy midget as explained here.
  • Citizens of the greater Los Angeles area may be familiar with a certain mattress salesman for Sit'n'Sleep Mattress Center that screams, in the most annoying voice possible, the phrases "You're killing me, Larry!" and "We'll beat anyone's advertised price or YOUR mattress is FREEEEEEEE!!!111!", the latter being particularly stupid because the emphasis is on "free" but why would they EVER give it to you for free if the advertised price is more than 0?
  • Sprint recently hired Paul Marcarelli, Verizon's "Can You Hear Me Now" guy. However, people consider him a traitorous douche.
  • The guys in the Staples commercials that yells "WOW! THAT'S A LOW PRICE!"
  • From State Farm, there's this creepy looking mix of Tom Cruise and a mannequin whose only purpose is to follow a group of people around in hopes that they do something sweet, charming or wholesome so that he can pull a Fourth Wall Greeting and talk about how great State Farm is, all the while implying that using State Farm is the cause of all the good things that happened to this group. This guy always comes off as an annoying, arrogant, Jerkass. Thankfully, these ads have stopped airing.
  • The Talking Hat in the Steak N' Shake ads, along with the H.H. Gregg Ad (as in, the character is ACTUALLY a rolled up advertisement) are both characters who try to be lovable, friendly, and witty. They tend to get on peoples nerves with their fast paced talking style, however. Not surprisingly, both companies use the same ad agency, and one of them, if not both, is changing over to a new agency based on how ill-received the ads have been.
  • Jared Fogle from the Subway ads always gave off this vibe. While it is pretty remarkable that he lost a ton of weight while eating their sandwiches (in addition to the actual dieting and exercising he was no doubt also doing), some appreciable level of charisma and appeal is needed to make an effective pitchman, and those were qualities Mr. Fogle unfortunately simply did not possess. Subway even had Peter Griffin issue a Take That! to Jared after he stopped plugging for them. Then came the revelation in 2015 that he was a child molester, killing whatever positive opinions the general public still had about him.
  • The monkey from Subway Canada deserves a mention, mainly because it has nothing to do with the company, and it's very ugly.
  • Carly Foulkes, also known as the "T-Mobile Girl" comes off as a Purity Sue in most of her commercials, paired up with an incompetent owner of an inferior phone service, before they're informed of the superiority of T-Mobile. More recent commercials abandon this and simply have Foulks in a more Ms. Fanservice role clad in skin tight leather riding a motorcycle.
  • Riley Thomas Stewart's character in the 2010 Toyota Highlander ad campaign. To some (like this Cracked article's writer) he's a smug Spoiled Brat. Airing around 2010-2011, the adverts featured Riley calling people/his parents "lame", "dorky" or a "geek family" on the horrendous basis that they're driving older or not as "classy" cars instead of the Toyota Highlander, and ending the commercial with the phrase, "Just because you're a parent doesn't mean you have to be lame". Needless to say, most people couldn't stand the spoiled, materialistic, entitled twerp's attitude towards his parents or shallow way of judging people.
  • Aaron Priceman a.k.a. "Mr. Caffeine", who hosted Ubisoft's press conference at E3 2011. Virtually everyone hated his shtick and considered it the low point of the entire expo.
  • Wendy's has struggled whenever they've tried mascots and spokespeople outside of their founder, Dave Thomas (who died in 2002).
    • Back in the Eighties, the old lady that yelled "Where's the Beef?" was a funny joke that got old quickly. When it got to the point that presidential candidates used it as a punchline during the 1984 election, the public's tolerance towards the ads wore thin. There's even a reference on The Simpsons where it is used as an example for the best way to get rid of an annoying advertisement.
    • Their first post-Dave Thomas mascot was Mr. Wendy, "Wendy's Unofficial Spokesman," an annoying twit who would randomly scream insults at people eating non-Wendy's food and demand that they eat Wendy's instead. Occasionally, he'd be chased away by embarrassed Wendy's employees in, presumably, a feeble attempt at meta humor. This campaign was so ill-received, it was actually blamed for a significant dip in Wendy's sales. Mr. Wendy was retired in November 2004, less than a year after his introduction.
    • More recently were the two guys eating Frosties, who suddenly take note of its texture and declare "something that's not a solid or a liquid can only be a soquid!" (apparently they never heard of the word "semisolid") along with dubbing the spoon the frosty spoon, or "fpoon" and acting like this was a huge discovery on par with the cure for cancer. Mercifully, Wendy's got the memo and these guys vanished without a trace after only two ads.
  • The beer commercials featuring the super-snarky female bartender mocking patrons for their skinny jeans, man-bags and tramp-stamp tattoos. Maybe she's on to something about these things being undignified, but she should have the sense to know that acting like a condescending bitch to her customers - whose tips she depends on for her livelihood - is not a very smart thing to do.
  • Perhaps a more obscure example would be Dr. Rabbit, an anthropomorphic rabbit dentist appearing in several animated educational children's videos on oral hygiene released by Colgate to advertise their products to younger audiences. Albeit he isn't as egregious or notorious an example as others listed, Dr. Rabbit is infamous for his overblown obsession with cavity prevention and the campiness of his movies, mainly with older viewers, ascending to notoriety as a popular YouTube Poop meme.
  • The Spongmonkeys from the Quiznos commercials. The horrifyingly ugly (and not the Ugly Cute kind, AT ALL) offspring of the Klasky-Csupo "SSF" logo and deformed, radiated rats, they also sing a HORRIBLE song about how much they like Quizno's subs.
  • In this advert for Gordon's Gin the character played by Philip Glenister basically trades off his most famous role as the tough cop Gene Hunt from Life on Mars - he is meant to come across as a plain-spoken rough diamond, puncturing the pretensions of the wine conoisseur. Instead to many viewers he comes across as a bully, verbally slapping down someone who had done nothing to him.
  • Mr. Bag in advertisements for Checkers & Rally's drive-in restaurants. Once again in the same way as Steak & Shake's Bag and H.H. Gregg's h.h, he was supposed to be a very friendly and upbeat character, but did nothing but wisecrack with annoying jokes and a voice too fast to understand with a Chris Rock sound-alike.
  • The Energizer Bunny fell into this for a while, especially during the 90s. The commercials at the time typically depicted some important battery-powered device failing, while the signature pink bunny plowed through the scene pounding a drum, with the promise that it will "keep going, and going, and going...". Many viewers found the bunny obnoxious, presumably because the victims of failure due to cheap batteries were mocked with a drive-by drumming - subtly implying that you're an asshole who deserved dud batteries for not using Energizer. At one point a "Worst Commercials on TV" special resulted in a viewer vote of the Energizer Bunny as most hated mascot - ending with a doll of the bunny being stuffed into a blender and stopped for good. The perpetual motion bunny made an image recovery after he stopped being portrayed as such a dick.


Alternative Title(s): Spokes Sue

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/TheScrappy/Advertising