Worst Ads of the Week

by Rebecca Lang

Most annoying ad campaign: Glade.

The creators of the Glade commercials cooked up this idea of this type of K-Mart housewife to sell their ads. She’s busy, she’s kind of poor, and she’s slightly neurotic. She has her girlfriends over often, and she always feels pressured to compete with them in typical motherly duties, like making gingerbread cookies or having French candles burning. But alas, she’s always tricking them. Her cookies are stale; her candles are just Glade.

First of all, I don’t really dig the housewife stereotype. Not only is she trying to be a typical housewife, but she even sucks at it. I don’t really want to buy a candle just to be like some lame religion teacher I had in second grade. Also, Glade is doing this weird technique of tongue-in-cheek commentary about their product. Like, "yeah, we know Glade candles are kind of crappy and won’t impress your friends, but maybe you can at least lie about it!" Oh, yeah.


Runner-up: Fiber One

Fiber One makes the same mistake that Glade makes, but in a different way. It starts with a guy (possibly drunk) writing "N"’s on boxes of Fiber One so that they say "Fiber None." That’s kind of funny just because drunk impulsive guys usually wouldn’t bother with such a meticulous task. But then some staff come along and explain to the guy that he was mistaken: good taste and the existence of fiber are not mutually exclusive. It is revealed that he thought fiber tasted like cardboard, which was the beginning of his misunderstanding.

What’s weird about that ad is they are indirectly admitting that naming their cereal "Fiber One" was stupid. Like, "We mass marketed a product hinging on some diet trend, and it turns out that people think fiber is unappetizing." Plus, their stereotypical consumer is a mess. He’s at the same time both intelligent and ignorant, health-conscious and psychologically unaware. He knows that fiber is kind of good for you, but he’s too dumb to know that lots of foods have fiber and it doesn’t necessarily destroy flavor. It’s the same problem that the corn syrup commercials have; the people who are indignant about the wellness promised by these products are usually not stupid idiots.