Don't buy our product. No really, don't. It costs a lot, looks like the back end of a geriatric warthog, guzzles fuel by the gallon, tastes of stale cardboard and will make you look like a fool in front of the ladies. This might well be the worst product ever.
At least, that's what these people say. Do you agree? Perhaps you should try it for yourself and see what the controversy is about!
Yes, while most commercials are based around making it look like the product is the best thing under the sun, a rare few accept that the thing they advertise is not universally loved. This can be done as a Take That! against their detractors, or to give the product that "lovable underdog" image, or the impression of genuine honesty - at least they're not lying about how good they are, right?
May function as Schmuck Bait or Reverse Psychology. Compare with Commercial Switcheroo (where the crappiness of the product is only in contrast to the real thing being advertised), Never Needs Sharpening (where the flaw is spun into a supposed asset) and Our Slogan Is Terrible (fictional slogans that do little to advertise their product). If the product or service really is as bad as this trope is claiming, they may be trying to invoke No Such Thing as Bad Publicity. Contrast with We Don't Suck Anymore, where the advertiser admits that its product used to suck. Asbestos-Free Cereal is when they imply the competition's product sucks more than they do. Not to be confused with Reverse Psycho.
- "Oh, the disadvantages of the new Benson & Hedges 100's"
- Scion once embraced the most common complaint leveled against their cars (the boxiness) with a series of "Love it or Loathe it" ads. Funny they didn't run for long.
- Marmite advertises itself with the phrase "You either love it or hate it". Some of their ads have included a homeless man throwing away a sandwich because it had Marmite in it, and a guy gagging and retching after kissing his girlfriend because she's been eating Marmite. Before that they had an "I hate Marmite" version of their "My mate Marmite" adverts.
- Grape Nuts cereal has long played up the "people will think there's something wrong with you if you eat this" angle, then go on to boast that consumers won't even hear the criticism thanks to the cereal's crunchiness.
- One vitamin drink advertised itself as tasting disgusting. One ad had a blindfolded man drinking it, and a... sample from a puddle in the men's room. He said 'I can't tell the difference. Must be made by the same people.'
- In Finland one magazine advertising campaign for blue cheese said "Some people lust for it all the time..." on one page, and "...some hate it with passion" on the next.
- Snapple! Proud to be the #3 drink brand in America (behind, it's implied, Coke and Pepsi), because unlike #1 and #2, 3 understands that not everyone likes the same thing (hence all the flavors).
- Similarly, back in The '60s, Avis was #2 in the car rental business (behind Hertz), and proudly advertised this with their slogan "We're #2, so we try harder." Until recently, they still used 'We Try Harder' as a slogan, though have dropped to third beneath Enterprise.
- The old Norwegian soft drink Solo came up with an ad campaign that some of its detractors called "Losers' Advertising" for its Self-Deprecation and Brutal Honesty in cynically pointing out that unlike all those other miraculous soft drinks on the market, Solo can't solve your problems, won't improve your life, and is basically nothing but an orange-flavored carbonated beverage.
- For instance, an opera singer is screeching terribly off-key in an awful scratchy voice until she takes a big swig of Solo... and then she goes on torturing the song (and our ears) the same way she was before.
- In another, a marathon biker is losing the race badly until he takes a swig of Solo... and then even feeble old senior citizens and little kids (on tricycles) continue to outrace him.
- A man is out fishing with his son when the boat's motor fails. He tries repeatedly to start it until he takes a swig of his son's Solo... And then the motor *does* start, only to fall off the boat.
- A gal is sitting alone at a table flirting and trying to catch the attention of a handsome fellow at another table while drinking her Solo... and then in walks his boyfriend and joins him at the table.
- Sprite's "Obey Your Thirst" ads ran on this trope, showing that it won't give you a wonderful life, you won't be any more popular with the girls than before, and you won't become an awesomely X-TREME skateboarder, because it was just plain lemon-lime soda.
- An ad for UK soft drink Tango had a character named Gary talking about how the drink ruined his life. "Too much Tango made me think I was a ninja. But I'm not. I'm just Gary."
- Carl's Jr.'s (or Hardee's, depending on where you live) slogan, "If it doesn't get all over the place, it doesn't belong in your face," does in fact point out that their burgers are sloppy and very messy.
- "Buckley's. It tastes awful. And it works."
- "Buckley's. It's #1, but it tastes like #2."
- The accompanying television commercials show a montage of people reacting to the taste of the cough syrup, some of them looking like they are going to heave.
- Other commercials feature what are apparently actual letters written to the Buckley's company, read by actual employees. One of them featured a woman reading a letter, only to make an incredulous face when she reaches the end: "And I have to tell you... I like the taste?" She drops the letter and addresses the camera. "Until now, we'd only heard about people like you."
- TV commercials and print ads for Brown & Haley Mountain Bars featured people recoiling in horror from the product with the slogan "They're only ugly until you taste them."
- Microsoft had a campaign like this for Windows Vista. The problem being, even in acknowledging that everybody thinks Vista sucks, they still come off as arrogant, with ad banner slogans like "At one time, everybody thought the world was flat. Get the facts on Windows Vista."
- Around the time Office XP came out, Microsoft ran a series of Flash cartoons in its website mocking the much-hated paperclip-shaped default assistant in Microsoft Word, and explaining how he was going away in the next version of Office (to the relief of the other characters).
- One ad campaign for a brand of Aojiru in Japan featured the tagline, "Horrible! I'll have another one."
- Used in recent ads for UK breakfast cereal "Oats & More"; the slogan is "You won't like it", the idea being that people who taste it try to convince others not to have any, so there's more for them.
- This is the same technique used for Oatmeal Crisp commercials in the US. Kids ask their parents about the cereal, and the parents, who know the kids will eat it all if they taste it, stress how healthy and non-sugary it is, and keep telling them they'll hate it. The kids are usually undeterred.
- Other Oatmeal Crisp commercials feature oatmeal lovers saying that Oatmeal Crisp isn't real oatmeal, and therefore worthless. Then they take a bite and say they love it. Still, "It's not oatmeal!"
- The whole point of most of the Arch Deluxe commercials was "Kids think this burger is nasty"; adults were supposed to assume that they should love it. (This was one reason the product and the multi-million dollar advertisement campaign failed.)
- Apple Jacks commercials revolve around "No, it doesn't taste like apples... and this confuses grownups!" as a reason that kids should love it. For extra Fridge Logic, it DOES taste like apples. It's got little dried apple bits stuck right onto the cereal. It's listed right there in the ingredients.
- Miller ran an ad suggesting that men under thirty hated their beer in order to pitch it as a product for sophisticated, discerning consumers.
- In what might be a Parody Commercial, the new ad campaign for casual dining restaurant Ruby Tuesday. In the first, they make the claim that the "sea of sameness" in the casual dining industry caused them to demolish a competing restaurant by mistake. In a more recent commercial, they announce their changes which will separate them from other restaurants, including such revolutionary changes as switching from gaudy round-shaded lamps to gaudy square-shaded lamps. We're still not sure if these are meant to be serious, subversive, or just stupid.
- Old Spice men's products run ads that play up the brand's (perceived) lameness, with Bruce Campbell doing a lounge act and Neil Patrick Harris saying "I used to be a doctor for pretends."
- An ad attempting to introduce guava juice to the Australian market had a slogan that was something like "Looks disgusting. Tastes delicious".
- Thrills is a Canadian brand chewing gum which is flavored with rosewater, giving it a distinctive floral taste that detractors frequently describe as soapy. Eventually, the company embraced this, printing "It still tastes like soap!" right on the packaging.
- The Canadian music channel MuchMusic periodically ran self-deprecating commercials in the 90s. One such ad showed clips of people — most of them notably older than the target demographic — saying how much they disliked the channel, followed by the slogan "MuchMusic. "Not everyone's cup of tea." Another commercial invited applications for internships by showing a hapless young intern being "accepted as part of the team" (the other staff mock him behind his back) and "given important responsibilities" (like cleaning toilets).
- In Australia in the early 2000s, Volvo made TV ads appropriating the often-heard phrase "Bloody Volvo driver!"
- Another Australian example — the Picnic chocolate bar. The main slogan was "Deliciously Ugly" — because it is delicious but, to be frank, looks almost exactly like a turd.note Other slogans seen on billboards included "The Reason Wrappers Were Invented", "It Has A Good Personality", and "Tonsil Mud Wrestling" (bizarre, yes).
- Another Australian example is Rivers advertising their crocs, saying things like "Now the whole family can look ugly together".
- Listerine antiseptic mouthwash famously used the slogan "The taste you hate, twice a day" before eventually introducing a mint flavored variation. A later commercial still admitted the unpleasantness of the product, featuring a voice-over encouraging a wincing man to endure the burning sensation of the mouthwash for thirty seconds. Because "You can handle it. Germs can't!"
- Another commercial from the late 70s has a gentleman recruited to tell what he thinks of the product, which he does in forced niceties, only to be cut off short. He then tells what he really thinks—"It works, but it tastes crummy!!"
- One ad for Skoda when they were being reintroduced and made cool had a man looking for his car in a car park, and being met by another man who told him in a horrified voice that the car had been vandalized: "I'm so sorry... they stuck a Skoda badge on it." The campaign slogan was "It's a Skoda. Honest."
- Dr. Pepper, what's the worst that could happen? Drink this; it'll ruin your life. This one's essentially a case of taking the consequences so far so no-one could possibly take it seriously.
- Rudy's Barb-B-Q: "Worst Bar-B-Q in Texas!" This is actually a sort of sarcastic joke. Legend has it that a woman who had apparently not eaten at or heard of Rudy's, and asked the cashier/pit boss something along the lines of, "Is this any good?" with a very rude tone. The cashier/pit boss was not very impressed, and sarcastically replied, "No, it's the worst Bar-B-Q in Texas." The woman left at that!
- And in a similar vein, the now-defunct Tangerine Cafe in Louisville proudly advertised itself as having the "Worst Food in Kentucky".
- A roast chicken chain in the Philippines named Uling Roasters (lit. Charcoal Roasters), went for a counter-intuitive way of marketing their food with the slogan "Di raw masyadong masarap pero OK na," ("They say it doesn't taste as good but it may do").
- A similarly honest and self-deprecating tagline was used by a buko pie shop, using a variation of the above slogan, "Hindi masyadong masarap pero OK na." ("It's not too tasty, but it's OK.")
- Stone Brewing Company gets a lot of mileage out of advertising that you probably won't like their beer because it's for elite, hard-core beer drinkers only. Their main line is called Arrogant Bastard Ale. The label says "You're not worthy."
- The UK television channel E4 routinely mocks the shows and movies it advertises in its promos (voiced by Patrick Allen and, following his death, Peter Dickson), making fun of the plot and montaging character lines to this effect. One such promo features a redubbing of the Ghostbusters theme, implying that everyone has already seen the movie and should only watch it again if they have nothing better to do. They even go so far as to suggest renting a DVD or going to the pub instead. Another for the series How I Met Your Mother implies that it is simply a rip-off of Friends.
- Red Stripe: The beer in the ugly bottle that makes you look good in comparison, you don't even have to drink it, you just look better holding it.
- Bullfrog Power has recently started an ad campaign whose motto is "Pay more for energy." The idea being that you pay more to help the environment, and it does cost more, but really... "use us because we're more expensive"?
- Robert Guillaume used to do ads for Florida grapefruit juice saying "It's good for you, but nobody likes the taste. Well now there's New and Improved..."
- For a Columbia, South Carolina peanut store: "Cromer's, Guaranteed Worst In Town!" They've used this tagline since The Great Depression. Funnily enough, the tag actually came from a competitor who was bashing them to a customer; the proprietor of Cromer's heard about it and adopted it out of sheer cheek. The competitor has long since gone out of business.
- There's a restaurant in Cleveland called Night Town which used to have radio ads that said "Not a great restaurant, but consider the alternatives."
- A restaurant in Amsterdam reads "Mister Coco's: Lousy Food and Warm Beer"!
- There's a Canadian bar called Squirrel Toothed Alice's with a similar slogan.
- Which is also shared by one Ryan's Roadhouse in St. Johns, Michigan.
- Ed Debevic's Restaurant in Chicago is a retro diner with every member of the waitstaff acting like snarky jerkasses. Their two main advertising slogans are "Eat and Get Out" and "Good Food, Fresh Service".
- Miracle Whip has a commercial featuring celebrities which love Miracle Whip and celebrities who think it's disgusting.
- There's an ad for Orbit gum that implies that using the product will give one's girlfriend the impression that one is cheating on her, possibly with a farm animal.
- Domino's has ads about kids hating their specialty pizzas to advertise an added medium pizza.
- This 1989 commercial for Coco Wheats describes the cereal as being terrifyingly ugly, to the point where children only eat it blindfolded or in the dark.
- A commercial for Meijer (a Midwestern big-box chain a bit like Walmart, but less evil) features a kid first tasting the "national-brand spinach", going "eww, yuck!", then tasting the Meijer-brand spinach...and going "eww, yuck!" The tagline is: The only difference is the price.
- The Hans Brinker Budget Hotel in Amsterdam claims to be the "worst hotel in the world", boasting about its uncleanliness and lack of facilities.
- For a time in Australia, Sultana Brannote ran ads that showed parents keeping the Sultana Bran for themselves by telling their kids "You won't like it". A cute enough premise for an ad, but for some reason they adopted "You Won't Like It" as the official slogan.
- In the 60s, Volkswagen ran a series of ads in the US making fun of the VW Beetle. These had taglines like "Think small," and "0 to 60? Yes." They also subverted this in a print ad showing the car captioned with LEMON, and then explaining underneath that the car pictured had a dented piece of interior trim, and the VW quality standards would not let it leave the factory like that.
- It's fairly common for greasy diners/tourist trap restaurants to openly serve enormous, fatty burgers with names like "the heart attack combo" or "the artery-clogger." Similarly, sassy restaurants will sometimes advertise particularly decadent desserts with taglines like "the diet begins tomorrow."
- It's still debated whether the Double Entendre for the UK vacuum cleaner slogan "Nothing sucks like an Electrolux" was intentional.
- Come in and try the worst meatball sandwich that one guy on Yelp ever had in his life!
- Schweppes used to use the slogan "The soft drink kids don't like."
- Burger King produced a TV ad of a time-lapse shot of a Whopper growing moldy and disgusting, and then telling the viewer that they're eliminating artificial preservatives from their products and need to make sure everything is fresh.
- A UK ad for Philidelphia cream cheese with Cadbury chocolate had Jennifer Saunders reacting the way most people would to the very concept, until she tried some to prove her point. While still trying to cling to her outrage, the worst she could describe it as was "unusual", and she claimed she now "had" to finish it. The slogan was "Chocolate Philly? Don't be silly!"
- In Philadelphia and the surrounding areas there are ads for the jeweler Steven Singer that say "I hate Steven Singer".
- Taken literally and played straight with a memetic sign placed outside vacuum retailer Everett Vacuum.
Everett Vacuum: "Everything We Sell Sucks"
- Downplayed in a commercial for Bob's Discount Furniture where kids excitedly open giant presents, only to get upset when they realize the presents are low-price furniture. The furniture itself is still depicted as quality for adults, however - as the narrator says, "Kids just don't understand."
- An ad for Lunchables Uploaded makes fun of the product's Totally Radical stance by having Malcolm McDowell play a teenager, complete with slang that Malcolm screws up, to the production crew's annoyance.
- Played with in a Spotify ad for Samsung, which quotes a Reddit user talking about how much he hates his new phone... not because it's bad, but because everybody thinks the phone is so cool that they always bother him with questions about it.
- At least one personal-injury attorney boasts that he is "not nice", and is hated by insurance companies.
- An ad campaign for Takis used the slogan "Don't eat Takis, they're too [spicy/crunchy/intense]."
- The reviews on the Blu-ray of Ninja Slayer say it all. "I dare you to watch" indeed...
- "LOL NO."
- "Hot garbage."
- "This is easily one of the worst shows Funimation has ever licensed, maybe even THE worst."
- The official write-up printed on Discotek Media's DVD release of Chargeman Ken! makes no bones about the show's "strange artwork, clumsy animation, and fantastically inept stories...some of which have been banned from Japanese TV altogether". Ouch. Its Crunchyroll listing isn't much kinder.
- The normalman omnibus collection features choice quotes from positive reviews on the back cover, as well as one from a bad review that derides the comic as "sophomoric and juvenile".
- The cover of The Defenders #8 (the 2001 relaunch) proudly featured a quote from Comics International referring to the series as "The worst comic ever produced".
- A commercial for Joe Dirt once consisted entirely of negative reviews.
- A poster for David Lynch's Lost Highway referenced its bad reviews from Siskel and Ebert, stating, "Two Thumbs Down. Two more great reasons to see Lost Highway!"
- Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me came out in the same summer as Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. A trailer for the former announced, "If you see one movie this summer, see Star Wars. If you see two, see Austin Powers." It didn't continue when Goldmember and Attack of the Clones both came out three years later; the trailers for Goldmember announced "If you see one movie this summer, see Austin Powers. If you see two, see Austin Powers again."
- An extra on the Monty Python and the Holy Grail DVD consists entirely of bad reviews from newspapers.
- The DVD insert of Freddy Got Fingered is covered with utterly horrible reviews…and one okay one.
- The Asylum openly admits to solely churning out DVD after DVD of mockbusters, and are quite cynical about it. A blog entry advertising a sale on their films: "You'd have to illegally download to get a better deal than that... but then you'd just be stooping to our level...".
- Jesus, Bro! proudly boasts on one special edition cover that it received zero out of five doves from the Dove Foundation, though this is more of a Take That! at the Foundation.
- A Series of Unfortunate Events is famous for this. Even within the books, the narrator periodically states that the books are very depressing and the reader would be better off reading something else. At one point, he even released a fake review under the name Melony Tesnick slamming one of the books. He has a commentary track on The Movie in which he spends most of the film bagging how awful it is and during the scene with the leeches at Lachrymose Lake, he actually starts singing "Leeches! Leeches! Who would want to watch a movie with leeches?!"
- The Netflix adaptation continues this gag; every episode’s theme song consists of telling you that the show is too depressing and you should go find something else to watch.
- The reviewer quotes on Terry Pratchett novels include "Doesn't even write in chapters ... a complete amateur ... hasn't a clue" from The BBC's Late Review, regarding an early book of the Discworld series. This prompted him to write the Moist Von Lipwig novels (some 30+ books later) in chapters (complete with anachronistic In Which a Trope Is Described-style openers), just to rub it in the guy's face.
- Mark Steyn's book America Alone contains several laudatory quotes on the back from different reviewers, but the quote on the front cover of the book is from a Saudi Arabian prince, condemning Mark Steyn and his work. Presumably, Mark Steyn's readers take it on good faith that anything that pisses the Saudi royal family off is right up their alley. Steyn's been doing that for most of his political works. One of his essay collections, "The Face of the Tiger", has many more bad reviews from other sources, and includes the Saudi quote on the front cover. See them on his website under "Info - Lines on Steyn".
- TV appearances are promoted on Twitter as "Must Flee TV!"
- Similarly, conservative pundit Glenn Beck's book Arguing With Idiots includes a bunch of quotes from liberals insulting him.
- Invoked in the book Big Trouble, in which one character is hired to create an advertisement for a brand of beer called Hammerhead. He designs a poster depicting the face of a hammerhead shark, under which is printed the slogan "Ugly fish. Good beer." It's simple and amusing, but the customer hates it and makes him change it to a picture of two mismatched models in a boat. Everyone likes it better.
- The book jacket of How To Lose Friends And Alienate People by Toby Young contains various quotes highlighting how unlikable and obnoxious the author/protagonist is, such as "I'll rot in hell before I give that little bastard a quote for his book,"; "Toby was always trying to get me to introduce him to my model friends. It was sad really,"; and "I just wish he'd learn some elementary journalism."
- The published version of Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog begins with a poem by "Gower" entitled "Why Ye Sholde Nat Rede This Booke".
- David Hume did this while promoting his philosophy in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. The opening and closing say that Cleanthes, the most orthodox proponent of religion, clearly wins the argument. (In between, however, he loses every point and the skeptical character of Philo carries the day.)
- 1066 and All That is prefaced with these blurbs, under the heading "Press Opinions":
"This slim volume..." (The Bookworm.)
"...We look forward keenly to the appearance of their last work." (The Review of Reviews of Reviews.)
- In the second season of Slings & Arrows, the theater company hires a cutting edge ad agency, Frog Hammer, who design a "two-pronged campaign". The first prong consists of a billboard showing their customers dying, along with others that combine confusing images with offensive slogans; the second, ads in which they reprint all their worst past reviews. They eventually learn that the ad agency is a fake. Somehow the ads work anyway.
- An installment of Saturday Night Live's Celebrity Jeopardy! opened with:
Alex Trebek: Welcome back to Celebrity Jeopardy. Once again, I'm going to recommend that our viewers watch something else. That having been said, let's take a look at the scores.
- In almost every episode in the British run of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Clive Anderson would make digs at the competency of the performers and the show itself. Averted for the most part in the ABC (and ABC Family) run of the show. Although Drew frequently made comments toward the performers and occasionally ABC, there never seemed to be much mocking of the show itself. The trope is brought back in full force for the revival of the series on The CW.
- Mock the Week: In a moment of frustration at having to redo a take several times, clearly not intending that it would ever see the light of day, Dara announced, "I'm Dara O'Briain, and I'm getting sick of this shit!" Then the producers put it in the 2016 Christmas special.
- Bob Wilson, host of Creature Features, used to be tell people that they really should be watching something else, going so far as to list suggestions out of TV Guide.
- Shortly after The State debuted on MTV and (initially) received wretched reviews, they started running commercials for the show with said negative review quotes, with the cast members crying in the background dramatically as "I Started A Joke" played. Some would argue it was the funniest sketch they did (at least to that point).
- Top Gear:
Jeremy Clarkson: Tonight: I wear a hat, James wears a hat, and Richard is behind a low wall.
- When Family Feud first started in 1976, host Richard Dawson would say on Match Game (where he was a regular panelist) that it was the number one show in Guam.
- After TV Guide called The Jerry Springer Show the "Worst Program on Television" the show went through an era where it proudly declared such on the air.
- John Oliver of Last Week Tonight frequently expresses astonishment that anyone watches him at all in interviews, promos, and the show itself. The tagline of the season six preview is "somehow this has lasted for five years," and it features a quote from the Wall Street Journal claiming the program "makes people dumb."
- An episode of I Love Lucy sees Lucy and Ethel open their own business selling homemade salad dressing. Unfortunately, Ricky crunches the numbers and reveals they're losing money on every jar, so they decide to air a new ad claiming the dressing is so terrible that they can no longer endorse it and instructing anyone who's ordered it to cancel their order. Naturally, their audience finds it hilarious, and they receive a ton of new orders the next day as a result.
- Tom Lehrer's albums feature quotes from his worst reviews, under the banner "Critical disdain for Tom Lehrer!"
- "Mr. Lehrer's muse is not fettered by such inhibiting factors as taste."
- His first live album was called An Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer. The jacket included a narrative claiming that that the entire thing had been made up on the spot in a desperate and unsuccessful attempt to salvage a boring dinner party, and was accidentally recorded by a passing sound engineer.
- Some of the album jackets (depending on when they were originally issued) also list his other albums, under the heading of "If you did not enjoy this album, you will almost certainly not enjoy..."
- Depeche Mode's singles collections also include less-than-positive critical responses, such as "I have often wondered why God bothered with Depeche Mode" and "What do you expect from this bunch of lame dickheads?"
- Reel Big Fish often sold simple black t-shirts with the slogan "I Hate Reel Big Fish."
- Tim Booth, lead singer of James, can be seen proudly wearing a "James Suck" t-shirt in the Best Of inlay. They've sold plenty more at concerts.
- KMFDM has at least one song per album brimming equally with arrogance and self-mockery, including "KMFDM Sucks!". "Intro" singles out each member by name to lampoon; the chorus says that their music is unoriginal and unlikely to change, but it's worked for so long that there's no point in changing.
- Green Jellö began with the goal of becoming the World's Worst Band, and lampshaded it with the song, and fan-favorite chant, "Green Jellö Sucks!" After a lawsuit from Kraft over the brand name for their gelatin, the band changed the name to Green Jellÿ (the umlaut over the 'y' changes the pronunciation to 'O'). Now the original slogan doubles as a Take That! to Jell-O.
- Primus had "Primus Sucks" as their slogan for many years.
- The cd case for Metallica's single "Whiskey In The Jar" was slathered with the terrible reviews for the double Cover Album it came from, Garage Inc.
- Limp Bizkit's Significant Other opens with a voice saying "You wanted the worst... you got the worst. The one... the only... Limp Bizkit."
- Not quite music, but the cover art for Monty Python's Contractual Obligation Album is a white-label record in a dog-eared paper sleeve, with handwritten notations on it that read "Can T.G. do a nice eye-catching cover to help it sell? E.I." / "Not really worth it. -T.J." (Note that the title is accurate — this really wasn't something the Pythons were enthusiastic about.)
- Brad Sucks is the stage name of indie musician Brad Turcotte.
- The Great Luke Ski titled one of his CDs "Worst Album Ever", combining this trope with a Simpsons reference from one of its songs.
- Mindless Self Indulgence, who are known for their quirky, self-deprecating humor. In their early concerts, they often played to hostile crowds that disliked them and would yell insults such as "MSI sucks!" The result? The band began selling official t-shirts with the slogan "MSI SUX!"
- Insane Clown Posse are prone to this sometimes. They once aired a commercial on MTV that consisted entirely of them boasting about the fact that their music videos would never be acceptable to air on that channel.
- Ivor Biggun's first compilation records of "Greatest Hits" was released as, among other titles, "The Wurst of Ivor Biggun".
- The Worst of Jefferson Airplane.
- The late 90s/early 2000s One-Hit Wonder Eve6 played across the nation on the "We Suck Live!" Tour.
- And from Neil Young:
People tell us that we play too loudThey don't know what our music's aboutWe never listened to the record company manHe tried to screw us and ruin our band!THAT'S WHY WE DON'T WANT TO BE GOOD! WE'RE THE PRISONERS OF ROCK AND ROLL!
- *NSYNC owned shirts that said "Boy Bands Suck"◊, while Chris Kirkpatrick owned an "*NSUCK" baseball cap◊. When Carson Daly slipped up and called the group "*NSTINK," Chris insisted that the proper mockery of their name was the aforementioned "*NSUCK."
- NOFX titled their first live album I Heard They Suck Live!!; over a decade later, they followed it up with They've Actually Gotten Worse Live!, with a completely different setlist.
- Comedian Henny Youngman's The Primitive Sounds of Henny Youngman and Sol Hurok Does Not Present...The Best of the Worst...of Henny Youngman. The back of the latter album contains quotes such as "This recording may be hazardous to your health" and "Double your money back if you like this album."
- Many Pearls Before Swine books play with this. For example, the back of one of the book collections (50 Million Pearls Fans Can't Be Wrong) has some nasty comments from fellow comic artists about Pastis and his work, with a touch of Self-Deprecation as his own characters zing him about his ego.
- In a Garfield strip, Garfield watches a TV ad for "Honest Arnie's Used Car Emporium". Arnie's cars are as bad as expected from this kind of dealership but Arnie is really honest about them.
Honest Arnie: You want cars?! We've got cars!! Here's a sweet 2009 minivan... candy apple red, and only driven off a cliff twice! And how about this little beauty? Just 30,000 miles, and absolutely no, that's right... no brakes! Want an economy car? Look no further! It's a V-8, but only four of them work! Think of the gas savings! Like folks to know you're coming? The engine in this stunner shrieks like a debutant at a rat convention! So come on down to Honest Arnie's used car emporium, and push one of these bargains off our lot!
Garfield: He never sells anything, but he is honest.
- Car Talk does this frequently; among other examples, at the end of the show they announce, "Well, it's happened again: you've wasted another perfectly good hour listening to Car Talk." And if you listen via podcast, you also get interstitials letting you know you can download and listen to classic ("and by 'classic,' we mean..." "...old.") episodes via their website. They then mention one of a number of reasons why you might want to do such a thing. ("For example, if you're a dentist and you want to remind your patients that there are worse things than a root canal.")
- Brazilian comedy program Graffite has "The worst program in radio" as its slogan, and the hosts' nickname for the show is "garbage dump". They even get guests to record soundbites criticizing the program.
- Opie & Anthony ridicule their own show all the time, both on the air and in their promos.
- When they asked guest Michael Madsen what was "the biggest piece of crap ever that he was a part of", he replied "This show!" The clip was used in many O&A promos.
- Jim Norton suggested they title the show replays "Five Hours Of Complete Horseshit, Again".
- One rejoin goes "See? Told you we had sponsors!"
- An older promo has the tagline "Making the First Amendment seem like a bad idea".
- I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue was punctuated by the host Humph commenting on horrible the programme was, both in concept and execution; implying that he wanted to be somewhere (indeed, anywhere) else; wondering why anyone would be listening to this; suggesting their listener numbers were in single figures; etc. The contestants often agreed.
- An in-universe example occurs in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street: Mrs. Lovett, having noticed Todd walking in, immediately sits him down and offers him a meat pie, but freely admits (in song, no less) that her pies are "probably the worst pies in London." Judging by Todd's reaction, she's not wrong.
- Nintendo Power's coverage of EarthBound (a game that Nintendo itself was releasing) revolved around the claim that the game is offensive and disgusting and you shouldn't play it. The part that's famous is the tagline "This Game Stinks!" Thing is, this was referring to the scratch-and-sniff cards Nintendo Power was distributing to promote the game. Sadly, this one backfired; the ads, along with a number of other factors, actually contributed to the game's low sales in America. Thankfully, Nintendo knuckled down by the time of the much-hyped Virtual Console release and released it with a new ad campaign that represents the game as a whole much more accurately.
- Parodied with this promotional video for the PS3 downloadable game PAIN.
"My kids are NOT playing this!"-Suzy Homemaker
- Dwarf Fortress. "Losing is fun". This actually makes sense in context, as the meaning is less "this game isn't fun" and more "you'll enjoy yourself, but only if you accept that Failure Is the Only Option".
- British video game publisher Firebird released in April 1985 a compilation for the ZX Spectrum called Don't Buy This: Five of the Worst Games Ever, featuring five otherwise-rejected games for the Spectrum that had been submitted to Firebird. Such was their contempt for the product that they actually encouraged users to copy or pirate Don't Buy This.
- When DuckTales Remastered had a launch trailer, it started with quotes from several famous game designers about how the original game had influenced their designs, and how it was extremely well-designed and beloved when it was originally released. Then Tim Schafer "provided" the quote of "Please stop asking me for a quote." Which they gleefully used in the trailer.
- The webpage for the Doom mod Reelism opens with this gem:
The Doom mod that everyone vaguely pretends to tolerate has returned for another round, and this time we've somehow managed to pack in even more stupid!
- Game & Wario: Near enough the entire 'Crowdfarter' advertising campaign is defined by this trope. The game's shown as a half assed effort flogged by a greedy anti hero, the quotes involve such gems 'why should I do anything when other people can do it for me?' and 'you give me your money, I make my dreams come true'. It's a lot of how the rest of the games are advertised too, as deliberately shoddy efforts by a team of in universe amateur game designers out for a quick buck.
- WarioWare: Twisted!: Pizza Dinosaur freely admits their pizzas are sub-par in their theme song.
Our crust is tough and our sauce is thin,
But we're everywhere so you gotta give in!
- Goat Simulator. It's absolutely filled with bugs, but that was completely intentional, because it's funny as hell. The game absolutely revels in the fact that it's a hilariously buggy mess; there's even an achievement for crashing the game!
- Crazy Earl in Borderlands 2 has shades of this when you first meet him. He describes the fuel cell you need to buy off of him as "crap" and tells you that just touching it made two of his fingers rot off.
- The BattleBlock Theater trailer for the steam release is effectively this, with the narrator frequently taking stabs at the Behemoth for releasing a PC port with numerous trailers over a long wait.
Narrator: (reading) "There's brand new cat-guard enemies." (flat) Probably implemented in order to sell more toys and t-shirts.
Narrator: You're on thin ice! I'm trying to be a professional, shut up! (reading) "Steam Workshop support for sharing and playing levels." (flat) Say, is that anything like Behemoth sweat-shop support?
Narrator: Ow! You are so lucky that I'm a coward!
- Best Fiends has a Webby Award-winning commercial advising the players against their game, tilted "Don't Download Best Fiends".
- The Outer Worlds: Everyone knows that Spacer's Choice products are cheaply-made crap, even Spacer's Choice, hence their slogan openly admitting, "It's not the best choice, it's Spacer's Choice!"
- The Elder Scrolls: In-Universe examples:
- Daggerfall: The in-universe play Fools' Ebony repeatedly gives tongue-in-cheek apologies about how bawdy and low-quality it is.
" Our poor players will try and remember their lines and not trip over our meager set. I beg you, the audience, not to heckle, badger, or throw rotten foodstuffs. You will only make this short play last longer. The Guild of Playwrites, Actors, and Dramatists wish any of you who are sensitive or allergic to rambling dialogue, wooden acting, incomprehensible exposition, or unsatisfying endings that leave one confused and unhappy to exit the theatre immediately. Your gold will, alas, not be refunded. As a saving grace, this series of vignettes contains gratuitous references to all pleasures of the flesh. You may enjoy it."
- Oblivion: Edgar Vautrine of Edgar's Discount Spells brags that the spells in his shop aren't the best, but they are cheap. NPCs in town sound dubious about the notion of a "discount spell", but the player character can use them without drawbacks.
- Daggerfall: The in-universe play Fools' Ebony repeatedly gives tongue-in-cheek apologies about how bawdy and low-quality it is.
- The Steam version of Undertale highlights some less-than-stellar quotes in its "Reviews" section, teasing the comedic tone of the game to the reader:
Destructoid: The puzzles aren't particularly impressive.PCInvasion: I have a couple of issues with the user interface.
- 8-Bit Theater: An advertising slogan for the Nuklear Power store insults both the products and the consumers. "Buy some nerd clothes. On the Internet. Nerd."
- Penny Arcade game was advertised with this endorsement: "Penny Arcade sucks and is unfunny. please murder penny arcade and then yourself if you disagree with me." The use of the quote is a Take That! against a flamer who repeatedly posted similar comments online.
- Jesus and Mo has a "What They're Saying" section, the final quote being "...humor is humor and this cartoonist doesn't have it." - Karl Giberson.
- The tagline for Our Little Adventure is: "Highest quality fantasy for the lowest common denominator."
- Spamusement has a section called What they're saying about Spamusement! - representative quotes include "Who does he think he is? someone funny? nope" and "I would say Syphilis is funnier".
- Awkward Zombie has the section on the site's forum dedicated to the webcomic itself adorned with the tagline "WHY DOES THIS COMIC SUCK". Yep, with no question mark.
- Forest Hill has an In-Universe example. When the Locket family is driving to their new home, they stop at a fast food restaurant called "Wurst's" and the cashier says "Welcome to Wurst's, where our food is always the worst." Colin orders two Wurst kid's meals and a Wurst burger combo.
- In BIGTOP BURGER, the titular food truck joint's main rival, Zomburger, prides itself on having the worst, most inedible food possible. Cesare, the business owner, proclaims that they're "practically selling charcoal on a bun". Their main draw comes from social media posts from customers sharing and promoting the kitschy zombie theme and how awful the food is, instead of the quality of the food itself.
- [adult swim]:
- Quite a few bumpers are self-deprecating, often featuring flames and trolls from the message boards. When the network played Saved by the Bell, the network changed its logo to "[crappy 1980's live action tv show network]", after a message board user suggested it.
- The back-cover blurbs of the Space Ghost Coast to Coast season 2 DVD are all from extremely negative reviews.
- One commercial advertised that [adult swim] will be uploading videos of full episodes online of all their past shows, even the ones everyone hates. When the announcer says "even the ones everyone hates," the showcase of [adult swim] characters stops and focuses on Brak, which...isn't exactly true, as Brak has a significant fandom and got his own show due to his popularity on Space Ghost: Coast to Coast.
- Almost all of Cartoon Network's later promos for Johnny Test reeked of this trope.
- Danny Phantom features an in-universe version with Nasty Burger: "It's just one letter away from 'tasty'!"
- Elliott from Earth features an alien snack called Kretzels. According to various characters they taste like earwax and feet. Their slogan on the bag is "Now banned in 4 galaxies!"
- Family Guy: "Yep, it's a Meg episode. Here's the clicker; nobody would blame you."
- Several episodes of Danger Mouse have the narrator asking the viewers why they're watching this stuff anyway.
- Gravity Falls has an ironic In-Universe example:
- This promo for Pickle and Peanut features comments left on Disney XD's social media accounts pertaining to the show, two of which say that it's "the dumbest show I've ever watched" and "what nightmares are made of."
- Rocky and Bullwinkle: In one "Bullwinkle's Poetry Corner", Bullwinkle depicts Little Tommy Tupper as a singing waiter... whose songs are all about how terrible the food at the restaurant is. When a customer tries to order the Irish stew, for example...
Bullwinkle: Oh, the potatoes are old
And the meat is a fright
The cabbage left over from Saturday night
We stir it all up
Put it into a pot
And tell you it's real Irish stew that we got!
- The Simpsons: Done as a Take That! in "Lisa's Sax," which depicted an in-universe bumper on The WB in which Michigan J. Frog sings about the upcoming terrible program.
"We're proud to present on the WB, another bad show that no one will seeeeee!' [Michigan walks away dejected] "Ugh, I need a drink..."
- "Lisa's First Word" gives us Stinking Fish Realty, whose motto is "with a name this bad, we've got to be good!"
- South Park loves to make fun of its controversial nature with self deprecating advertising.
- Back when the show was new and extremely controversial among Moral Guardians, a commercial aired depicting the "Anti South Park League," a pair of scientists who give reasons why South Park should be banned (in this case, claiming that Kenny's dialogue can be played backwards to reveal Satanic messages). They then fight with the Comedy Central announcer who tells the viewers when to watch South Park. To top it all off, the scientists are played by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park themselves.
- The ad campaign for Season 22 consisted of billboards and TV spots urging viewers to #cancelsouthpark. This continued into the credits for the first few episodes of Season 22, before the punchline of "The Problem with A Poo" changed it to #cancelthesimpsons.
- The Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas, Nevada advertises that it exclusively serves extraordinarily unhealthy food. In addition to the already high-calorie menu, guests who weigh over 350 pounds eat for free, and if you aren't able to finish your meal, one of the waitresses (or "nurses") will spank you with a paddle while the rest of the customers enjoy the show. The restaurant's owner, Jon Basso, claims that his intentionally pro-fat gimmick serves a threefold purpose: One, to boil down what other fast-food chains eventually do to long-term customers in as honest a way as possible. Two, to weed out folks either too dumb or uncaring about their own health to avoid eating at the establishment. And three, simply because it makes money.
- Brazilian comedian Tiririca ran for the Chamber of Deputies with the slogan "It can't get any worse." He was elected as the second most-voted congressman in the country's history. It's important to note, however that him being elected was a means of protesting against politicians in general. It went more or less "if the goverment thinks the people are clowns, then we'll put a clown in Congress". Even more surprising is the fact that he continues to serve after 11 years as of 2022, being reelected not once but twice.
- Also from Brazil, football team Ibis describes itself as "The Worst Team in the World" ever since a rotten streak in the 70s where they spent 55 games across nearly 4 years without a win. Their mascot is named "Little Defeat" and they are very popular in social media by relying heavily on Self-Deprecation.
- Kinky Friedman's slogans for his 2006 campaign for Texas governor included "Why The Hell Not?" and "How Hard Could It Be?".
- Similarly, Jello Biafra's slogans for his 1979 campaign for mayor of San Francisco included "What If He Does Win?" and "There's always room for Jello" (the latter taken from a Jello advert).
- Newgrounds used to have the ad slogan of "The Problems of the Future, Today." This has since been changed.
- The motto of This Very Wiki is "TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life".
- Bootleg DVDs and video games will sometimes feature negative reviews of the product on the packaging, where you'd expect to see positive reviews. Hooray for honesty?
- Hulu: TV is rotting your brain, and Hulu speeds up the process. The sooner you're done, the sooner the TV industry (really aliens) can slurp out your brains and gobble them up.
Hulu: An evil plot to destroy the world. Enjoy!
- Rob Liefeld has, in recent years, become well-aware that he is not the God-King of all Comic Artists as he once thought he was, and now refers to himself as the most hated man in comics. Which is still pretty egotistical when you think about it.
- Doctor Steel fully admits that he's a mad scientist bent on ruling the world, and puts the label "Propaganda" on all his media. People are willing to support him anyway, because what he plans to do with the world once he's ruling it is awesome.
- During the Cold War, several Eastern European resistance groups used this in the 60s to avoid government censorship. Instead of releasing propaganda directly, they distributed newspapers describing the treasonous publications their fine leaders had put down, refuted, or nipped in the bud. Those subversive publications were described in excruciating detail.
- It's disappointingly not a real advertisement, but the parody Big Bill Hell's ad is a combination of this and Take That, Audience!. The place outright advertises itself as home to, among other things, the sport of "Challenge Pissing", the meanest car dealers in the State of Maryland, and Alleged Cars galore at terrible prices, but maintains that you'd be dumb enough to buy from them even after knowing this.
If you think you're gonna find a bargain at Big Bill's, you can kiss my ass! It's our belief that you're such a stupid motherfucker, you'll fall for this bullshit, guaranteed!
- The Alamo Draft House, a theater in Austin, Texas, put up a YouTube video featuring an angry, profane voicemail from a customer complaining after being kicked out for using her cellphone. Of course, the customer's ranting doesn't make her sound very pleasant, so the message is really "our no-cellphone policy helps keep jerks like this out of our theater".
- British comedian Stewart Lee loves this trope. After coming 41st in a Channel 4 Top 100 list of "the best stand-up comedians", he launched a stand-up tour called the "41st Best Stand Up Ever!" He is also fond of telling people that the start of the show that they probably won't like it and is also constantly berating himself throughout most of his routines.
- This has been a mainstay joke of MAD Magazine almost since its beginning. They refer to their artists and writers as "The Usual Gang of Idiots" and make frequent jabs at how awful the magazine is. They even go so far as to insult their readers, the point being that anyone who would actually read the magazine must be a moron.
- Farrell's, a chain of old-time ice cream restaurants, had a huge banana-split sundae called the "Pig's Trough", served in a dish resembling a wooden trough. If one person could eat it all, they would receive a badge or banner reading "I made a pig of myself at Farrell's".
- The World of Coca-Cola museum in Atlanta has a room where visitors can sample Coke products from all over the world. One such product, called Beverly, has gained a reputation as being exceptionally foul-tasting. Even the museum's intro video gets in on the joke, with the characters in the video mocking how awful it is.
- An example where this went horribly right: Gerald Ratner was executive chairman of the major British jewellery company Ratners Group, which marketed inexpensive luxury items at reduced prices. The line was wildly successful with the public, despite being perceived as "tacky" by wealthier shoppers, until Ratner gave an infamous speech in which he declared:
People say, "How can you sell this for such a low price?", I say, "because it's total crap." ...[We] sold a pair of earrings for under a pound, which is cheaper than a shrimp sandwich from Marks and Spencer, but probably wouldn’t last as long."
- Ratner tried to claim a "Just Joking" Justification, but the company’s shares dropped over £500 million in a matter of days, and the entire company very nearly went bankrupt until Ratner resigned and they rebranded without his namenote . This gave rise to the term "Ratner Effect": If you're a CEO, you should never denigrate your own product. (Let your advertisers do that for you; they're the experts on this kind of thing.)
- Stephen Elop's "Burning Platform" memo wrecked Nokia much like Ratner's fiasco, but far worse. He painted Symbian (their immensely popular bread-and-butter) as hopelessly outdated, upcoming MeeGo as vaporware that would not be finished on time, and the whole company as lost against more agile rivals. It is speculated that Elop was a Microsoft trojan, and the memo's real purpose was to force a move to Windows Phone. Well, it did... but also caused Symbian's sales to crash almost overnight, and angered mobile carriers heavily invested on Nokia's ecosystem. When their WP-based devices finally came out (after their only MeeGo device), sales were dismal, as their old customer base had moved on to Android and iOS by then.