Whether because of tone-deaf tweets or ads with racist or sexist undertones, every year, some brands end up with egg on their faces.
In 2018, it was impossible to let some of these glaring gaffes slide. Here are some of the most cringe-inducing ads that caught our eye this year, in order of bad to worst. Check out the year’s best ads here.
Wendy’s, Doritos and Tide (Grade: C-)
Brands seizing blackouts as their moment to shine is so 2013, but Wendy’s, Doritos and Tide didn’t seem to have realized that. They were among the thirsty brands that tried to recreate Oreo’s real-time “dunk in the dark” moment by tweeting during a short blackout in the second quarter of Super Bowl 2018. Zero points for originality.
Bud Light’s “Bud Knight” (Grade: C-)
Once your branding campaign hits cultural meme status, it’s time to quit. But Bud Light didn’t know when to stop with “Dilly Dilly,” which went from endearing cultural phenomenon to an annoyance. Also, nothing screams desperate like hijacking “Game of Thrones” with an icy “Bud Knight” taking on a fiery dragon.
Kleenex’s “Mansize” Tissues (Grade: D)
Kleenex has had its extra-large “Mansize” tissues around since the 1950s. But in 2018, the term sounded too gendered to some. Kleenex scrapped its range of “Mansize” tissues this year, following social media complaints that the branding was sexist.