You Picked ’em: 2011’s Most Hated Tv Commercials

For the second year running, consumers have picked the worst television commercials. Well, they didn’t actually pick them themselves. They had lots of help and nudging from The Consumerist, Consumer Reports magazine’s blog.

Consumerist picked the categories, which narrowed down the choices considerably. Maybe they had to, in view of Sturgeon’s Law, which says that 90% of everything is crud. Arguably, 90% of all the year’s television commercials may be too much to narrow down, much less be subjected to. But Consumer Reports does have a different perspective from the everyday, run-of-the-mill consumers; ya think maybe a publication that refuses to take advertising somehow doesn’t like ads?

Okay, we’ve built up enough suspense.

And now, the losers!

Most Grating Performance by a Human: It takes a lot of obnoxiousness to beat out Progressive Insurance’s Flo, but AT&T did it, by a 2% margin of the votes. The human in question is the  flash mob dancer who shows up at the wrong time and starts doing his stuff in the middle of Grand Central Station, because his mobile network took too long to send him a schedule update.

Group That Ought to Go Its Separate Ways: The Esurance office staff, who are too busy with lame banter to get any work done. Downsizing, anyone? Their 32% vote beat out the Trojan Triphora ladies’ 27% and the Miller Lite “Man Up” guys’ 26%.

Most Irritating Animated Actor: The Car Fax Car Fox, who edged out AFLAC’s rapping “major medical” pigeon by a mere 3%. Guess that’s what happens when you fire Gilbert Gottfried.

Worst Abuse of an Existing Song: Swiffer’s version of “What About Love” wiped out the competition with a whopping 42.56% of the votes.

Original Jingle That Should Be Junked: Arby’s “Good Mood Food,” which neither rhymes nor makes sense, got twice as many votes as Education Connection, the second-place contender.

Creepiest Commercial of the Year: What with Target’s denim-fetishist music teacher, Arby’s unappetizing “Frog Tongue” and JellO’s Pudding Face, there was tough competition, but the Pos-T-Vac penis vacuum rose to the occasion.

Celebrity Who Could Probably Use a New Manager: When you’re as far past your shelf life as most of the celebrities who do these commercials, you’ll take whichever manager is willing to take you. The unlikely Rent a Center tag team of Hulk Hogan and Troy Aikman overcame Montel Williams (remember him?) for Money Mutual and Jamie Lee Curtis (remember her?) for Activia to win the title. Of course, two against one isn’t exactly fair, especially when one of the opponents is a girl.

Trend That Needs to Stop Being a Trend: In a race close enough to be within the margin of statistical error, Men Barely Tolerating Their Wives and Girlfriends (e.g., the guy who willingly subjects himself to listening to his wife’s babble in order to get a Klondike Bar) noses out Surprising Real People (e.g., Ford ambushing a real owner with a “press conference”) and Old Spice Copycats including Edge Shave Gel and Dairy Queen.

And the grand loser is…

Absolute Worst Ad in America: Decisions, decisions, decisions! There was Summer’s Eve’s Hail to the V, as in …well, you know what. There was Geico’s spot about using smart phones to do dumb things; this was a surprising contender from Richmond’s Martin Agency, whose commercials almost never end up in worst-advertising contests. There was AT&T’s screaming spider who’s too dumb to tell the difference between a real spider an a photo of one on a smartphone screen. And there’s another AT&T spot, in counterpoint to the winning trend that needs to stop being one, has a shrewish wife berating her husband for getting unlimited texting, which, the script reveals, just happens to be cheaper. But after  115,000 votes, the decisive choice for Absolute Worst is (cue the drum roll) Luvs Diapers’ “Poop, There It Is!” in which there’s an animated American Idol-like contest for which baby can fill his or her disposable diaper with the most, you guessed it, poop by weight. Not recommended for mealtime viewing.

There you have it, folks, the worst tv commercials of the year.

Oh, well. There’s always next year.

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