Sometimes ads will intentionally go for sexual innuendos. The double entendres are entirely on purpose. This depends entirely on where the ad will be airing. In some countries, overtly sexual advertising is completely acceptable. In other countries there is only so much you can get away with unless your ad is airing on a channel specifically directed towards adults or after a certain time of night.
Other times, an innuendo comes through that the creators of the ad were completely unaware of. Some people just live a little more sheltered than others, and certain double entendres aren’t readily known to them. Other times, an ad agency from another country is brought in and the language barrier leads to some terms or images that have entirely different meanings in the country where the ad will be airing – the sexual implications of these ads were completely lost on the people involved with their creation.
Take a look at these hilarious advertisement fails that inadvertently wandered into rather sexual territory.
20. Burger King – “It Will Blow Your Mind Away”
This wasn’t a fail in the sense that Burger King didn’t know what they were doing. Burger King knew exactly what they were doing. It was the model in the ad that was left completely in the dark. She had no idea Burger King would go for such a vulgar innuendo. The model claims that BK “digitally raped her face” and called for a BK boycott. You can’t really blame her considering she hadn’t been made aware of the context. The model’s real name is unknown but she called for the boycott via her YouTube channel and expressed the fact that she did not give consent for her image to be used that way.
19. Danielle Smith Bus Ad – Alberta Political Campaign
A Canadian politician with the Alberta Wildrose party had to spend several thousand dollars to change the image on her campaign bus after pics like this one went viral. Obvious jokes were made and Smith decided the original image would just create a distraction during her campaign. On the other side of the coin, how did they not see this coming? Did anyone test the design? You would almost think someone from an opposing political party was operating on the inside.
Anyhow, I thought the joke was “nice headlights.” When was it changed to “nice tires?”
18. A Surprise You Know They’ll Love – Warehouse One Jean Store
Even if The Lonely Island hadn’t struck musical comedy gold with their single “D*** In a Box” featuring Justin Timberlake, I think most people would still be thinking the same exact thing. Even if you hadn’t heard the song, you’ve certainly heard of the ol’ popcorn bucket gag. If you hadn’t come across either…well there’s no sense in explaining it to you! For those of you that are in the know, how about you sing it with me:
“Step One: Cut a hole in the box. Step 2: Put your junk in that box. Step 3: Make her open the box…and that’s the way you do it!”
17. Sally Did What? – Party Clown For Hire
The worst part about this one is I always thought Sally was such a modest girl. Not only is Sally out banging the clown, but she’s doing it in front of children and seniors. Outside of the traveling show, there is apparently a meeting place for other people with an affinity for banging clowns. I don’t even want to know about the kinds of things that go on down at the “Red Nose Ranch.”
In theory, “Sally Bangs” is a great name for a clown. There really wasn’t any way around this one without changing the name. Otherwise no one would understand what the ad was for.
16. What A Shocker! – Bowling Ad
I can think of a number of things you can do with two fingers and a thumb, but bowling wouldn’t have even ranked in the first fifty things that popped into my head. The fact that the guy is right up behind the female doesn’t help keep the mind from wondering into fairly “adult” places. There’s a possibility the folks that put this together were going for the sexual innuendo, but it’s always better to just pretend they were clueless. These types of ads are always more entertaining when you feel like you know something that the ad agency doesn’t.
15. Show Her the Real You – Alpha Gear Underwear
This failure ambushes the reader from two directions. The first fail comes from the fact that the photographs on the page are arranged in a way that gives one the impression all the females on the page are starring at the man’s package, and all of them seem to have a look of shock or pleasant surprise on their face. Let’s not stop there though. We also have the added bonus that the slogan “show her the real you” would suggest that the underwear might make a man appear to be more well endowed or at least give some kind of added effect. That does not appear to be the case for the model they chose for the ad…
14. “Virginia Is For Lovers” – Virginia Tourism
Virginia might be for lovers and it’s always good to keep an open mind when it comes to an individual’s sexual identity. That being said, lines do need to be drawn, and it’s probably not a good idea to hire NAMBLA (the North American Man/Boy Love Association. Yes, that is definitely a real thing) to create your ad campaign.
“Virginia is for lovers” is the state’s slogan, but someone should have had a more careful eye when running some of these ads. The ad seems to be a little bit dated, but I’m not sure if the “simpler times” excuse will work in this case. We know exactly what the term “lovers” entails and a grown man holding hands with a little boy was just a bad choice.
13. Thanks For the Info, Toys R’ Us! – Toys R’ Us Ad
Never let it be said that Toys R’ Us doesn’t give great advice. The act of “pulling out” will save you money on a number of levels. One might say that if you “pulled out” you might be able to save a lot more than $600 on just Toys R’ Us trips alone. Outside of toys, you stand to have tens of thousands of dollars in other savings.
This ad fail works on a much darker level as well. I’m not here to stir the political pot, so this is only an observation, but if one were to “pull out” they might be able to save around $600 on a rather controversial procedure concerning a woman’s reproductive rights.
This phrase could have been used for a number of products, but the fact that it happened at a toy store just makes it golden.
12. A Weird Subliminal Message From Papa John’s – Papa John’s Pizza
I’d like to think that the real explanation for this promocode was the result of a clever Papa John’s employee slipping this one in through the cracks as a retaliation towards Papa John’s comments on raising the minimum wage for his workers. Unfortunately, the most likely explanation is someone just wasn’t thinking too hard when they approved the code. In their defense, anyone reading it can see how the code is supposed to be “buffalo chicken.” The thing about it is, someone should have caught this and mentioned that a single letter “H” between the “C” and “K” would have made a world of difference.
11. She Must Just Be Happy To See You – Nike Women
It might be a little hard to understand why this one is so amusing if you have a particularly good set of eyes. If you’re like the rest of us, there is a white shoe that’s a little hard to see on the white background, giving one the impression that the model in this Russian ad is, to try and put it cleanly, “hanging brain.” Once you see it, it’s all you can see. It doesn’t help that the leg of the woman working out in the background seems to have a similar skin tone as the girl used as the focal point for the ad. The position the main model is standing in doesn’t help matters either.
10. Good For You, Friend! – AT&T Ad
I’m really proud of this individual for being so comfortable with themselves that they’d make such a proclamation on an AT&T ad that they modeled for.
What’s that? Oh? Someone at AT&T messed up? Well that makes a lot more sense.
This series of ads took various types of multi-tasking one could do with their phones. They’d take two phone features and combine them into one term. You have to wonder how this guy feels about the blunder for his particular spot. I imagine “she-mail” has stuck as a nickname for the model within his circle of friends. Luckily, he looks average enough that random people on the street probably haven’t made the connection.
9. I Don’t Know…You Tell Me… – Newport Aquarium
Anyone with a sense of humor is going to take this to a couple hilarious places, namely a prostate exam or “third base.” Apparently, a number of conservative groups were up in arms about these ads, making claims that the Newport Aquarium knew exactly what they were doing. You know, because an aquarium would definitely have something to gain from passing along double entendres to children.
One does have to wonder what those two fingers have to do with an aquarium. I couldn’t possibly guess what they were actually trying to say or what those two fingers are actually supposed to symbolize. Outside of failing to notice an obvious innuendo, I’m not sure if anyone could figure out the answer to “what’s coming.”
8. You Want Me To Do What? – In Store Shoe Display
This is the greatest idea anyone has ever suggested to me. Why don’t I stop working and just start jerking? My other question is, what do my bedroom habits have to do with shoes? Generally, I take them off as soon as I walk in through the front door.
All kidding aside, apparently “jerkin” is a type of dance that originated in LA. People that do this dance are said to wear retro style sneakers and skinny jeans. Perhaps the types of shoes shown in this window are designed for optimal jerk. Hmmm…”optimal jerkin.” That sounds like a great phrase to use in another shoe display…
7. I Guess It Depends On If You’re Lonely Or Not – FAP Mattress store
These billboards were from a mattress store in Lebanon known as FAP. The result was a lot of North American people sharing them all over the internet. You just can’t ignore the fact that the word “FAP” pairs hilariously with images of people in bed. Especially when they come with slogans like “Undeniably…the best in bed” and “Leave the stress behind.”
Granted that in Lebanon this wouldn’t really be looked at as a fail per se, but internet trends travel fast, and the definition of “fapping” has definitely made its rounds. Let’s hope these were taken down before it became too big of a buzz term.
6. I’m Not Sure You Know What That Word Means… – Spirit Airlines
A cheap Airline known as Spirit Airlines had ads emblazoned with the word MILF all over the place. The acronym was used as part of a promotion offering cheap flights to a number of different island getaways (Many Islands, Low Fares). Spirit was actually reached for comment about why they would choose to have gone with the term “MILF.” The airline claims that they had no idea that the phrase stood for anything else other than their own made up definition. It’s so hard to believe that no one working with the airline would not have known what the term “MILF” is commonly used for. Maybe the explanation was just an attempt to avoid bad publicity when some folks couldn’t take a joke.
5. Just A Harmless Bicycle Ad – Czech Bicycle Shop Ad
It was a little hard to dig up information as to this ads exact origins, but it appears to come from a bicycle shop in the Czech Republic. You really can’t make the argument that something was lost in translation with this bicycle repair ad. The problem here is just a bad color choice in bicycle shorts (or a bad color choice in bicycle seats; take your pick). Like the Russian Nike billboard ad, once you catch it, it’s the only thing you can see. It’s like passing a car accident on the highway; it’s terrible but you just can’t turn away. I would be lying if I told you I didn’t giggle like a child with a sugar high every time I look at it.
4. That’s A Bit Rude Of You To Ask – Photography Studio
You have to wonder, “Who’s asking?”
It’s obvious this ad must be for some kind of portrait studio that wants to offer nice head-shots to interested individuals, but why on earth did they just not refer to them as “stellar head-shots!?” Why did they use the term “money shot?” The ad looks relatively modern. Nobody who took a look at this before it went to press had anything to say about what a “money shot” commonly refers to? The fact that so many of these mistakes seem to slip through the cracks makes me wonder if more people are a little sheltered than I thought, or if I’m a little too immature for my own good.
3. Tell Mom, “I Don’t Want Anymore Siblings!” this Mother’s Day. – WalMart Store Display
It’s highly likely that the picture of this in-store advertisement for a Mother’s Day sale was taken just before someone had changed the signs, but it’s always so much more fun to think some disgruntled, teenage employee knew exactly what they were doing when they changed the displays. There is also the possibility that over-population has become a huge problem in this display’s area of origin. Maybe this particular store sees more than its fair share of unruly children. There is a chance that the store manager is trying to say something to their clientele…
2. I Think A Little Something Was Lost In Translation… – Mr. Cock Babies & Kids Stores
Nothing is mis-translated here. In Argentina, there is a popular retailer for baby and children’s items called Mr. Cock. Luckily, in Argentina, nothing seems wrong here. However, pictures of Mr. Cock billboards and storefronts travel all over the internet and receive an endless supply of virtual giggles. In fact, many who haven’t done a little research don’t believe that these stores could possibly exist. These stores do, in fact, exist.
I can only image how often the store managers have to deal with English speaking tourists huddling in front of the entrance for a photo-op.
1. A Fireman Did What To Who!? – Gaviscon Heartburn Remedy
These ads for Gaviscon, a heart-burn remedy, are something to behold. The ads had aired on Australian and UK television for quite a while. The story goes that the company used an ad agency out of South Africa and something was lost in translation during copy. It didn’t help matters any that the heart-burn-fighting firemen traveling down the throat of the woman in the commercial were white of a gooey consistency.
For the most part, the sexual innuendo is pretty harmless and children probably wouldn’t catch it. It’s pretty awesome that the good people at Gaviscon just went ahead and aired the ads.