Is this the worst advert ever??

Call me a sad old git, but yes, I keep a file of old ads, sales letters and other copywriting samples that might come in handy one day. This week I stumbled across my all-time favourite, and – even though it’s small and grainy – it’s high time I shared it with you.

(No lawsuits please – I’ve removed the offending company’s name to save their blushes!)

Just look at that headline: “Have a cracking Christmas with a new hearing aid”. OK, this was a Christmas promotion, but everything else about this ad is wrong!

1. There’s no generic link between Christmas and hearing aids – so wouldn’t they be better off relating to hearing problems with a festive slant?

2. What’s the duck doing there? What does a duck have to do with Christmas or hearing difficulties? Not much, unless this is a special duck that can’t hear himself singing Christmas carols!

3. How does the headline relate to the duck? Actually, I have a thoery on this: some idiot copywriter wrote “a quacking Christmas” to tie in ‘duck’ and ‘festivities’, then some bigger idiot said “lose the quack but keep the duck!” What were they thinking?? Even if they’d run with the quacking theme, it would still have fallen flat, because (a) it’s a God-awful pun, and (b) it’s got nothing to do with hearing aids! But as it is, it’s meaningless!

If this ad was just a little bit better, it would be total crap.

The biggest offence, of course is the headline. They’ve done nothing to force the connection between Christmas and hearing aids, so it’s as empty as saying “Cure your haemorrhoids in time for Lent” or “Easter isn’t Easter without a series of botox injections!”

But the visual concept can’t escape the post-mortem either. It can’t just do its own thing, it has to tie in to your headline – no excuses! Just slapping a santa hat on the duck isn’t enough to sell you a hearing aid, even if it does give you a warm and tingly festive glow.

I’ll leave the call to action alone as I’ve left the bottom off the ad. But all things considered, this has to be the worst press ad ever created! If you wrote it, hang your head in shame. If you responded to it, send me your address. I’ve got a Halloween-based cure for athlete’s foot that could be right up your street…

UK Copywriter James Daniel

James Daniel

You might not know who I am, but no doubt you've read my copy. If you've ever bought a hearing aid, a pizza oven, flat roof or vacuum cleaner. If you've hired a will writer, an IT guy or accountant. If you've been to events on marketing, acting or how to buy a business. There's every chance it started with a bit of my copy - a few simple, chatty, gently persuasive words. Ring any bells?

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