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Do Not Attempt

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"... Most of the things I write don't have much more effect on the world than giggling, so when I can make a PR company refuse to let the press review their game, I'm like, 'I did something!' It must be the same feeling an idiot gets when the words 'DO NOT ATTEMPT' appear on his television."

Describing a topic without understanding it is dangerous. Do Not Attempt.

An ad shows a man walking out of his house, diving off a cliff, and parachuting into his car.

At the bottom of the screen? "Do Not Attempt." Often co-starring with the world's favorite disclaimer: "Dramatization". Ads for cars or automotive products will often elaborate on this with "Professional driver on a closed course".

Usually the disclaimer for these is pretty clearly tongue-in-cheek. All the same, it helps to cover your butt, just in case.

Compare Don't Try This at Home, which differs from this trope in that it is about fundamentally real (albeit dangerous) stunts, whereas this trope concerns activities that are clearly not demonstrating real features or uses of the product but are there to serve the Rule of Funny or the Rule of Cool (e.g., driving your SUV underwater, towing a freight locomotive with your pickup, etc.) Also compare Do Not Do This Cool Thing, when warnings ring hollow.


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  • For what we can only assume are legal reasons, the warning will still be displayed even in footage of a driver driving normally while obeying all relevant traffic laws and not performing any stunts.
  • One car commercial shows the vehicle in question is blasted out of the top of a volcano. Sure enough, at the bottom of the screen are the words "Do not Attempt".
  • There's also one where the car goes crowdsurfing at a concert and the disclaimer says, "Always Drive On Roads, Never On People."
  • The commercial described in the first non-quoted line in this article ("An ad shows a man...") actually exists. It's a Land Rover commercial.
  • The TV commercial for Rock Band had a CGI sequence showing a band playing a song while on top of a moving car that was going at a high rate of speed, and then proceeding to jump off the car onto a nearby RV also moving at a high rate of speed, all while the words DO NOT ATTEMPT stayed at the bottom of the screen.
  • One line of commercials for Denny's restaurants had people performing stupid stunts, like trying to throw a cow or a human slingshot. At the bottom it reads, in the usual tiny white text, "Do not attempt, professional idiots".
  • There was an Emerald Nuts ad which implied a woman burned down a building, and at the bottom it said "Do not commit arson. Not even once."
  • One commercial that consists of a woman buying a new, state-of-the-art washing machine, and fantasizing about what to do with the old one. The ad shows such ridiculous stunts as rolling over it with a steamroller and launching it with an old medieval mangonel (catapult). Ayup, the words "do not attempt" were prominent. "Kids, don't take mommy and daddy's ancient siege engines and launch appliances..."
  • One advert for Dannon Light & Fit yogurt had a woman in a grocery store who has several individual containers of yogurt in her cart. She looks at them, glances around surreptitiously, and then sticks a carton up to her mouth and comically slurps it all down. In the tiny white fine print at the bottom of the screen it says "Please Pay For All Items." Was "Doing this in real-life will get you sentenced to a preposterously long time in prison" too descriptive?
  • One commercial with a bunch of physics defying CGI said at the bottom: Animated Drive On Closed Course Do Not Attempt.
  • There's a commercial for Secret brand women's deodorant in which a woman dives off a balcony in lingerie and straight into her black dress, in a greatly exaggerated demonstration of the lengths some women supposedly go to in order to avoid white streaks on dark clothing from rival deodorant brands. The fine print at the bottom of the screen advised, "Dramatization. Do Not Attempt".
  • There's a car commercial from the mid- to late '90s in which several cars are driving on the beach and then out onto the sea. (Yes, you read that right, "onto".) At the bottom of the screen were the words "Simulation. Do not drive on the ocean." (Again: on, not in.)
  • A Mercedes-Benz C-Class commercial lampshades this, featuring attorneys in the desert reading off the usual "professional driver on a closed course" and "always drive responsibly" disclaimers while getting dust blown in their faces from the unsafe driving going on around them.
  • A commercial for a medicine for kids ten-and-under with ADHD included this warning: "do not drive or operate heavy machinery while using this medicine".
  • In Italy there are commercials for McDonald's McDrive service featuring people going to the McDrive by transforming their sofas into cars, with the disclaimer: "Professional Actors. Do Not Attempt". How could I?
  • Two ladies are hiking in the woods, and cross a stream. Upon reaching the other side, a Jeep Grand Cherokee drives out of the now-revealed-to-be-deep river. "Not designed for underwater driving."
  • A UK commercial for Kelloggs' Crunchy Nut depicted a man so desperate to enjoy a bowl of the cereal that he climbed onto and rode his dog to avoid a traffic jam. After about a week of airing un-subbed, text along the bottom appeared proclaiming "DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME WITH YOUR DOG". The ad does not specify whether this applies to other people's dogs.
  • An advertisement for a Rexona deodorant emphasizes how much you move without realizing it and more importantly, how movement makes the deodorant smell better. To illustrate this they have a woman rollerblading on a heavily trafficked road somewhere while it says "Do not attempt" in the lower right corner.
  • A commercial for a vacuum cleaner showed a woman vacuuming in large, dramatic motions. At the bottom of the screen in tiny text were the words "Professional Cleaner on Closed Carpet".
  • The older commercials for the telecommunications company Vonage featured people doing Jackass-style stupid things, followed by a text that said. "People do stupid things. Paying too much for phone service shouldn't be one of them." They always had a this disclaimer at the bottom of the screen. Vonage is still around, but they have since replaced these with more...mature and reserved commercials.
  • A 2012 commercial for a Ford showed the car demonstrating its futuristic tech by taking to the air. Across the bottom of the screen read the disclaimer "Closed airspace. Professional pilot. Seriously, cars cannot fly."
  • A particularly nasty version ran as part of an Australian anti-smoking campaign. Basically, it was showing a mixture of various poisonous chemicals, but in one instance they were drunk (and then exhaled as cigarette smoke). The other variant was only slightly nicer and simply had the chemicals in a blender.
  • There's a Nissan ad that shows the car jumping from a ramp to the top of a moving commuter train. The warning reads "Do not attempt. Cars cannot drive on trains."
    • And once the car was OFF of the train, and just pulling into a parking lot, it changed to "Still professional driver on a closed course."
  • A Snickers commercial that had a bunch of guys riding ATVs and goofing off with Godzilla (who's suddenly only a bit larger than human-sized) displayed this warning. Then again, driving around in a hot desert in a rubber monster costume would be unhealthy.
    • A 2005 Russian commercial for Snickers showed guys jumping from roofs and snowboarding on frozen channels of Saint-Petersburg near the famous buildings like Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood and Saint Isaac's Cathedral, while the text on the bottom of the screen says "Do not attemp it yourself. It's not possible".
  • "Do not attempt" appeared on some airings of a Doritos ad where a high-schooler somehow squeezes all the way into a vending machine to retrieve his chips that it failed to dispense, then he requests an ambulance when he can't squeeze back out. Hopefully the warning only refers to the possibility of getting one body part stuck in the opening.
  • A Nissan ad from early 2015: "Cars can't snowboard." No, really?
  • A jingle in an Ace hardware store advertisement touting paint sample kits.
    Jingle singers: Ace is the place for a taste before you eat the whole meal! That's a metaphor, don't eat paint.
  • A 2017 Sprint Mobile commercial (part of their infamous Black Comedy ad campaign) shows man faking his own death by pushing his car off the cliff (in front of his kids) to get out of his Verizon contract. A usual fine print "do not attempt" appears on the screen during car fall, but there is another one - when his son asks "Isn't that illegal?" fine print appears "Yes. Extremely illegal."

    Anime & Manga 
  • In one chapter of Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, the titular disciple is being trained to deflect blades by practicing with fluorescent lights, with his masters reasoning that a strike that would break a light against him is equal to a sword strike that would deliver a deadly wound. Included in the first panel where he gets a light broken over his head: "(Note) This is done under the guidance of masters. It's dangerous. Never ever should you attempt this." And in the next panel (where he's getting hit again): "(Note) Seriously, don't do it."
  • Several incidents in the Hayate the Combat Butler manga have included the disclaimer, "Good boys and girls should never do this."
  • Every episode of the Cromartie High School anime adaptation began with a scene of the protagonist alone in a jail cell, with a warning that imitating the show's antics would net one a similar fate.
  • One episode of Panda Z had Pan and his grandfather trying to eat batteries (they're both robots), with Panda Z growing more and more frustrated by his inability to actually grab the batteries to eat with any known utensil. At the bottom of the screen, a continuous ticker crawl plays under the scene with helpful warnings like "Do Not Eat Batteries. Do Not Cut Batteries With a Knife. Do Not Smash Batteries. Batteries are not Edible."

  • Parodied by Dave Barry in the column "Tarts Afire," reporting a (successful) replication of the flaming strawberry Pop-Tart experiment:

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Saturday Night Live trope-naming commercial parody "Happy Fun Ball" spoofed this trope by offering "the toy sensation that's sweeping the nation!" The bulk of the "commercial" was then spent disclosing increasingly strange and worrisome information, including a caution that if the core was exposed the active ingredients should not be "touched, inhaled, or looked at", as well as giving the famous warning "Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball!"
    • It was subsequently parodied in DCTV's "Happy Red Matter Ball" sketch.

  • Aerosmith's "Amazing" music video has as its core concept two young lovers enjoying a virtual reality rendezvous. This includes the woman riding on the back of a motorcycle being driven by the man. Soon enough, the former party climbs around the still-moving motorcycle to straddle her partner face-to-face, removes both of their helmets and commences high-speed coitus. This actually aired on MTV with no disclaimer for a couple of weeks before the scene was almost completely obscured by a giant blinking message reading "ONLY SAFE IN CYBERSPACE".

  • The Goon Show: During a sequence when three characters are climbing up to a high window by standing on each other's shoulders, each person at the bottom climbs up to the top in turn, relying on gravity not noticing what they're doing:
    Greenslade: Ladies and gentlemen: The feat now being performed is extremely dangerous and should only be done on radio by experienced idiots.

  • In The Rant of this El Goonish Shive strip Dan starts out advising against attempting to perform a sleeper hold but then goes on to include flying around and being a dragon as some of the things not to try that are depicted in the comic.

    Video Games 
  • Leliana of Dragon Age: Origins was The Bard (essentially the game's code for spy/assassin) and she was betrayed, captured, tortured and (heavily implied) raped for it and tried to leave that life behind. By Inquisition she is a super bard/The Spymaster, conflicted, jaded, and can be asked about it. Leliana may even offer to teach you, which leads to a completely unromanticized portrayal of bard life with her strongly hinting not to become one.
  • In the Omake chapter of Umineko: When They Cry, "The Stakes Valentine's Day" has Ronove, the Demon Butler, baking Valentine's Day Chocolate. He suggests adding the seed of devil's trumpet and the blossom of angel's trumpet. At which point, to his mild amusement, the writers warn the viewers in green text that these things are poisonous to humans.