“Is That Not Bad Advertising?”
Funny Examples

by Rena Klingenberg.

Funny Examples Is That Not Bad Advertising, by Rena Klingenberg, Jewelry Making Journal

When I first moved to a small town where I used to live, I asked one of my new friends if there was a health food store in that area.

My new friend, who was born and raised there, answered,

“There is a health food store – but the lady who owned it died. Is that not bad advertising?”

Although I was sorry the owner had passed away, something about the way my friend added “Is that not bad advertising?” made me laugh – but it also made me think.

Ever since that conversation, I’ve seen businesses doing all sorts of things that fall into the category of unintentional “bad advertising”.

Here are two more examples
from that same small town:

On one of the main streets there, a restaurant and an emergency medical station are in the same outdoor mall.

The first time I saw this restaurant with the fleet of ambulances parked right in front of it, I thought,

“Oh my gosh – a major outbreak of food poisoning!”

Is that not bad advertising? 🙂

Then at the gas station I usually went to, there’s an advertisement up above the gas pump, promoting the station’s convenience store.

The original intention of the sign was to show a tempting photo of a cup of coffee and a muffin – in hopes of luring gas customers inside to buy something to eat.

But unfortunately, the sign is exposed to direct sunlight and the color has faded weirdly.

Now it shows what looks like a murky drink covered with pond-scum, next to a queasy grayish-green muffin.

Is that not bad advertising?

And finally,
here’s a jewelry example:

I knew a jewelry artist who had several cats – so understandably, she had a lot of trouble with cat hair sticking to her jewelry and displays.

But rather than removing as much of the hair as possible before her shows, she simply left it in place and told visitors to her booth,

“The jewelry comes with free cat hair!”

Is that not bad advertising?

I would love to hear about some of the of “bad advertising” you’ve seen!

Older Comments:

Robin Thomas says:

Not long ago, there was a luncheonette across from the train station named “Terminal Lunch!”

Ann Nolen says:

You have such a good sense of humor! I love it!
We have an auto body shop in our area that does a lot of advertising. When you drive by their business, the building is outrageously fancy and expensive looking. Clean and professional is good, but I don’t think I want them looking that profitable if they fix my car! I think that may qualify as “bad advertising…

Barbie says:

My favorite is a “Starbucks” sharing space with a bank branch. Makes me laugh every time I see it.

Pam says:

This really cracked me up – especially the one about the cat lady! I just can’t imagine a booth with cat hair – I have dogs, and really do my best to ensure that not one strand of dog hair is ever stuck to my black tablecoverings, to my clothing, or anywhere else! My dogs have no access to any of my supplies, either. Even dander could be dangerous to some peole, or at minimum, set off allergies.

I know a girl who crochets, while her dog is in her lap, and once my husband received a beautiful football-motif afghan from her, but the dog hair was intertwined with the yarn. Ugh! Not only bad advertising, but some people have life-threatening conditions like asthma, and could be taken out by this!

Didn’t mean to get on the soapbox – this just happens to be a pet peeve of mine. (Still, I adore my three greyhounds and don’t really mind the extra work of managing their hair!)

Rena Klingenberg says:

Love these examples of unintentional “bad advertising” – I’m not sure I could bring myself to eat a “Terminal Lunch”! 🙂

I agree that overly fancy businesses can definitely be bad advertising, especially in a down economy – we all know who’s really paying for that fanciness!

Pam, I so appreciate your awareness and carefulness with pet hair and dander – I have some family members who would be in serious respiratory trouble if they’d been given the dog hair afghan. That issue can make it tricky for allergy / asthma folks to buy handmade items.

I just thought of another example of “bad advertising” – from a small town near where I used to live:

There’s an auto-racing track on one side of the road – and directly across from it on the other side of the road is a cemetery.

Is that not bad advertising? 🙂

Bev Vickers says:

What great stories!
I really enjoyed ALL of them and I agree with Rena because pet hair can cause some people problems.
Anyway–thank you all for your contributions– I wish I had some to contribute but I worked for a OB/GYN, so mine wouldn’t be appropriate 🙂
Love You All, Bev

Sally says:

I am starting to see this everywhere now that is has been pointed out. I have also found business side by side that could be related humorous. For instance, a fancy looking restaurant right beside a heath clinic. I often wonder what came first!

Janette Stoll says

First time visitor. Love the humor and I will have to pay close attention to local advertisements the next time I’m out!

Vicky Hibberd says:

I can’t stand those notices you see where all the sentences are negative. It is so easy to change the wording round to positives which sounds so much more encouraging. e.g. ‘We don’t take credit cards’ – change to ‘We accept cash, personal cheques, and money orders’. ‘Please don’t touch the jewellery’ change to ‘please don’t hesitate to ask if you would like to look more closely or try something on’.

Barbara says:

Love Vicky’s comment. great way to look at things.
As for bad advertising, i have spent time on Etsy, looking at how others photograph/display/price their work. I have seen so many pics. like the 1 at the top of this article. Where jump rings aren’t closed properly. I always wonder if these people look at their pics. before posting them.

Nancy says:

Two things come to mind: first, jewelry websites with a picture of the jeweler holding a cat or with a picture of the cat among the supplies. As mentioned above, too many people are allergic to animals, especially to cats. We have 2 dogs and a cat, but none of them are ever, ever allowed in the workroom. Also, jewelry is cleaned before it’s sent out.

Second one is funny: a huge picture of a man standing in the middle of a nearby town with the caption about Bustling downtown ____(town name.) Except for the one man, the street sidewalks are deserted!

I agree about the negativity. We used to have a a brick/mortar shop in a small “destination” town. Almost every single business but ours had a negative sign about children not being welcome. We put one up saying children were welcome. We got a lot of business from that! (Just as a footnote, even though our business was upscale American handcrafts that ranged in price from inexpensive to thousands of $$, children were never a problem. Adults were the ones who broke things. And sometimes tried to hide them!)

Nancy says:

Yesterday an email arrived from a company that should have known better … the subject line read, “bad news” and the email started out with something about hating to send bad news on a Sunday morning, but …
This was followed by an announcement that a particular special was ending. That was the “bad news.”
We have been through some tough times, and a family to which we are are very close is going through terrible things right now. Things happening that are genuine “bad news”. The end of a sale is not one of them. When I saw the subject line and then the first part of the email, my stomach clenched up, thinking someone had died. This is NOT the way to advertise a sale or a company. I wonder how many others, being hit as I was, also removed their names from that email list!

Susan says:

What a great discussion! One comes to mind from many years ago in my home town. Anyone remember an old Pepsi commercial campaign, “Come alive, you’re in the Pepsi Generation”? Now imagine that billboard across from a large cemetary. Funny, the billboard didn’t stay there long. Think they must have had some complaints.

Rena Klingenberg says:

That one made me laugh out loud, Susan! 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

It also reminded me of a cemetery in a town where I used to live – they had a big sign out front, advertising “buy one cemetery plot, get one free!” My family called it the BOGO sale at the cemetery. LOL

Like the Pepsi “come alive” sign across from your hometown’s cemetery, the BOGO sale sign wasn’t up very long. 🙂

Becky says:

Rena I love all your beautiful work, Mentoring, the caringness, the love. I thank you! I salute you. I respect and appreciate all you do to help those and myself who are striving to make their dreams come true. I really enjoy JEWELRY making. I know I am off the main subject but wanted to share this with you.

Rena Klingenberg says:

Becky, thank you so much for your kind words – that means so much to me! 🙂

Elizabeth Wald says:

LOL Rena! Too funny but all too realistic. Still chuckling. 🙂


Wanda says:

This isn’t one example, but a general mistake in advertising. I hate when store owners have large display windows, but don’t bother to actually display their merchandise in a pleasing and eye catching manor. Worse yet, are the ones that let people plaster all kinds of ads and event flyers all over their windows so that you can’t even see the merchandise period. That drives me up a wall and I don’t patronize those places unless absolutely necessary.

Rena Klingenberg says:

I agree, Wanda! I don’t like it when a business has aggressive signs or policies posted that practically accuse me of doing all sorts of things that I’d never dream of doing! 🙂

Pamela says:

I went into a stationer’s store to get some copies made. Behind the counter was a hand lettered sign that said “XYZ & ABC editorial services” or something similar, but the & symbol was written backwards. I called it to the owner’s attention. She said, “but you noticed our sign; that’s great.” I said, “if that’s the best you can do with your editing, I’ll take my work elsewhere.” I didn’t even get my copies done there and she knew WHY!

Diane H says:

I once ate at a restaurant in Louisiana that was supposed to be great cajun food. The food was great but when we walked out the door to leave we noticed the cemetery right next door, don’t know why we didn’t see it before we went in. Also there was a bar in a small town in Arizona that had a sign out front that said “Welcome, bad food, bad service, warm beer.”
The bar has since closed.

Cathy Slavin says:

Thanks Rena for bringing this to our attention.I love all the funny stories!!

I wanted to mention that I just pulled my jewelry out of a once thriving, prominent, upscale shop in a town about an hour distant from where I live.
(I live way out in the country and would make the trip at least a couple times a month to check on my jewelry.)

There had been a recent change of management and within a couple of weeks it had taken on a very shabby look. The windows were covered with Sale posters and from inside you could not see the light of day.

I was horrified that to find my beautiful jewelry disheveled, Dusty and shoved on a bottom shelf in a dark corner.

I was further horrified when I collected my jewelry to find two pieces broken, and one missing.

My point in this story is how quickly a good thing can turn to bad advertising.

I had visited the shop not more than two weeks prior and things were good as they always had been. In that short period of time things have gone downhill so quickly.

This may not be the most appropriate place to bring up the subject but it is really important because we don’t want our beautiful jewelry and our brand to become bad advertising for us.

Thank you Rena.

Rena Klingenberg says:

Cathy, I know what you mean. It’s best to make regular checkups on the places that carry your work, so you can make sure your jewelry is still being displayed to your advantage, and the overall quality of the venue isn’t declining.

Delia Stone says:

Ugh! The cat hair bit was the worst of all. The health food store lady was funny – in a morbid sort of way. The ambulances/restaurant thing made it memorable, so while laced with irony it sticks in your head so it can’t be all bad. The convenience store… well, time to change the sign, for sure. But ‘free cat hair with every purchase’ says a lot about the artist, and wards off people who are allergic to cats. That one turned me off more than any of the others. And I like cats and have two of my own!

Joan says:

Years ago when Chevy sold the model Nova, it didn’t go over too well with Spanish speaking customers. In Spanish it means “no go”.

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