Ad Nut
Feb 1, 2016

Five classic content catastrophes from the Year of the Goat

The past 12 months have seen brands pull out the stops to produce more content-driven marketing than ever before—but not always with intended results. Here's our pick of five fabulous failures that caught our attention for all the wrong reasons

Five classic content catastrophes from the Year of the Goat

At this time of year, Ad Nut likes to rummage through the pile of treats stored at the back of the drey for the long nights of hibernation. The recent cold snap in Hong Kong set shivering paws searching out for something special: there’s nothing like snuggling down to a healthy helping of schadenfreude. Shaking your head in disbelief gets the blood flowing nicely.

As more and more brands jump on the content bandwagon, it’s no surprise that some fall flat on their faces, often with accidentally comical results. That tends to be smaller brands trying to make a shoestring budget stretch too far, but some of the big boys take a spectacular tumble.

So shoo out the goat and welcome in the monkey, and let’s all hope that cheeky simian trickster ushers in some content that is every bit as entertaining as these turkeys—but preferably intentionally so.

5. Mistaken identity

In this 'social experiment', Canon Australia set out to show how the same subject of a photograph can be greatly influenced by the mind of the person behind the lens—the photographer. But by framing it as 'prank' video, the piece completely misdirects the audience into thinking its message was: "Look how easily we duped these photographers." That wasn't the intended message, but it's the one most viewers were left scratching their heads about.

As we said in our original post on this video, it is amazing that the photograhers did such a great job of turning the same subject into compelling portraits of a millionaire, a fisherman, a criminal, a psychic, a recovering alcoholic and a life-saving hero. It also says a lot about the model's acting skills that he portrayed these different persona so convincingly the snappers had no clue they were being misled. It's just a shame the brand got the tone so wrong. 


4. The ring that rang wrong

This one is a true guilty pleasure. Ad Nut has difficulty trying to imagine a way to add to the sheer awfulness of this video—from the script to the acting to the dubbing to the editing to the pacing of every single sequence, it is just perfectly out of kilter. This is a thing of cringe-enducing beauty, and we just can't stop watching it, chomping on cashews like popcorn.

Ad Nut was previously certain that the device—a voice-activated smartphone ring which the designers at Whynot Tech can't seem to decide whether to call "ARING" or "VRING"—didn't really exist. But from the look of the company's Facebook page, it seems it has been showing off the gizmo's functions at several trade shows in Taiwan, even though several fundraisers have failed to hit their targets. Perhaps there really is no such thing as bad advertising.

Let's hope it performs better than this clanger from Logbar (more from them below) a couple of years ago.


3. Pile of pants

Ad Nut really isn’t sure where to begin with this.  No matter how many times we watch this, we can't shake the feeling we're experiencing some kind of bizarre flu-enduced hallucination. 

Japanese ads have a tendency to seem pretty off the wall to foreign eyes—not to mention rodent ones—but this spot for teen music video station Space Shower TV takes the casual objectification of women to a new level. The ad, plus its extended 'making of' video and accompanying online game, consists of a bizarre, elaborate set-up to use the power of music to perve at a young model's underwear: she stands on a gigantic upturned speaker, and blasts of air created by thumping bass beats lift the hem of her skirts. 

The press release from Dot by Dot, the creative agency responsible for this abomination, actually boasts that the 60-second version of the ad contains "twenty different panty shots". Classy.

It is all framed as though it were somehow just the harmless realisation of a pubescent male fantasy, but as creative director Kyosuke Taniguchi admits in the statement, this was executed by "full-grown adults". 

Once again, Ad Nut is left scratching our furry ears trying to work out what makes these crazy humans tick.


2. Creep me out, Computer

What was it with white people and wearables in Asia this year? 

Following up on its aforementioned crashed-and-burned smart ring, Logbar decided to crank the cringe-factor right up to 11 with this ill-advised lech-fest. The instant translator is a classic sci-fi trope, so it is doubly bizarre that the first use the company could think of for it was to give it to a sleazy pick-up artist. But that is what they did.

There was such a storm of outrage when this video of an Englishman prowling the streets of Tokyo cajoling women for a kiss—even at one point chasing one woman around a park—that Logbar had to issue a statement clarifying it was all a set-up, and that all the women involved were paid actresses. That doesn't make the inferred sexual coercion a whole lot easier to watch, however.

If it really works as well as the video claims, then the iLi Wearable Translator is an impressive piece of kit. Unfortunately, anyone seen with one dangling from their necks now runs the risk of being labelled a sex pest.


1. Don’t drink and … direct

Diageo is always careful to remind consumers to enjoy its products responsibly—and rightly so—but Ad Nut has to wonder whether the director of this disaster got the memo. With a star-studded cast, a seemingly limitless budget, cameos from legendary F1 drivers, enviably glamorous locations and postcard-perfect scenery, and not to mention an iconic brand to showcase, it should have been impossible to go wrong.

Yet wrong is exactly where it goes. For 11 interminable minutes. And for squandering all that excellent potential, it tops our list. 


Bonus round: Students take brands back to school

To stop you getting too depressed about all those wasted dollars, here is proof that big budgets are no match for a good idea executed with grace and style. This beautiful and touching tribute to brotherhood—and Johnnie Walker, of course—by film students Dorian Lebherz and Daniel Titz puts the professionals to shame.

Somebody give these guys a job. Sharpish.


Campaign Asia-Pacific’s Content Marketing summit returns to Singapore for the third year, on March 17. Part of our Content Marketing series, this summit will provide an informative and educational conference, with practical case studies and strategies from across Asia-Pacific.

The event brings together 200 CMOs and senior marketing professionals for cutting edge insights to learn about the practice of content marketing—from strategy to content creation to content distribution to metrics and measurement.

For complete information please see


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