I’m more than a little excited about the launch of the Palm Pre this weekend. However, I’ve just watched the commercial for the new wonder phone and it’s almost made me not want to buy the device on principle. It’s got to be one of the corniest ads I’ve ever seen – it says nothing of the benefits of the Palm Pre and looks more like a shampoo advert than a pitch for a piece of cutting-edge technology. Then I started thinking though, that this isn’t the first awful commercial for a tech product. In fact, there’s been some real doozies throughout history, and many that were far worse than the wishy washy Palm Pre spot. Here are some of the worst:
10. Pole Position – I suspect Atari’s ad for its cutting edge racer from 1982 was a designed to be a little tongue-in-cheek. But it took some guts for them to mix in-game footage with shots of a family racing around a go-kart track. See if you can spot which is real and which is computerized:
9. X-Box 360 Rock Band 2 – Truly one of the strangest adverts I’ve ever seen, I’m not sure what the thinking was behind this one. We see a shot of a woman with a moronic grin spread across her face then the camera pans around to reveal the back of her head has been hollowed out and a band is playing rock in her brain. Very weird. See it (and loads more) after the jump…
8. Windows 1.0 – Microsoft’s marketing techniques aren’t what they used to be. Back in 1986, the best way they could think of to get people to buy their new OS was to have Steve Ballmer dressed as a used car salesman shouting as loud as he could at the camera. Can you believe this office joker went on to run the company?
7. Google Chrome – This one looks a lot like a stop-motion project I did in the tenth grade. A load of colored bricks being rearranged to make a picture of a browser, with absolutely no explanation of the software whatsoever? Then it has the cheek to order me to “Install Google Chrome”. Why?
6. DirecTV – Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking Beyonce, but I feel like she might have sold out a little with this commercial. Forced to sing a laughable song called “let me upgrade you” before rabbiting on about something she probably doesn’t care a jot about – that bling in her mouth should say “degrade”.
5. Slimtel – I may have knocked the Palm Pre ad, but the spot for the 80s equivalent of the device, British Telecom’s Slimtel, is at least 400 times more ridiculous. It stars lycra-clad babes singing as they work out with their ultra portable phone (which, amazingly, has a button you can press that recalls the last dialled number at a touch).
4. Commodore – Another 80s gem, this Commodore commercial promises a “world of fun and fantasy” for anyone who buys this revolutionary machine. The tagline is “Are you keeping up with the Commodore or is the Commodore keeping up with you?” I think we all know who won that battle.
3. Microsoft – The cringeworthy classic where Jerry Seinfeld meets Bill Gates in the shoe shop. How these two wacky guys are supposed to be making anyone interested in Microsoft is anyone’s guess. That Shoe Circus looks like a great place though. Must remember to drop by some time.
2. Mac Performa – Nothing could be further away than Apple’s slick marketing campaigns of today than its 1994 ad for the Performa. At the time the company were getting pummeled by Windows in the OS wars, and this commercial smacks of desperation. It pleads with users to buy a Mac, and why? Well, the main advantage is “to run a CD-ROM on a Mac you simply click, and play.” Wow!
1. Songsmith – Sorry to keep picking on you Microsoft but quite frankly you had it coming. The infamous Songsmith advert, which has now been parodied several times over, could rate as one of the worst commercials by any company ever. If you haven’t seen it yet, then check it out in its entirety: