Eight of the most irritating TV ads ever?

I happened to see the TV ad for We Buy any Car last night and whilst it is incredibly irritating, it is one where you have to remember the domain name and know immediately where to look if you want to sell your car in desperation. I actually went on the site last night and went through the valuation process to be offered a value that equated to almost exactly 80% of the trade price of my car according to Parkers price guide. I may not forget the domain, but I reckon even I’d buy my car again if I could get it at that price. No wonder they will buy anything, they pay rubbish money for it – But as a last resort, I suppose they have their place.

I got to thinking that TV advertising itself has become a whole lot more desperate too, with two appalingly repetitive examples around on our TV’s as we speak. The simply dreadful ‘Go Compare‘ with the chunky flying singer just saying the domain name over and over again.

And the equally irritating Compare the Market ads. Whilst they are hateful, I do again, remember their domain name, so they are working.

Insurance is obviously a very cut throat market, with everyone just trying to get remembered as we all assume that their products are equally bad. This classic from Michael Winner for Esure, isn’t the worst in the series, but the best one seems to have been removed. (probably due to be really irritating in the extreme)

There was a new entry for me this Christmas with perhaps the most shite ad ever produced for Safestyle. The people behind this should be ashamed of themselves. I hope it worked for the client, because it doesn’t seem to do a huge amount of good for the reputation of the advertising and design industry.

And then three absolute classics through the ages, which probably go to prove that there have always been a few really annoying ads that we all remember, the first of these is our old favourite Cillit Bang with Barry Scott. Its a bit of a low res version but as far as I can tell, it’s one of the oldest around on the net, from when Barry was a boy. Enjoy.

And another all time favourite. If I say ‘Oh Ambassador you’re spoiling me’ you’ll probably know who it is. One of the worst dubbed, internationally transplanted ads ever made, but again, one we all still remember. Does that make it a success? I guess it probably does.

And to end on the ultimate.

The irritating ad that gave birth to the entire genre. Shake and Vac.

Sit back, enjoy and smell the freshness of your carpets washing over you.

If there are more irritating ads out there at present, or of old, i’d love to see them and add them to this compilation.


I saw this film last night and I have to concede that it is a touch of genius. They’ve taken an irritating idea and built a real brand around it.

I can see this story running and running and being the ‘Shake and Vac‘ of this generation.

7 thoughts on “Eight of the most irritating TV ads ever?

  1. I don’t dislike advertising at all, but now that I rarely watch linear TV, I tend to fast forward them. I thought that TiVo/Sky+ would really damage this industry and threaten the commercial TV model more than it has, but a friend of mine said to me the other day that watching an ad reel at 6x the normal speed has no impact on retention of the message. I’m not convinced as you don’t have the grating ‘GO COMPARE GO COMPARE’ drilled into your consciousness, but there is something to it. No wonder Governments take protectionist measures against TiVo and their ilk.

    1. I think the Sky+ effect is the reason the ads have become so much more repetitive and simplified from the more subtle work of advertising’s heyday in the 80’s and 90’s.

      Its a good point about the 6x thing though. Not thought of that and would love to see any research that backed it up.

  2. The thing I like about Compare the Meerkat is that it started off as tenuous nonsense (I wasn’t a fan), but they’ve channelled it in all the right ways to become a brilliant integrated campaign. Which, I guess, has funded the latest ‘feature film’. I wonder if there’s any way they can progress it further? I await with baited breath!

    Having said that, I still use Moneysupermarket for all my comparisons because they are simply better than the rest. Simples. Even though their ads are now probably the worst of the lot! Am I expected to believe that Peter Jones needs to whittle £25 off his house insurance?

    People love good-bad ads though don’t they? For me, truly bad advertising is the trite, predictable, patronising nonsense that is still, unfortunately, the mainstay of advertising directed at women. All the cosmetics/shampoo/hair dye ads, and washing powder/softener ads. Bleurgh! Credit us with some intelligence! VO5 attempted a vaguely funny, intelligent campaign about 5 years ago but I haven’t seen one since… Maybe, sadly, the current shite works. It must do – they’ve been churning it out in the same vein for the last 25 years…

    1. About those cosmetic ads… in particular mascara. Surely the bit across the bottom that says “filmed with lash inserts” puts you ladies off, right? It’d be like a Special K advert saying “filmed with borderline anorexic”.

  3. Sadly today the more annoying and persistant the ad campain the more sucessful it is, Should I dawn a sandwich board, silly wigg, megaphone and idiotic tag line song and start parading School gates in hope of attracting more School gardening jobs…..hmmm…..

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