The ad that goes wrong: self de­pre­ci­a­tion is an art


I have come across a Bri­tish show called "The play that goes wrong" - where, you guessed it, ev­ery­thing that could go wrong does goes wrong even more than Ziad Rah­bani's "chi fechel". But what in­ter­ested me the most were the ads they ran for the show en­tic­ing peo­ple to "save money - don't come", "star­ring Tom Cruise - sub­ject to avail­abil­ity", "pre­mium seats - only £3,950" or a strapline that went that the play was "star­ring no one fa­mous", there was even lo­gos of the "tony" "olivier" awards and un­der­neath "they liked the show". Ads have ap­peared up­side down in news­pa­pers to em­pha­sise that even the mar­ket­ing was am­a­teur­ish.

Self-de­pre­ci­a­tion in ad­ver­tis­ing is an art all by it­self, few can mas­ter it as it takes real courage to talk one's self down as most au­di­ences don't get the joke. Among global brands, we have

with their "Re­as­sur­ingly ex­pen­sive" line, whereas this could be seen as not-re­ally-self-de­pre­ci­a­tion on many lev­els it is, take this ex­am­ple and ap­pre­ci­ate the irony:

Stella Ar­tois


be re­minded of the "Be Stupid" cam­paign. If self-de­pre­ci­a­tion was taken to new lev­els, then this was it. My favourite is this one, "Smart Cri­tiques, Stupid Creates" - sim­ply be­cause I am on both sides of the fence - not only do I do cri­tique on my blog, but I too go reck­less in my projects and art­works. With­out fur­ther de­lay, here it is:

But the crown un­de­ni­ably goes to "Hans Brinker Bud­get Ho­tel" in

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