Advertisements & Campaigns That Failed in 2018


Though advertisers may have the best intentions while creating campaigns, it doesn’t always translate to the small screen. Some ads fall under the list of failed ones because they’re absurd, others alienate audiences completely from the brand, and some just can’t seem to highlight the product they are selling. The following are some of the advertisements/campaigns that failed in 2018:

Kalyan Jewellers Ad with Amitabh Bachchan and Sweta Nanda

The 1:30 ad for Kalyan Jewellers released approximately three months ago, and gave birth to quite a storm. The ad showed an old man (Amitabh Bachchan) with this daughter (Sweta Nanda) going to a bank. They are spurned away by one rude teller after another until they are finally heard out. The old man wants to return his pension money because it came twice. It was this sense of integrity that the ad wanted to associate with Kalyan Jewellers, but it really backfired. Most people were put off by the way the bank tellers were represented (and most banking officials went up in arms against this ad) and as a result, the ad did nothing to gain any brand affection or loyalty.


Bru Ad with a Random Couple

This Bru Gold Ad has puzzled me since it launched. It shows a young couple asking a man if they could create coffee as great as brew by planting a coffee plant in their home. The man replies that it is possible (in a tone that suggests it’s super easy) and all they have to do is pick out red berries, dry them, and roast their seeds for brew coffee. The ad ends here, leaving the viewer wondering what on earth the point of what they just saw was. Are they trying to say making brew is easy? Were they being sarcastic about it? Were they trying to explain the procedure but didn’t want to glorify it like last time?

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All Out Standby Tough Moms

So honestly, this was an ad that meant well. The message is to stand by tough moms as they are protecting the next generation. But the execution makes the viewer feel like they’ve accidentally switched television channels and landed in the middle of an exhausting saas-bahu serial. Having the product in the background, mimicking the kind of product placement television shows has isn’t a bad idea. It’s a great way to make sure you’re not shoving your brand message down someone’s throat. But in this case, the brand connects with the overall story of the ad seemed a bit random. Many people hated this ad because of the regressive way it portrayed women – the mother was serving the family and hadn’t eaten yet. But to be fair, that is the reality of many Indian households and is representing the same really worse than painting a happy, unrealistic picture of a traditional family suddenly getting their own rotis? Shouldn’t the idea of inclusivity also include the parts of reality we urban folks don’t really want to see because it doesn’t fit into our worldview? What do you think?


Reliance Fresh Jee Le Zara

For the first minute, I thought I was watching a YouTube video titled “Signs you should get a divorce because your husband is incredibly abusive and you need to LEAVE NOW”. Twice. TWICE the man body-shamed his wife, apparently repulsed by the idea of her hanging out on a beach or wearing a bikini (because beaches were clearly created for young, supple, child-free bodies). His reasons for not wanting her to go to Goa with her friends are not things like “I’ll miss you”, but things like “What am I going to eat?” (Ideal response: you’ve been chewing my brains, so this is a great chance for a change in your diet). The ad wants to portray an empowered woman going on a holiday without her man but ends up showing a woman who continually puts up with emotional abuse and is probably trying to escape with her friends.



Even though Women’s Day is a brief every brand wants to give, advertisers need to think about what that means to their audience instead of jumping into clichéd ideas of empowerment like road trips to Goa. Similarly, if you want to create a clutter-breaking ad, do not resort to alienating an entire group of people (like bankers) just to score some emotional points. You are not making Baghban Returns. As for that brew ad, can someone please tell me what the point was? I think it went soaring over my head.

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