The 10 Most Laughably Misleading Ads

Witten by Glenn Thompson

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So you’re an inventor, and you’ve just created a product that actually sucks quite a bit more than the ones people are already using. How do you sell it?

Why, by creating a cornball TV ad that portrays everyday tasks as being next to impossible without your product. As we’ll see, the results range from ridiculous to downright sad.


MagneScribe Pen

What they’re selling:
The MagneScribe is a magnetic pen which attaches to a pendant that’s a combination digital clock and mirror that rocks a fly, Flava Flav look when not writing. It simultaneously maintains a perpetual state of writing-readiness and the ability to confirm whether someone is a vampire.

The hyperbole:
First, there is the sequence where someone is shown trying to unsuccessfully impale the cap of a normal pen, which suggests not only a lack of familiarity with pens, but also the visual-spatial reasoning ability of a pot-smoking chimp.

Then, when the lost pen lady finally responds to the “Call Now” command, she’s placing her order and taking notes with … a MagneScribe pen?

What the hell? We couldn’t sleep for three days after we saw that. We kept picturing ourselves saying, “Man, I sure could use a MagneScribe about now,” and then suddenly feeling a strange weight on our chest, the dangling pen was already laying gently against our belly. Oh, don’t bother ordering the MagneScribe. It will find you.

Throughout the ad, we have the girl flailing around under a piece of furniture for her fallen pen, displaying both the poor vision and limited arm span of a T-Rex. Of course, the MagneScribe pen can’t fall out of your hand; if you drop it the pen will come flying back through the air and re-attach itself to the magical pendant.

The reality:
They were selling this thing for $30. You know how many regular pens you can buy for thirty bucks? Three hundred.

You could keep a barrel of the things next to the sofa and every time you drop one, fuck it,grab a new one. But hell, even if the thing was free, having constant access to a pen in the off chance that we might need one isn’t worth looking like a tool 100 percent of the time. It is a specific application of the more general ‘fanny-pack’ principle.


My Lil’ Reminder

What they’re selling:
A digital recorder, which is like an MP3 player except it records instead of playing back and can only hold one 30-second track so you can leave yourself reminders in audio form. “Shit, where did I put my digital recorder? Fuck!”

The hyperbole:
The scene opens with a senile grandma wandering around a parking lot. Weighing her options, which are searching for her car using a systematic procedure or talking to herself out loud before grabbing her head in frustration, she chooses the latter.

Sadly, if you’re constantly forgetting things, lack the problem-solving skills to compensate, and cannot manage enough insight into your own uselessness to carry around a pen and paper with you at all times, then you may have advanced Alzheimer’s Disease. You have no business wandering around a parking lot unescorted, let alone getting behind the wheel of a car or operating a digital recording device.

The reality:
We must admit, though, that the bit with the guy using it for storing driving directions was pretty convincing. If we ever sense that our ambient levels of smiling doucheness are running low, we’ll be sure to place an order.

Of course, that’s assuming the thing works properly. According to people who actually used the product:

“Piece of Junk”

“… you have to practically stick the thing inside your ear to hear it.”

“On Friday I told my wife that she urgently had to get her medication from the pharmacy … She recorded the message on her recorder (I saw her do it) … she couldn’t play back what was on the recorder. It was too late to go to any pharmacy … My wife didn’t get her medication. The funeral was Monday.”


Handy Peel

What they’re selling:
A pair of rubberish gloves with tiny sharp claws on the palms for peeling stuff and/or pretending to be a mutant around the kids.

The hyperbole:
Knife chick, here, is not an enthusiastic food preparer. We know this because her scenes are in black and white, and because she would seemingly rather look anywhere but at the knife she is wielding and the 1-inch-thick slices of potato she is lopping off. When the inevitable happens (she cuts herself), she is exasperated with the whole concept of this 2-million-year-old technology.

It’s hard to say which is the saddest exaggeration here. Is it where they weigh up all of the money you’ll save by not throwing away that extra bit of potato clinging to the skin, which would probably add up to around $4 worth over the course of a lifetime?

Or, is it 30 seconds later when they boast “No Messy Clean Up” over a shot of a potato-encrusted glove held under a stream of water that makes absolutely no progress toward removing the clumps of skin from the orange bristles?

The reality:
It’s always shown peeling a vegetable that’s clearly been pre-peeled, and that arouses our suspicion. The carrot scene left us aroused in a different way.


Listen Up

What they’re selling:
Listen Up, a hearing aid for people who can’t admit they need a hearing aid, has the added bonus of endowing users with super-hearing so that they can eavesdrop and generally hear things they aren’t supposed to.

Hey, that’s the My Lil’ Reminder chick. The poor dear must have tried playing back her audio recordings only to discover that she was going deaf, too.

The hyperbole:
It starts with the old guy listening to the TV and then his radio too loud, then getting totally owned by his harpy of a wife. He takes it surprisingly well (his grin is slightly maniacal), perhaps because he couldn’t hear what she was saying.

Then the whole thing strays into the reprehensible, when it boasts that you can eavesdrop on people’s private conversations from “Up to 100 feet away.”

Then there’s a shot of an elderly couple using it in church. We found it weird that they would market their product to both eavesdroppers and church-goers in the same ad. But then isn’t God the biggest spy there is?

The reality:
The false advertising is blatant. For example, the guy at the football game can apparently hear the quarterback call plays in the huddle from the stands. Unless the Listen Up is capable of some fancy Fourier analysis for isolating specific sounds, and you can be sure that it is not, then he would bleed from the ears due to amplified crowd noise before ever hearing a single call. The only reason his ears aren’t bleeding is because, as the customer reviews can tell you, the piece of crap doesn’t work:

“I feel like murdering all the guys who acted in the advertisement.”


Easy Toothbrush

What they’re selling:
Easy Toothbrush, an ordinary toothbrush with bristles organized so as to form a rounded surface, making it similar to several dozen toothbrushes you can buy at the grocery store.

The hyperbole:
Imagine if you will that you are a woman with dyed blonde hair and you have advanced gum disease due mostly to the fact that you have never seen, let alone used, a toothbrush. You now have some insight into “brush-chick,” the star of this commercial.

The highlight comes about 7 seconds in, when brush-chick recoils in pain from incidental bristle contact, as if she were brushing with a steak knife. The point is hammered in several times as the voice-over repeats the word “hurt.”

It gets better at about 9 seconds in, when brush-chick uses subtle non-verbal cues to communicate to her audience which toothbrush she prefers. The “conventional” toothbrush receives a look that is pregnant with contempt and scrotum-ablating scorn. In contrast, the “easy toothbrush” receives an appreciative head nod.

Interestingly, their entire concept is that because your mouth is round, your toothbrush should be round (as explained helpfully by the yellow geometric shapes above). By this logic, the Handy Peel up there should be shaped like a potato.

The reality:
It’s a fucking toothbrush.


Ike Berger’s Five Minute Power Shaper

What they’re selling:
A bungee cord contraption designed by old-school sports legend Ike Berger, a gold medal weightlifter in the 1908 Olympics. He evidently wants in on some of that sweet mail-order action that the estate of Charles Atlas has been milking for the better part of a century. This device apparently works out every conceivable part of your body, possibly while wearing your gold medal and gazing emptily into the far off distance.

The hyperbole:
About 50 seconds in, there is a sequence that demonstrates how effort-driven and boring regular exercises are. Crunches, push-ups, machines at the gym … you’ll burn more energy in your exaggerated, anguished facial expressions than the actual workout.

Meanwhile, the grandma looks like she needs to re-read the manual.

People that workout do not have a bored/exasperated look on their face during their workouts. Rather, the commercial seems to be depicting what lazy people THINK they would look like if someone forced their fat asses into the gym.

The reality:
For many movements, the device seems to be interfering with the natural resistance provided by gravity. In those instances, it is clearly shittier than having nothing at all. Also, you’re going to use that thing for about five minutes before it slips off your foot and smacks you in the face.


Tiddy Bear

What they are selling:
Tiddy Bear, a furry teddy-bear thing that attaches to seatbelts with a strap-and-snap mechanism that’s state of the art, assuming you’ve never heard of Velcro. It attaches in a way that lets you move it “up and down to relieve pressure wherever you need it” to relieve the unbearable, searing pain of an automobile seat belt.

The hyperbole:
The ad opens with a sequence featuring two chicks who are obviously frustrated with the lack of furry stimulation to their upper torso. The Maria Shriver look-alike (18 seconds in) tells us that seatbelts make it hard for her to breathe. Instead of investing in a ribcage implant to provide the protection her internal organs so desperately need, she opted for the Tiddy Bear.

The reality:
The basic idea probably has its place (i.e. a comfortable pad that attaches to your seatbelt), but the execution, here, is awful. Who the hell would find an irregularly shaped bear comfortable? What kind of fucktard would wear that monstrosity proudly on their chest?

We’ve gone all this way without mentioning the obvious fact that we’re supposed to hear “Titty Bear” when they say the product name. That ill-fitting name and the near-uselessness of the product makes us suspect some company inherited a warehouse filled with 100,000 of these in unmarked boxes. Then they sat around for a whole afternoon trying to figure out what the fuck they were for, and finally ran out of time and just settled on “Seatbelt cushion.”


Pasta Pro

What they’re selling:
A cooking pot with miraculous drainage holes built into the lid, eliminating the need for colanders, strainers, or leaving a small crack to let the water drain from your pot into the sink.

The hyperbole:
From the sink full of dishes this product avoids (apparently a colander is actually a sink full of pots and pans), to the pound of spaghetti that plops into the sink and down the drain, to the guy who tries to strain his pasta using a plate, this one is chock full.

For our money, the cameo by cocksucker husband, who irritably taps his watch when his wife drops the pasta, is the clear winner. The expected “Where’s my dinner bitch?” comment is never uttered, but it is practically swirling around on screen in capitalized letters like tiny angry-man sugar plums.

Also, on top of saving your marriage, the amazingly versatile Pasta Pro fits both gas and electric stoves.

You try to pull that shit with a regular pot, the bastard’s likely to burst into flame. You won’t have time to worry about that, though, as the fierce blows rain down from your husband’s belt.

The reality:
Let’s just go right to a customer review on this one:

“After I had dumped the water out of the pot, the steam or something caused the lid to adhere to the pot. I couldn’t get it off! I ended up throwing it all out.”



What they’re selling:
Powerjet, a garden-hose attachment from back in the day that helped you wash your car in ways that countless similar hose attachments apparently didn’t.

The hyperbole:
The opening 10-second sequence is a tour de force for “car wash guy.” We don’t even get an establishing shot of him doing his thing. Instead, the ad begins cold with him standing stupidly in front of a soapy car while holding his flaccid hose.

It only takes about a second for the infuriating truth to sink in, because the timer or something has run out on the water. He’s dressed casually and washing his car, so you would assume that time is on his side. You would be wrong. He is in a fucking hurry. From the moment he notices the water has stopped, he stalks around like a cornered animal, clawing at his pockets for quarters, and lashing out at nearby equipment. That is, until the climax of the scene when he collapses on his car in despair, for a lack of change and a surplus of soap.

The denouement, and our highlight, is a dazzling feat of nonsensical stagecraft: a final insulting splash of soapy water out of fucking nowhere.

Our interpretation? Self-service car washes are self-aware and, more importantly, malevolent.

The reality:
The problem that they are setting up for their product to solve seems to be emotional instability, not dirty cars.

The novelty of the Powerjet is supposed to be the little compartment for adding soap. Soap wasn’t car wash guy’s problem. In fact, based on what we know about him so far, giving him more soap would risk driving him to psychosis and murder. A subsequent dramatic collapse onto whatever happens to be available at the time is quite possible, and even likely.


Miracle Blade III (Perfection Series)

What they’re selling:
A knife set, shown cutting various objects that you want to destroy, disfigure, or eat.

The hyperbole:
The fun starts around 27 seconds in, with a gory scene where a woman stabs a tomato and apparently nicks its artery.

The next shot shows us a guy who is apparently “ruining his meal” by carving his turkey perfectly, completely without the help of a Miracle Blade.

Finally, we are shown a guy dressed like a construction worker cutting some meat with a hacksaw, wearing safety hat and glasses no less.

We realize he’s supposed to be a playful caricature, which is odd considering the entire joke here seems to be that the knives you have at home are probably fine and don’t really need replacing.

It seriously makes us wonder if somebody at the ad company just said “fuck it” and decided to see if the manufacturer and/or the customers would notice an intentionally retarded ad.

Well, the verdict is apparently in. The intro says they’re the best-selling knives in America.

The reality:
According to the reviews, the only complaint is too much of a good thing:

“… well I ended up in the emergency room with stitches …. just be careful they are really quite sharp.”

Hopefully that person wasn’t peeling a potato when that happened. Otherwise, we owe the Handy Peel an apology.

You can find more of Glenn’s stuff on his blog SoapBoxFrequent.

10 thoughts on “The 10 Most Laughably Misleading Ads

  1. me


    You missed, on #2 PowerJet, the nipple action at 19 seconds. Look how off center the powerjet is there, to make plenty of room for the chest hams!

  2. you

    hm… iono…. rubbing metal on metal will dull anything… anyone kno wat those blades are made of?

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