A web blog which is written by someone who hates bad adverts. It used to be written by two people who hate bad adverts, but quite a lot of other people joined in and gleefully or vengefully delivered a kicking to adverts on TV, on radio, in magazines, or on the Web, which insulted the viewer's intelligence or were just so cringingly ill-conceived that they left a stunned viewer simply asking "Why?"
Apparently the British advertising profession pays attention to this blog and collectively winces whenever a particularly egregious example of the ad exec's art is savaged by the ungrateful consumer.
In recent years, the creator of the site, thought to be a professionally disgruntled former ad executive in the north of England, has emphasised that there should also be honourable mentions for the very best examples of advertising in British media. Readers have obliged, although the emphasis is on systematic deconstruction of the sort of lazy, cheap, uninspired advertising that drives people up the wall. This very British site can be found here, and new readers are directed to search the archives where some real gems may be found. Although a very British site in concept, scope, and bilious black humour, many adverts shared with the USA are covered and receive their own bucket of bile. Or sometimes even praise, grudging or otherwise.
As of very late 2022, the website itself is back in action after a 3-year hiatus, due to the creator dealing with family matters and COVID-19. However, the Facebook page was well maintained. FB's AdTurds presence is here. Just to note, both sites can get a bit NSFW at times.
You can vote for the worst, turdiest, most obnoxious, insult-to-the-intelligence advert broadcast on British TV in 2022 here.
Advertising tropes deconstructed with chainsaws include:
- Advertisements: The wonderful world of advertising is tackled in a random way, generally as reaction to the latest perceived horror on TV or elsewhere, although genuinely good adverts can be singled out for praise too.
- Advertising Tropes: Pick any AdTurd page at random. There will be an example Lampshading at least one of the tropes.
- Ambulance Chaser: It has been noted that daytime TV in Britain is full of adverts for ambulance-chasing lawyers. They are frequently invited to have the ambulance, or some other heavy vehicle such as a Challenger tank, run over them.
- Attack Ad: Political advertising in the run-up to the British general election in May 2015 is discussed here.
- Broke the Rating Scale: The "Turd Rating" for the 2011 Christmas adverts was clearly supposed to be out of 5. That year's Littlewoods advert was so utterly awful that it was given a Turd Rating of 245,835,585,299,001.
- Bumbling Dad: A staple of British TV advertising, and overused to the point of being a cliché. Instances are highlighted and discussed on AT.
- But Wait, There's More!: American adverts of the Infomercial style are viewed as cheap shots, like shooting fish in a barrel. But the general opinion among AT bloggers is that if the fucking advert's been on for 15 minutes and still hasn't finished, it needs serious editing. Preferably with a chainsaw. Infomercials with British accents can provoke a Berserk Button among viewers.
- Cluster F-Bomb: All over the place at times.
- Epic Fail: These utterly pointless "discounts", all of which were found on the shelves of a major British supermarket. Two of them require you to pay more than the original price.
- Japandering: Frequently identified and derided without mercy.
- Unless it's good. Burt Reynolds being obviously self-referential in a series of ads for a British optician got a thumbs-up for his being a self-aware good sport. There seems to be a trend for this: Sylvester Stallone has appeared in a series of ads for a bakery where a Rambo-like delivery driver is dedicated to getting the bread from bakery to store, whatever the cost. Amy Sedaris, in her Stepford Wife persona, sells cleaning products in a very self-aware way. This - known American stars sending themselves up and showing a good sense of humour — is the sort of thing the British viewing public likes.
- Lite Crème and other weasel words used in advertising are regularly pinned to a board and vivisected. Without anesthesia.
- Muck Monster: The Zingy animated icon used by British energy company EDF has often been likened, unfavourably, to a parasitical turd-monster. Embittered website AdTurds has not been slow in likening it to South Park's Mr. Hankey in its relentlessly cheerful disposition while, well, remaining a turd. The advertising agency has responded by making its colour a more orange-yellow rather than brown, but the current advertising depicting a very large Zingy in the form of a hot-air balloon does make it look like a giant turd floating above British suburbia.
- Narm: The sort of thing that makes you go What the fuck was THAT all about? without being able to recall what was being advertised.
- The Power of Cheese: When the cheese gets so stinky it isn't even fit for a mousetrap, look for it to be bagged up for disposal on AT.
- Same Language Dub: Often done to Anglicize shared commercials imported from the USA. Where done cheaply or badly or unconvincingly, look out for this getting panned on AT.
- Stepford Consumer: The people who add to blogs on AT are most definitely not this trope and get really snarky about the advertising executive's lazy assumption that all consumers are Stepford. Stepford Consumers in adverts generally get identified and panned.
- Summon Back Up Dancers: Often invoked in adverts where the lead character will break into a song and dance over the virtues and unbelievably exciting nature of the product being advertised. Back-up dancers will appear from nowhere, or else otherwise sane and rational-looking people in the street will abruptly cease doing normal things and join in. Seen in very cheesy adverts on daytime TV for products ranging from online gambling to — unbelievably — lawyers offering to take up your case for being injured at work. Look for these to be skewered as unbelievably offensive to people of normal brainpower. Injury lawyers Hampson Hughes and online gambling site Foxy Bingo are especially loathed.