Staff Reporters
Dec 17, 2014

Best of 2014: Top 5 perplexing ads

Our annual year-in-review series continues with the year's top 5 most perplexing ads.

Best of 2014: Top 5 perplexing ads

Campaign Asia-Pacific is presenting a new top-5 list every day until we send our last daily bulletin of the year on December 19. We've had fun pulling this annual review together, and we hope you'll enjoy it too.

Please follow along as we spotlight the year's highlights and lowlights. And if you think we've screwed up—either by inclusion or omission—please let us hear about it in the comments and/or on Twitter @CampaignAsia using the hashtag #CampaignBestOf2014.

<< See all 2014 year-in-review top-5 lists >>

Without further ado, here are the...


1 - Honey, look!

The Singapore Tourism Board tried to woo visitors from the Philippines with a video depicting a young couple wandering endlessly around pointing at things—until a surprisingly unsanitary ending, where the city seems to receive credit for creating life. A perfect storm of ham-fisted writing, wooden acting and low-rent production, the video disappeared in short order, but not before inspiring spirited mockery worldwide (we thank the YouTuber below for preserving it for posterity). This is a strong contender for the worst government promotional video ever—and that is saying something.


2 - Well, that happened

Nerdy topless boy meets attractive girl. Romantic tension rises. Purple llama licks boy’s nipple. That’s the plot of an ad Rio Mints unleashed on unsuspecting Hong Kongers. The lascivious llama (or possibly giraffe?) is a plush toy. But it comes to life and does the disturbing deed after the boy eats a special new flavour of mint. Why? We seriously don’t want to know. But at least the ad stood out in a relatively conservative market. We liked/licked it.


3 - Eat this?

We’ve never understood the appeal of bath products that smell like foods. So we were amazed when Dettol went to the next level in Hong Kong by offering a food that smelled like a bath product that smelled like a food. To be precise, the brand collaborated with a local gelato purveyor to give out cucumber-flavoured ice cream in order to promote its new body wash, which in turn was infused with the aroma of cucumber. The initiative aimed to "bring Dettol out of the bathroom through differential engagements". We think it should have stayed there. The TVC (below) also did not feel the least bit fresh.

wide player in 16:9 format. Used on article page for Campaign.


4 - Hey, pretty lady

At the moment Samsung is the undisputed champion of ill-advised ads among companies its size. This year's standout is 'Are you geared up?', an intensely creepy video in which a snowboarding guy stalks a woman on the slopes. The bro eventually win's the girl's affection because his smart watch makes a rival who's saddled with a mere smartphone look stupid. Yes, you read that correctly: The world's dominant smartphone maker wants us to know that smartphones are for inept losers.


5 - Kotex tapes cats

Kimberly-Clark’s Kotex has put out some great work, but this year managed to simultaneously insult men, women, cats and animal activists. The brand, with Ogilvy Shanghai, ran a two-ad campaign that a) compared men to sanitary pads while portraying women as unreasonably demanding and b) stuck tape to several pussy....cats (yes, they went there) to make them walk funny—because “women are sensitive”, see? 


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