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    June 9, 2007 12:03 AM

    Broken: (Just for Fun) UK plumber advertisement

    AburdenIan Chard submits a picture of a Plumbing advertisement taken in Oxford, UK:

    This plumber is called  A. Burden -- literally. 

    If that was your name, would you really plaster it in huge letters at the top of your ad?!?

    [Hey, if it stands out, it may be a smart move... -mh]

    May 23, 2007 12:03 AM

    Broken: Logo design for power awareness

    Flick_offWes Goodhoofd writes in:

    The picture I have attached has the words "Flick Off" and is sanctioned by the provincial government here in Ontario, Canada for awareness to climate change.

    Their idea is to make people "flick off" their lights and other electronics when not in use, and while the idea is excellent, the execution is broken.

    They have purposely used a font that makes the phrase appear as the F word. The worst part of this is that this logo appears on numerous campaign items, like buttons and bumper stickers that are given out to everyone from elementary school students to adults.

    The logo for this campaign is broken and can be found at

    April 30, 2007 12:03 AM

    Broken: Fresh choice "Eastern Delights" advertisement

    FreshchoiceKenneth Norton writes:

    I received this advertisement from Fresh Choice, (a restaurant chain) about its featured Asian delights.

    "Granny's Apple Cobbler" sounds delicious but definitely Western.

    I also like how they even used a special "Asian" font for the apple cobbler title.

    April 24, 2007 12:03 AM

    Broken: Time Warner Cable interstitial ad

    TwcadKevin Shay writes in:

    Time Warner Cable's website presented me with this interstitial ad after I clicked on "Pay My Bill."

    Making me look at an ad first in order for me to pay my bill is broken.

    March 28, 2007 12:03 AM

    Broken: Bulldog tag

    Pugs_tag1John Goodyear points out:

    This is a tag that was attached to a hat I bought from a company that calls itself "Pugs Gear", but the animal they choose to display on the tag is a bulldog.

    They should really call themselves "Bulldog Gear" or change the picture on the tag to a pug.

    March 8, 2007 12:03 AM

    Broken: BMW ad in Wellington airport

    BmwadMiles Thompson submits a picture taken in Wellington, New Zealand:

    I came across this curious advertisement while passing through the airport in Wellington, New Zealand.

    The sign says "It's only a car." They missed the count by one. More accurately, "There's no car."

    March 6, 2007 12:03 AM

    Broken: Two recent shopping sights

    Two sights from a recent shopping excursion:

    Dsc00449I thought of buying Super Automatic Machine but decided not to. Maybe if it had been called Super Happy Automatic Machine I would have bought it. (This was the entire label for the product in the store's window display.)

    Dsc00454Doesn't anyone copy edit product packaging any more?

    February 27, 2007 12:14 AM

    Broken: Home Depot "library" display

    Dsc00438Following up on yesterday's post about the Home Depot receipt, this is part of the window display of the Home Depot on 23rd Street in Manhattan.

    You're seeing this right: apparently, Home Depot's idea of "the library" is a set of tall bookshelves... and a toilet. Complete with several rolls of toilet paper.

    I always thought reading was classy...

    February 23, 2007 12:03 AM

    Broken: (Just for Fun) Kline Realty advertisement

    KlinerealtyadA reader submits an advertisement seen in Brooklyn, New York:

    I saw this ad for Kline Realty posted around the neighborhood which made me laugh.

    My favorite part of the ad is - "Just type in and when it comes on, turn up the volume and fasten your seat belt or you'll jump up and start dancing."

    February 13, 2007 12:03 AM

    Broken: Lawn care advertisement

    LawncareadMark Crummett writes in:

    I found this ad on my driveway for a local lawncare and landscaping company here in North Carolina - delivered in a ziplock bag with some rocks!

    I understand why the ad was packaged this way - the plastic bag keeps it dry, and the rocks make it easier to throw from a vehicle. Kinda clever, I suppose. But the idea of using this bit of non-recycleable trash to advertise a lawn care business seems ironic to me. (The ad looked a lot like another piece of trash in the gutter.)

    February 5, 2007 12:03 AM

    Broken: Hammacher Schlemmer wall map (in Sky Mall)

    Skymallwallmap2_1 This is one of my all-time favorites. Flying on Continental a few weeks ago, I flipped through the SkyMall magazine and found this wall map from Hammacher Schlemmer.

    See how intently the father teaches his daughter world geography!

    January 31, 2007 12:03 AM

    Broken: Universal City Nissan ad

    FakegiftcardTroy Pozirekides points out:

    I found this gift card in an ad for a new Nissan car dealer in Universal City, California. However, after reading the back of the supposed gift card, I found out that

    - This is NOT a gift card.

    - This card is in NO WAY an endorsement for, promotion of, or represents any company other than the location listed on the attached advertisement.

    - This card has NO monetary value.

    - This card can ONLY be redeemed at the location listed on the attached advertisement.

    I also never figured out what the card could be redeemed for.

    December 14, 2006 12:03 AM

    Broken: American Spirit cigarette ad

    AmericanspiritcigadKevin Cawley writes:

    The inside of this American Spirit cigarette ad fold out lists all the additives & chemicals which are in other cigarettes, yet not in American Spirits. The point of this being "Do you know what you're smoking?" That is, you should smoke a healthier cigarette, one without all these added chemicals. Right?


    In addition to the standard Surgeon General's warning, the ad also contains a second warning:

    "No additives in our tobacco does NOT mean a safer cigarette."

    Does anyone want to explain what the point of the ad is?

    (Inspired by Seth Godin and This is Broken)

    December 7, 2006 12:03 AM

    Broken: Walgreens promo coupon

    SoftsoapwalgreensA reader points out:

    I found this Walgreen's coupon for Softsoap liquid soap. The coupon is advertising to "stock up" on Softsoap liquid soap, however your are limited to buying only 2!

    October 27, 2006 12:03 AM

    Broken: Fishing lure advertisement

    BerkleygulpA reader points out:

    This Berkley Gulp fishing lure advertisement is from a Bass Pro catalog.

    The fishing lure material is described as plastic, however there is a "Plastic-Free 100% biodegradable" indicator on the ad.

    If the fishing lure is indeed not made of plastic, then they should provide the exact description of the material. Otherwise, if the fishing lure is made of plastic then they should eliminate the "Plastic-Free 100% biodegradable" icon from the ad.

    October 13, 2006 12:03 AM

    Broken: Science Fiction Book club flyer

    NostringsA reader named  C. D. Tavares writes in:

    This flyer from the Science Fiction Book club promises:

    All books in the enclosed catalog and flyers $9.99 each.
    It's that simple.
    No strings attached.
    End of story.

    But on the opposite side the flyer says:

    - Please note: Harry Potter books and Eldest are not eligible for the $9.99 offer. Orders for these books will be priced at regular Club price

    - Offer subject to change

    The advertising line "End of Story" is inappropriate for this promotion.

    September 6, 2006 12:03 AM

    Broken: Financial Times promotion

    WantodriveA reader named Michael writes in:

    I received this picture in an e-mail promotion from Financial Times magazine. 

    The text elsewhere in the message says "Life in the Fast Lane Instant Win Game" and "Enter now for a chance to win a 1-day dream driving experience courtesy of World Class Driving."

    They mention Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, and Aston Martin next to their promotional graphic -- but they actually show a picture of a Ford. 

    I guess "Want to drive a Ford?" doesn't have the same ring to it.

    August 31, 2006 12:03 AM

    Broken: Listerine label

    Listerine_1Nathan Allen points out:

    In big large letters this Listerine label says, "As Effective As Floss," but below in smaller print it says, "Floss Daily."

    If Listerine is as effective as flossing then why would one still need to floss?

    August 10, 2006 12:03 AM

    Broken: Ultra Nail advertisement

    NailGeorge McDougal points out:

    I was looking through a catalog my wife got from Walter Drake and wonder why anyone would buy this nail product called Ultra Nail.

    The nail looks much worse after using the product than before using the product!

    June 19, 2006 12:03 AM

    Broken: Speedway tower ad

    SpeedwayA reader sends in a picture taken in Joilet, Illinois:

    I am certain that there is supposed to be a visible ad on the garbled screen of this speedway tower.

    April 4, 2006 08:40 AM

    Broken: Amazon sports e-mail

    Seth posted a bulk e-mail he got from Amazon:

    Subject: [placeholder for winning team] Wins the NCAA Tournament
    Dear Customer,
    Congratulations, [placeholder for winning team]! As someone who has purchased...

    See the original post: Go Placeholders!! Defense, defense.

    January 19, 2006 12:03 AM

    Broken: Used tires ad

    Newused1Ron Dylewski submits a picture of an ad spotted along Route 28 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania:

    I assume they mean "Brand new AND used tires," but I'm not entirely sure!

    December 26, 2005 12:03 AM

    Broken: Sprint billboard at Times Square, NY

    67562776_f4117679a9Joe Schmidt points out:

    This is a picture of a Sprint billboard at Times Square in New York City displaying a crashed Windows screen. 


    The original and all sizes can be seen here on Joe Schmidt's Flickr photo stream.

    December 14, 2005 10:03 AM

    Broken: (not broken) Billboardom

    Not broken... just a sort of related site, showing interesting advertising campaigns. BILLBOARDOM: Gallery of Billboards, Signage and Outdoor Advertising.

    December 10, 2005 03:20 PM

    Broken: Nuts Online slogan

    Nutsonline_3I'm officially starting the club called "Then why'd you name it that?"

    First entry: Nuts Online - "we're more than just nuts!"

    December 2, 2005 12:03 AM

    Broken: Triple thick shake

    3xshakeRobert Lee observes:

    McDonald's advertises a "Triple Thick® shake". I've been trying to locate the National Shake Thickness Standard to verify that these shakes are three times thicker than the standard.

    [Maybe not "broken", but an apparently unprovable promise... -mh]

    November 2, 2005 12:03 AM

    Broken: Disney product disclaimer

    Disney_product_disclaimer_1 Andrew Tonkin points out:

    Not all that broken, but certainly ironic and unfortunate. Actually, from a customer communications point of view, it is pretty broken.

    On this listing for a Disney gift item, two pieces of a legal copy of wildly different urgency wound up getting smooshed together:

    WARNING: This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer, or birth defects or other reproductive harm. Sorry, no gift boxing available.

    Not only do you get cancer, but it doesn't even come in a box. Alas.

    October 25, 2005 12:03 AM

    Broken: "Buy 2 Get 2"

    Buy2get2 Forrest Charnock points out a "Buy 2 Get 2 Sales Event":

    The people in the store don't see a problem. I guess it's better than buy 2 get 1.

    October 24, 2005 12:03 AM

    Broken: Rogers Video shelf ads

    OverhangadJim Grusendorf writes:

    Rogers Video has started putting these ads on the video shelves that hang over the edge, blocking a significant portion of the DVD covers on the shelf below.

    October 21, 2005 12:03 AM

    Broken: P & O shameful ad

    Pando_ad Gary Bramall writes:

    Taken just by the Gatwick express: "people want escape, not escape tunnels."

    Don't know if it is broken in the true context of the word but it's wrong. What next - will Eurostar advertise about ferries sinking?

    October 20, 2005 12:04 AM

    Broken: Hotel ad

    Broken_1John Spain writes:

    Not sure how broken one would consider this, but advertising hotels with a picture of someone's feet poking out of a sheet, on a website about celebrity crime, is a little creepy. The feet look like all they're missing is a toe tag.

    October 12, 2005 03:47 PM

    Broken: Swatch ad

    Contextual Advertising Fails Again: Swatch ad poorly positioned over earthquake story.

    September 22, 2005 12:03 AM

    Broken: Perkins menu

    1whole_menu2expandedOJ Ganesh writes:

    I caught this at my local Perkins. They have a new menu called the Great Day Breakfast menu. While the front of the menu is OK, the fine print on the back of the menu isn't so good.

    It makes me think that, for a limited time and at participating restaurants, I could increase my risk of foodborne illness! Yum. A small rewrite might be in order.

    September 9, 2005 10:47 AM

    Broken: Advertising cliches

    The definitive list of advertising cliches.

    13. Both men and women find driving deeply pleasurable, never boring or stressful.

    14. Men are inherently lazy/slobbish; women are the reverse.

    15. Chocolate, however, will cause women to immediately fall into the languor of the opium eater.

    September 3, 2005 12:03 AM

    Broken: Camera product copy

    John Weber points out the "incompatible convenience" promised in this camera:

    Omisys DC6330 is completed with a 3X digital zoom (10 steps), TV out playback, 1.5?color LCD, and USB interface compatibility; all these just to deliver the incompatible convenience.

    August 25, 2005 12:03 AM

    Broken: "Greek" spa sign

    Athena_031005_001Athena_031005_002Andrew Lyons writes:

    A spa called Athena (after the ancient Greek godess) is opening near where I work. It has an odd banner. I think the designer was told to "put a picture of a statue on it". The problem is, they used a statue of Queen Victoria. To my knowlege she wasn't Greek (or ancient enough).

    August 19, 2005 12:03 AM

    Broken: Vonage ad banner

    VonageHoward Meyer writes:

    It looks like the lady has fat arms, but really she's sitting in a chair.

    August 18, 2005 06:54 AM

    Broken: Ad placement

    PitcherAdam Gillitt points out this poor ad placement on - selling the same steroids that Rafael Palmeiro got busted for using.

    (Thanks to Steve Hoffmann for a similar submission.)

    August 4, 2005 10:17 AM

    Broken: Hennessy ad

    MarvinjpgMichael Beckner points out this photo and adds:

    Lemme get this straight: Hennessy, clearly "thinking different", uses Marvin Gaye's image to promote its hooch. Did nobody mention that this icon's life was cut tragically shot when he was shot by his alcoholic father?

    July 29, 2005 12:03 AM

    Broken: Roof-repair ad

    Mail2Ken Weiner points out that this ad copy might need some improvement.

    July 18, 2005 12:04 AM

    Broken: Icons on corporate van

    VansignPhilip Hollenback writes:

    Here's a logo seen on the side of a van from some document management company. The text is fine, but quick: what do the icons mean? It's a mystery to me.

    This was taken near Wall Street, NYC.

    July 13, 2005 09:53 AM

    Broken: Wrinkle-resistant product page

    Rod suggests that Eddie Bauer's website could do a better job of presenting its "wrinkle-resistant" clothing. This product page shows a nice shirt with more than a couple wrinkles.

    Note: As of 4/7/06, the link is down. -eds.

    July 7, 2005 12:15 AM

    Broken: Stock photo choice

    CingularDaniel writes:

    Not exactly broken, but perhaps a bad stock photo choice. Does this person look happy to be a Cingular customer? She seems as ticked off as I do when I get my monthly statement. $106 for two lines and I still don't get good reception in my apartment? Sheesh.

    June 24, 2005 04:04 PM

    Broken: Tostitos "better tasting" promise

    Ben Phillips writes:

    Recently I was eating a bag of Tostitos chips and I realized that they said "Now Better Tasting!" Hmmm, I thought, they didn't seem to taste much better than the last time I ate chips. I have seen this used as advertisement many times. There are two fundamental reasons why this is broken:

    1) It's arguing a vague point. It gives me no reason to believe that my Tostitos actually taste better now than they did before. Isn't all food supposed to taste good?

    2) Taste is subjective. No matter what they did to change the food, people have different tastes and there's no guarantee that everyone would like the taste better.

    June 17, 2005 12:03 AM

    Broken: Footsmart ad

    FootdumbChristopher Bergeron writes:

    This is a picture from a Footsmart ad in a Sky Mall on a United Airlines plane. It you look closely it says "right foot" on the right side, and "left foot" on the left side, but the cutouts and the footprints are reversed! Maybe they should call it Footdumb?

    June 9, 2005 12:03 AM

    Broken: Spamalot ad

    Dsc01205In honor of the new Broadway musical "Spamalot" winning three Tony Awards a few days ago, I thought I'd point out this erroneous bus ad. The ad promises "witches", which are totally absent from the show.

       "How do you know she is a witch?"
       "She looks like one!"

    This favorite scene of Python fans is not in the show.

    But I did see Spamalot a few months ago, and it's a good show. So nothing's very broken here. I figure they designed the bus ad early on, when the script included the witch scene, and then the witch scene was cut later, after the bus ad was in production.


    June 7, 2005 12:08 AM

    Broken: Unreadable print ad

    Gray3Speaking of light gray text on a white background, I scanned in this print advertisement that I've spotted in two major publications - The Atlantic and The Economist - this week.

    This SUV manufacturer is paying a LOT of money for what's actually a two-page spread in these magazines. The only problem is, the whole ad is light gray text on a white background. Which means you can't actually read what the ad is saying, or what it's about. But that's what all the cool designers are doing, right? Wow, what a kewl waste of ad money!

    May 17, 2005 12:05 AM

    Broken: AdvantEdge discount coupon

    WholeadRobert McLaughlin points out this AdvantEdge nutrition bar coupon for .50 cents off... what a deal!

    May 2, 2005 12:03 AM

    Broken: Dell keyboard ad

    BkeyboardRon Chen points us to this Dell ad. Ron adds, "Note the keyboard and the phrase 'Easy as Dell'."

    Look closely...

    April 21, 2005 12:19 AM

    Broken: Sausalito hotel sign

    Steve Manning points us to this post, in which a hotel in Sausalito, CA boasts of a Pacific Ocean view. That's broken: Sausalito is on the bay, not the ocean!

    April 2, 2005 12:05 AM

    Broken: (Just for fun) Graphic Arts Exchange URL

    Not necessarily broken, but an interesting point. Morgan Cloward points out that the Graphic Arts Exchange may want to change its URL from

    February 28, 2005 12:01 AM

    Broken: Yahoo Personals ad

    Weird_adTobin Lam writes:

    This ad seems to imply that people aren't always truthful in online personals.  It looks like that woman is claiming to be a man seeking a woman.

    February 23, 2005 12:37 AM

    Broken: eBay ad

    LepsJoey Seybold points out another bad example of search engine advertising. Searching Google for "leprosy" brings up an eBay ad:

    Leprosy For Sale
    Low Priced Leprosy
    Huge Selection! (aff)

    February 22, 2005 12:25 AM

    Broken: Restaurant website

    Daniel writes: "Village 247 is a restaurant in Brooklyn, NY. But look around the site and you'll soon discover that nowhere in the entire web site is the restaurant's address, hours, or any sort of contact information other than a phone number at the bottom of the Catering page.

    You'd think that an address and directions would be one thing a restaurant would need to put on their web site. It's even more important than the menu!"

    February 17, 2005 12:57 AM

    Broken: Logitech's "special price"

    This Logitech digital pen has a suggested retail price of $99.95, but a "Special Price" of $99.95! Get it while it lasts!

    Thanks to Daniel.

    February 9, 2005 10:28 AM

    Broken: Jimmy Dean tag line

    Suffice to say:

    "The eggs come from real chickens, the cheese comes from real cows, and the sausage comes from Jimmy Dean."

    Whole commercial is recounted here.

    Thanks to Phoebe for the pointer.

    February 4, 2005 12:24 AM

    Broken: Software sales copy

    Fedmoneybroken_1Julie Stanford writes:

    Here's an example of how to scare people from buying your product in the effort to sell it.

    This picture is from the home page for "Federal Money Retriever" software that helps you find government grants ( Based on the text in the area I circled in red, I am led to believe that before buying this software I first have to do some soul searching to figure out if I am worthy enough to use this software, or if in reality I am a big loser who is never going to be succesful in getting a government grant and so should stop now and just settle for a trailer down by the river.

    January 27, 2005 09:49 AM

    Broken: PBS online store merchandising

    PbscropPbs0127The website shows an unfortunate error in merchandising in its online store: the product graphic of a stuffed animal leads visually right into the promo for the program "Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State." See the live site at

    Thanks to James Schmill for the pointer.

    Broken: Math in ad banner

    Ad1Ad2Julian Smith writes:

    I found this ad on a website I was on. Obviously the creators of this ad dropped high school math.  "Forty-two percent less" is more than half.

    January 20, 2005 12:44 AM

    Broken: Wireless mouse

    18660_sq250Anyone want to buy a wireless mouse? Note that it has wires attached.

    Thanks to Mario Pereira.

    January 17, 2005 12:27 AM

    Broken: Magazine subscription rates

    Paul Schreiber points out that, for Performing Songwriter magazine, subscriptions are $25.95.

    But gift subscriptions are only $19.95. He concludes: "Good thing I bought myself a 'present.'"

    January 10, 2005 06:30 PM

    Broken: Blockbuster tagline

    BlockbusterDan Newman follows up the Comcast flyer with this:

    You may be aware that Blockbuster recently ended late fees. However, their advertising tagline for this move is incredibly poorly worded... in every store, on TV, on the radio, in newspapers, etc, it says "The end of late fees, the start of more."

    I know what they meant. However, at face value, the statement seems to imply that they're ending these current late fees and introducing new fees.

    See live page here.

    Broken: Advertising flyer

    Ad_002_1Victor Zeiser sends in a strangely-worded flyer from Comcast. The ad promises "high speed" and "higher value", then says "That was then. This is Comcast."


    January 7, 2005 12:05 AM

    Broken: PC ad

    Crop0011sAn anonymous reader writes:

    This came from a local PC shop. I thought it was pretty funny that they chose to use a very old Macintosh in the graphic. Brings new meaning to the old saying, "Windows 98 is like Macintosh 84."

    December 29, 2004 12:39 AM

    Broken: Life Savers store listing

    Firefoxscreensnapz001A TIB reader points out that the LifeSavers website,, allowed (children) users to search for stores in their area that participated in a recent sweepstakes.

    After entering his zip code, this reader saw the first result: Absolute Smoke Shop.

    He writes, "Seems kind of weird to be sending little kids into a cigarette store."

    December 27, 2004 12:04 AM

    Broken: Advertisers' search-result ads

    Some advertisers are buying strange keywords in the search engines, and then basing their ads on those search queries.

    From Boing Boing:

    These are all actual AdWords results [i.e. ads shown in Google searches]:

    Find Everything You Want at Ebay
    It's Fun, Quick & Easy to Buy! -aff

    Find Drought
    We have what you're looking for.
    Drought & much more!

    600+ Popular Stores - One Website &
    One Simple Checkout - Shop Now! SHOP.COM

    Lint for sale. aff
    Check out the deals now!

    December 21, 2004 12:01 AM

    Broken: HOJO hotel features

    HojoMark Makower points out this screenshot from (from the Howard Johnson hotel chain). Look carefully in the lower-left corner to see two of the perks of this particular location:

    Free Copy Machine - $.25 Per Copy
    Free Faxing - $1.25 Per Page

    Just shows that nothing in life is free - unless, of course, you're charged for it.

    November 18, 2004 12:01 AM

    Broken: Viawest tag line

    RealcoScott Palmer writes:

    The enclosed company's website tag line is:
        Real company
        Real relationships
        Real internet solutions

    The problem is that the first thing on their site that you see is a Flash movie that says "We are a real company."  It doesn't really inspire confidence when you put it that way.

    [Especially from a telecom company. -mh]

    November 4, 2004 12:01 AM

    Broken: Amazon sad-logo

    Sad_amazonDaniel writes:

    Amazon, like Nike, doesn't put their name on some of their packages. But when the Amazon logo lands the wrong side up, their happy smile turns into a sad frown...

    October 26, 2004 12:29 AM

    Broken: Ad banner of impossible piano

    Weird20piano20adI saw this ad awhile back, while listening to a classical radio station (Radio Classical, I think) through Windows Media Player. Most people listening to a classical station should know what a piano looks like, and this one is missing C# on every octave.

    October 14, 2004 07:20 PM

    Broken: Volvo homepage

    VolvoSeth Godin points us to this gem: the home page of Volvo cars - - shows a list of models and the words "Roll Over."
    Igor takes it a bit further.

    October 4, 2004 12:01 AM

    Broken: "Expensive" store name

    DSC03643Here's a shopping bag I spotted in Spain recently. The name of the store is emblazoned on the broad side of the bag:


    And then on the side, the bag includes the tag line:

        *not* expensive fashion

    Why create a name that needs to be defended by the tag line?

    September 24, 2004 12:01 AM

    Broken: George Foreman Grill logo

    fatgrillEric Tilbrook writes:

    Here's what's broken: George Foreman's Lean Mean Fat Grilling Machine.

    I actually thought that's what this device was for when I walked by it in the store. (I guess I don't watch a lot of TV.) It wasn't till I went back and looked closely at the the logo that I saw it was a "Lean Mean Fat-REDUCING Grilling Machine" -- but the key word "reducing" had been rotated, colour-inverted, and stretched into a little hourglass shape that was only slightly more legible in real life than it is in my enlargement here.

    I suspect another case of computer-enhanced incompetence; the poor guy whose job it was to come up with a logo probably never had any training in design or typography, but he sure was a whiz with WordArt!

    September 8, 2004 12:43 AM

    Broken: Subway's digital billboard

    PICT0146Chris Perednia writes from right here in New York:

    What do you get when you cross the NYC MTA (subway system), Microsoft, and the latest in advertising technology?

    August 31, 2004 12:01 AM

    Broken: Avery binder insert

    binder_005Just in time for back-to-school season, a reader writes:

    I bought a blue Avery binder for my school portfolio. The binder is blue all over, but the information sheet inside clearly advertises "Black inside for the professional look."

    August 26, 2004 12:01 AM

    Broken: Newspaper ad for cars

    3_6_MONTJim Sutton writes:

    Here's how not to buy advertising! This advertisement appeared in the Friday edition of our local newspaper. The problem: Nowhere is the company's name, phone number or address mentioned.

    Which is too bad, because the 99 BMW looked interesting. I wonder what a full page ad costs these days?

    August 16, 2004 12:01 AM

    Broken: Dumb Nextel cell phone ad

    nextel1nextel2Here's an ad I saw here in Manhattan. I think it's trying to get people to buy a Nextel cell phone, but it only succeeded in confusing me.

        "It has a special get-to-the-point button."

    Huh? First of all, there's no such button on the phone (see second photo). Second of all, what in the world are they talking about?!

    July 9, 2004 12:26 AM

    Broken: United advertisement

    nolimitokaymaybelimitA reader writes in:

    Sitting in an airport with a heavy carry-on bag, I was heartened by this friendly, happy marketing ad from United: "Our skies have no limit."

    Then I stepped back and looked at the entire piece that the ad is attached to [see second graphic]. Limitless skies? Er, not so much.

    March 12, 2004 12:25 AM

    Broken: Target price reduction

    Danyel Fisher writes:

    Target currently advertises the DVD of BASIC for $14.44, PRICE CUT from $19.99. But flip up the new price tag and see what was below it... the old price, of $14.44.

    March 2, 2004 01:19 AM

    Broken: Restaurant name

    Inkeri Pekkanen writes from Finland:

    Here's a photograph of a restaurant in Sofia, Bulgaria... Would you _really_ like to eat in a place called "Oops!"? I know I wouldn't.

    February 10, 2004 02:48 AM

    Broken: FrontPage banner ad

    Kurt Morris writes:

    Don't know how long this will be available, but this ad for FrontPage is priceless. Look at line 28. Oops!
    [For the non-Web designers reading This Is Broken: the ad promises that FrontPage has "cleaned up our act," but there's an error in the HTML code displayed in the ad. On line 28, there shouldn't be a slash before the "p".   -mh]

    February 5, 2004 03:21 AM

    Broken: Ad on barf bag

    Jarrod Hepburn writes:

    I'm sending a picture of a motion sickness bag I got on a Qantas flight from Sydney to Melbourne last year. The bag has a special offer for Kodak photo developing on it: "Please take this bag with you and pass on to family or friends if you are unable to use". I was feeling quite well on the flight, so I dutifully took the bag with me since I was unable to use it. It's still unused.

    January 28, 2004 12:59 AM

    Broken: Marketing translations

    Chris Law points us to Marketing Translation Mistakes, a site run by Tex Texin in Boston. An excerpt:

    A few years back Reed Business News relaunched itself with the branding: "If it's news to you, it's news to us.".
    It was replaced after a couple of days...

    December 17, 2003 02:57 AM

    Broken: Lord of the Rings review (funny)

    Dave L. writes:

    With the imminent release of Return of the King, I thought you might like this.

    This is a clipping from an inflight magazine from "Air Caribe" (one of the Caribbean island-hopping airlines) from about August 2002.

    Something is definitely a little broken here :)

    And, folks, remember (as if you need reminding) that today is the release date of Return of the King!

    December 9, 2003 03:50 AM

    Broken: Billboard wording (funny)

    Seen on Defective Yeti: This billboard is just wrong. I'm all for well-meaning public-service announcements... but will this really make the youngsters aspire to become engineers?

    September 25, 2003 10:56 AM

    Broken: Banner ad

    Jay Bienvenu writes:

    I snapped this on last year as Tropical Storm Isidore approached the Louisiana coast. I live in south Louisiana and was monitoring the storm. Reserving a tee time was high on my priority list at the time. :) Though it might have helped my score!

    The ad in question was part of a set of mini-ads that rotated at that location. It appears that has removed the ad.

    August 4, 2003 06:00 AM

    Broken: E-mail-to-Web handoff

    Phil Terry forwards the monthly update of the American Museum of Natural History, which includes a promo for "reefer madness" in Australia:

    >************** D I S C O V E R Y T O U R *****************
    >Reefer madness in Aussieland! Get up close and personal with the
    >Great Barrier Reef on this amazing snorkeling adventure.
    The e-mail promo is fine. What's broken is the page you get when you click on the link. There's no mention whatsoever of the Australia trip. As Phil notes, "To find the Barrier Reef adventure, you have to click By Region and then scroll down two screens to find it."

    July 21, 2003 06:00 AM

    Broken: Magazine subscription card

    Paul Schreiber sends in his coworker's rant:

    Both these subscription cards came from two copies of the June 2003 issue of MacWorld magazine.

    The top one ($34.97/year) was in the issue I subscribe to.

    The bottom one ($19.97/year) was in the newsstand issue.

    Broken: Penalizing repeat customers.

    July 18, 2003 06:00 AM

    Broken: CD in magazine

    John Cady writes:

    The July issue of Wired came with a CD-ROM advertising the new DaimlerChrysler Crossfire. I popped the CD into my computer for a look. The CD installed itself into my startup program so that now, whenever I turn on my computer, it launches this ad which takes some time to close. They've hijacked my computer! What's worse is that I can't find the new program anywhere to uninstall it. You can bet my next car won't be Dodge, Chrysler, Plymouth, Mercedes, or Maybach.
    Update: John reports that after running AdWare, the offending startup is now gone.

    Update 7/21: Joel Rome writes that "Another problem with the CD was that much of its 'content' was links to pages on Chrysler's web site. At least one of those links is no longer working. And I tried the CD the same day I received the magazine in the mail. I thought of you as I threw the CD in the trash."

    July 17, 2003 06:00 AM

    Broken: URL in print ad

    Brent Hardinge spotted an Audi print ad with unfortunate placement of its website URL. It's right beside the tagline, "Never follow." Oops.

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