Most Annoying Television Commercials

Original artwork by author
Original artwork by author | Source

Oh No! Not That Commercial Again!

I beg pardon in advance, if I offend any devoted fans of the following obnoxious commercials. I understand that we all have diverse tastes in entertainment, and that material that makes one person laugh will make another person throw the TV out of the window.

Television commercials are one of those inconveniences in our lives that we have become so accustomed to, we even start liking some of them. I know I do. I have some favorites that make me smile.

Sometimes I smile the for the first 7 million times I see them! Once you start hitting that 7.5 million mark though, even the knee-slappingest commercial can make your ears bleed.

Then there are the stupid commercials that make you want to scream the first time you hear them them. Sometimes they are so bad we can't even make a protest, because our jaws have hit the dirt. These commercials are the most obnoxious, boring, appalling, creepy, or just plain...weird examples of advertising to hit the market.

Every year, it seems like the company big-wigs have sat around and had a contest to see who could create something even worse than the year before. Maybe they get a bigger bonus if their ad makes you shoot yourself!

If you thought last year's commercial's were terrible, join me as I explore some of 2012's most annoying commercials. The bad, the ugly, and the downright scary!

The Hopper

The "Hopp-ah" is some newfangled feature offered by Dish TV. I am not really sure what it does, because the ad is so annoying I leave the room or turn off the television. (That's great for their marketing huh?) All I know is that it has a bunch people shouting out "The Hopper!" from different rooms of the house.

There are a couple of other commercials about the same product, including one where the same people shout out "Dirty Con!" The effect is just as obnoxious, and has actually made me consider changing cable providers. Too bad the competition's ads are just as horrific.

Underlying Message: Families! Don't sit in the same room! You can now yell from any room in the house! Dang! And I thought that technology had been available since the cavemen first had teenagers!


Some of their ads aren't too bad. I don't mind their recent commercials where the woman (haha, its always a woman, isn't it?) declares that she is "Done!" with her household chores sooner than expected, and that she is now going to do something enjoyable.

It IS a little annoying that while she is doing all of this work, in what looks like an already impeccable house, various members of the family are lounging about the house--not helping.

Still though, they are a massive improvement over the last set of commercials where people pretended to be Dust, Mud, Dirt, etc. and fell in "love" with the Swiffer product. Each with its own very corny tagline.

Maybe my imagination is a little too active, but I don't like the thought of my dirt being alive. If those particles of dust and mud are alive, then they are probably spying on me. Since this ad came out, I always stomp on my dirt, mud and dust bunnies before cleaning, just to make sure.

Underlying Message in all Swiffer ads: Mom finally has time to take a bath for the first time in twelve years now that Swiffer is around!


Okay. I have never been in an Ikea store. It just isn't my style. And their ads are a little off-putting. I thought the commercials where the husbands and wives "negotiated" over home renovations were pretty bad.

I couldn't see much difference in all the choices they showed. Just looked like different arrangements for the same items. I use that trick all the time to make it look to my husband like I have cleaned house.

Now they have a NEW commercial! This one shows a Mom putting her son, "Leo" in time-out. In the kitchen. (with a tricycle! Wow, we never had time-outs like that when I was growing up!) Little Leo then proceeds to trash the kitchen after Mom disappears.

The underlying message here is: " Don't teach your child to respect things, just buy stuff that will survive the little brat." Its perfectly okay that he kicks all the doors and drawers, rams his trike into things, and harasses the family dog with the water sprayer, because this kitchen is built to withstand toddlers!

Maybe Ikea ought to sell baby cages that match the kitchen d├ęcor. Or maybe Mom shouldn't leave Leo in time-out for so long. From the looks of the ad, she vanishes for about two hours. Plenty of time for the little rapscallion to have destroyed even an Ikea kitchen at the rate he was working. I guess she used that time to take the bath that Swiffer earned her!

Totino's "We Are Dyyyyiiiiing"

Here we see what Leo from the above ad is possibly going to be like as a young teen. In this commercial Mom is called on her phone while out doing her errands, and her kids swear they are starving.

This is amazing because they are old enough to be home alone, but can't find a box of Totino's pizza rolls sitting right in front of them. Now, if they aren't bright enough to see the brightly colored box in the otherwise empty freezer...are they really to be trusted cooking these snacks in the microwave?

On a similar note, I really dislike how commercials such as this one, Sunny D, Tyson Chicken, etc. always show Mom out working her ass off, (usually buying more groceries) and all the food being eaten up by neighborhood kids, who never bother to help her carry the bags in from the car. They simply run through the kitchen and ask her to hand her something out of the fridge or grab it off the counters as they run through.

I think we are deep enough in the 21st century to depose the Stepford Mom from her role in commercials. Let's see a real mom telling her kids that if they can't find the pizza rolls, then they aren't hungry enough to eat before dinner.

Skittles--Taste The Rainbow

Taste The Rainbow. I'm never sure what exactly is going on in these commercials. They are a little trippy and always leave me feeling like I've had a dose of Nyquil.

I was doing a pretty good job of ignoring them. Right up until they started airing the one where the woman is swapping spit with the enormous...walrus? I have watched every gross-out horror movie ever made, and never gagged like I did the first time I saw this.

Any commercial that makes me want to lose my lunch is not going to put me in the mood to run out and buy candy. In fact, I get a little queasy just seeing a bag of Skittles. Not that I have anything against walruses, its just that this particular one looks a bit fishy to me. I think he could benefit from one of those outrageous Axe Deodorant commercials!

Underlying Message: Skittles must contain some sort of psychedelic drug that makes you do weird things. If you are a walrus, it may make you kiss strange women. Now we know the real reason Skittles vodka drinks have become so popular at parties!


Not all Sonic commercials are annoying. Just the ones with the two guys sitting in the car. Personally I find these dudes a tad creepy. They are always in the car outside of Sonic, which suggests stalker tendencies. Maybe they are setting a new trend in food stalking.

Not only are they creepy, they are losers. These are grown men with nothing better to do than sit in a car and play with their food, while bandying about such topics as " Taste Bros" and "Funky Fresh". Not only does the dialog leave a lot to be desired, it sometimes completely forgets to really promote the product. Therefore, it is hard to pick just one of these ads as the very worst. They are all pretty much equally atrocious.

Underlying Message: Wives, do you really know your husbands? Are they really working late? Or are they parked in a car somewhere with another guy having conversations with tater tots?

Caveat Emptor

How often do commercial's influence your purchases?

  • All the time. I like to try what I see on television.
  • Occasionally, if the product is something I am already interested in.
  • Maybe just the food.
  • Not often. I prefer word of mouth.
  • Never.
See results without voting


The cartoony bears, to me, are both annoying and a little vulgar. I believe that bathroom business belongs in the bathroom, and when I was growing up our parents kept pottying as discreet as possible. We certainly didn't have "inspections" to see if any toilet paper particles had adhered to the skin.

It sounds a bit pervy to me to think that there might be people, not just cartoon bears, lingering outside of the bathroom while their kids are using the toilet, asking them questions about what they are doing and how much they are using.

In fact, most toilet paper commercials are a bit weird. We have one brand where a mom hugs her child because of toilet paper. Others where women are discussing the almost graphic purpose of toilet paper, and of course standing outside of bathroom doors like toilet paper police, making sure no one uses too much.

And lets not forget that one a couple of years ago where the parents packed Scott toilet paper for the daughter as she left for college! Because naturally, her bathroom habits were the top priority as she set off to receive her education. That poor girl was probably glad to get away from the routine inspections.

Underlying Message: Toilet paper is so vital and so valuable that it's use has to be monitored constantly. And it should be strong enough to use as a hammock...which makes me wonder what people are actually doing with this stuff!

Colonial Penn Life Insurance

Lets face it, all insurance commercials are slightly annoying. Colonial Penn ads are, for the majority, just boring. But there is one that really bugs me. It shows two women meeting at a mailbox, and one asks the other how she is holding up since her mother died.

The "grieving" woman says, almost too non-chalantly, that it was hard, but she was okay. Then she takes a letter out of the mailbox and happily exclaims " Wow, that was fast!"

If you aren't watching the television at the time, it sounds like the other woman says this, in response to the daughter being over Mom's demise so quickly. In fact, it is the daughter herself, happy to receive a check from Colonial Penn to cover the funeral expenses. She then goes on to start trying to sell her neighbor on how wonderful the company is.

I'm not sure why this one bothers me...maybe its the carefree way the woman replies, maybe the overall cheesiness of the commercial. Something just isn't right in suburbia.

Underlying Message: As long as there is a check involved, its all good.


I'm not ashamed to admit it. I love McDonalds. In fact, it is one of my favorite fast food spots. I liked it a lot MORE when it was red and yellow and had all the fun characters. Now that McDonald's is trying to be a chic coffee house, it is a little bit boring. I don't like coffee, I like coke, fries, and chicken sandwiches. Oh, and the Hamburglar. I miss that guy!

That being said, the commercials for the McDonald's dollar menu are particularly irritating. And sometimes a little sexist. "Wow, I'm smart enough to order a cheap hamburger, therefore, it is perfectly okay for me to lie to this woman."

Underlying Message: If you are smart enough to order the cheapest thing on the menu, you might be able to convince a woman that you speak French. For about...ten seconds.

Yet another disturbing commercial. This time potential car buyers have wee heads that pop out of their other body parts, like something from Men In Black. Then they sing. What is even scarier? No one seems to notice the alien-like protrusions. The salespeople are just so happy to be making a sale.

Whereas all of these are pretty appalling, the one with the woman is the worst. A little version of her face pops out of her bouffant hairdo and starts singing a really bad pop song about how confidant she is. Is it even legal to sell a car to a two headed driver? Does the miniature head have to have a license too?

Underlying Message: You have a singing second head? Whatever. Hey, as long as there is a check involved, its all good.

Honorable Mentions

Even though insurance, drug, and car commercials are all highly annoying, I did notice that more and more, it is food advertisements that really suck .

Here are some that the world could do without:

  • Beggin' Strips--I love you, I love bacon, I love you. I love bacon. I hate this dog.
  • Progresso Soup--Canned humor.
  • Hershey's Air Delights--Oh look. A candy bar that tastes just like last year's leftover Halloween chocolates! We are supposed to be so thrilled they pumped our chocolate full of air!
  • Real California Dairy--What can I say? The cow is just...silly.
  • Activia--Some people eat yogurt because they like the taste. Yet now, buying yogurt is almost the same as buying Ex-lax. Embarrassing. " Oh! Look who's irregular today!"
  • Fiber One--All of them. Its health food. And it tastes like it.
  • Blue Dogfood, and other brands--At the risk of making a lot of animal lover's angry, I am going to point out a logical fact. Dogs really don't care how many organic fruits and anti-oxidants are in their chow. That is for the owner's benefit. Want to make the dog happy? Make the kibbles taste like anything disgusting.

A few more random gag-worthy commercials:

  • La-Z-Boy--commercial with Brook Shields. " Shuuuut uuup?"
  • Little Caesars--Woo, Dachsund.
  • Subway-Little Kid voices
  • Geico Pig--WHEEEEE! I thought this one had vanished. Every time it plays, I want to call Jimmy Dean and tell them where they can find their next sausage.
  • Travel Ads--I know a lot of people who struggle to buy groceries some weeks. But I sure am glad that the person on the commercial was able to take two or three vacations thanks to cheap hotel rates!
  • Vonage--We aaalll bundle. Okay, I get this was meant to be creepy, Mission accomplished. Back to Stepford...where we all use the same phone plan, all the Mom's use Swiffer's, and Ann is cool that her mom died because she got the check in time!

Final Thoughts

Commercials play an important role in society, and even though they are irksome at times, they still sell products. Just not to me! I know I have overlooked several potential winners, such as commercials for prescription medications, dating sites, house-hold cleaners, automobile ads, restaurants, and technology.

I'm sure you all have your personal best of the worst list as well. Please feel free to add, subtract, flame and applaud the choices presented here, and tell me your least favorite commercials. Maybe if we all raise up in protest and agree on at least one commercial, we can send it to Davy Jone's locker forever!

Comments 24 comments

Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

Excellent list! I totally agree with your ideas here. We talked about ads and their influence a lot when I went to college. Advertising now is about creating an identity tied the product instead of advertising in the mid-late 20th century focusing on the usefulness of the product. Even though these commercials are more frivolous than anything- they still have an effect on consumer consciousness.

But back to the list. I hate that Totino's lazy kid commercial- if you're dying of hunger- make your own food and shut up.

Charmin is ridiculous as well- I don't mind so much the bears but the supposed mom pow wow is TMI for my tastes.

McDonald's should just do "I'm Lovin' It" and show the toys. I hate when these companies try to get all hipster with coffee and stuff.

And I don't even eat skittles but the commercials make me want to never even look at them again- so strange!

Awesome hub :)!

Sharkye11 profile image

Sharkye11 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Thanks Alecia! I agree, the commercials do seem frivolous. Sometimes even pointless. And like the Charmin, some ads tell way more than needs to be discussed on television. I hate that they make it seem like women sit around and obsess on how well personal products work. Don't think so! We have way more on our telling lazy kids how to find the microwave! :)

Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 4 years ago from London, UK

I found this interesting because I'm in UK and it's nice to know what Ads drive you nuts in America. Thanks. Great share.

thebiologyofleah profile image

thebiologyofleah 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Great hub- at any given moment I have my list of favorite and hated commericals in my head.

The ones are horrible and I totally agree the skittles ones are just trippy- I don't get them. They actually make me like skittles less than I actually do. And the Charmin ones 'enjoy the go' I think is the catch-phrase. Um what, you want me to enjoy going the bathroom? I, too, would prefer we not talk about bathroom habits on television-activa, colon health, etc, keep it off primetime!

kenner 3 years ago

The Charmin ads are hands-down the most thoughtless and senseless I've seen. We see a bear taking his roll of Charmin into the woods. Then we get to imagine a pile of bear poop with white tufts of soiled Charmin popping out of it. It's a wonder environmentalists didn't have this one banned.

The recent one though - it beats all. Mother bear is holding a little pair of underwear up and saying something like, "you can tell their age by what's in their pants". HUH?! Whaaaaaaaa???? WHO is responsible for this absolute TRIPE?

You couldn't GIVE me a roll of Charmin, thanks to their pitiful commercials.

Sharkye11 profile image

Sharkye11 3 years ago from Oklahoma Author

@Lady E--I'm not sure if all of these drive other Americans nuts, but they certainly get under my skin! Do you have equally shocking ads in the UK?

Sharkye11 profile image

Sharkye11 3 years ago from Oklahoma Author

@thebiologyofleah--I agree! the Activia and similar ads are equally disturbing at times. If I want to eat yoghurt, I want to buy it because it is yummy. Now, it feels like buying medicine. Might as well throw Ex-Lax on the counter!

Sharkye11 profile image

Sharkye11 3 years ago from Oklahoma Author

@Kenner--agreed! The new Charmin commercial is beyond vulgar. Its disgusting. And I wonder where they get this idea? Reckon the people in charge of ad campaigns don't have kids. Or a real life. Or a grip on reality for that matter. And yes, I boycott Charmin for the same reason. Also, I noticed that Charmin TP tends to disintegrate every time it is touched, creating what I can only think of as harmful dust particles. So they are welcome to keep their hazardous product and their perverted ads! Lol! Now you have me ranting again! Thanks for the comment! :)

JeremyBentham profile image

JeremyBentham 3 years ago from Missouri

Great post! Those Charmin bears make me want to gouge out my eyes with a rusty, lockjaw-ridden hammer claw. And those Colonial Penn commercials have been around forever. Still obnoxious after all these years.

Sharkye11 profile image

Sharkye11 3 years ago from Oklahoma Author

@Jeremy--I am rather relieved to see that so many people agree about the Charmin ads. I think they need a new advertising campaign, pronto! It makes me angry to just SEE a package of Charmin these days! Thanks for the comment, and I love your colorful description of gouging out your eyes. You put into words my exact feelings about those ads!

Elizabeth 3 years ago

Oh Please, the stupid M&M commercials where a stupid M&M is having a night out with the girls or out on a date where she worries her date doesn't appreciate her brains.

Erle Mutz 3 years ago

The ONE commercial I really HATE is about quitting smoking: where a Mom is walking with her little boy, in what looks like a Grand Central Station (kind of place). While the narrator is making "his" point the camera keeps taking quick clips of the kid looking around for his Mom, and after a few failed attempts at spotting her, you watch him degrade from his "normal" demeanor down into the deepest depths of fear and horror until finally he breaks down into devastating tears. IF he IS ACTING - he should be given an "Honorary" Academy Award! IF he is NOT acting then shame on all of the inconsiderate "grown-ups" having him experience that excruciating pain of loss - which (at his young age) can be just as devastating to his conceptual growth, as the loss of the actual parent. I TURN OFF THAT COMMERCIAL IMMEDIATELY every time it airs!!!! I am not (and never have been) a smoker - but even IF I WAS, I would STILL TURN OF THAT COMMERCIAL IMMEDIATELY!!!!!!

TL 3 years ago

I despise of all commercials. They're not only banal, but beyond sub levels of intelligence. Car commercials are some of the worst. Do I honestly care how fast a car accelerates from 0-60, or how fast it'll whip around a corner and it's top speed? I care about the safety and utility of a vehicle. Car ads today always want to point out speed and cars driven in a maniacal manner. Dumb! This is the sort of advertising that should appeal to a zany 13 year old, not to an intelligent, mature adult who doesn't care about trying to break the speed barrier.

The next group of commercials I despise are all of the incredibly dumbed down insurance ads. Progressive Insurance with that bow-wow Flo character takes the cake in the stupidity department. Geico ads have always been a product for dullards to enjoy. The stupid animated gecko and that dang pig. STUPID! State Farm and Allstate ads have taken on the dumbed down approach. It used to be that insurance ads were prudent in script and visuals; not anymore. Colonial Penn ads would make a great torture device. Long, depressing and colorless describes those ads. Alex Trebek always looks like he's on something in those commercials. Perhaps a bit too many sips of Jack Daniels between the takes Mr. Trebek?

McDonalds have always been foolish. Now they're beyond asinine. The one McDonald's ad that is about the worst is the one where some strange looking, nerdy, twerp of a young guy is drumming on the table in a McDonald's restaurant. And the one with the goofy young guy strumming his dopey guitar. That stupid buh, buh, buh I'm lovin' it crap makes me want to karate kick my TV with my harness boot heel.

St. Judes Children's Hospital ads are, to me, tear inducing. They play so frequently on METV and some are as long as two minutes. Depressing beyond depressing. I don't want to look at cancer stricken children and knowing that most of them will not survive. Watching my Dad wither away from cancer was enough for me. Horrible.

The Swifter ad with the African American woman gyrating wildly with her Swifter mop is disturbing to say the least. Please don't label me as being racist. I'm not a racist person. If the lady in the ad was white or any other race I would still say it's a foolish ad campaign. Going into literal ecstasy moping your floors is a dim idea in promoting a home cleaning product. Heck, the old Tidy Bowl ads with the "little" man in his rowboat, in the flush box, was more creative and kind of cute (in a silly sense) that the foolishness we're seeing today.

The ads about reverse mortgages. Not only annoying, but scams. Fred Thompson and Robert Wagner drone on and on regarding the benefits of a reverse mortgage. These are the sort of ads that prey on the vulnerability of older people and are basically scams. Would you give into those robo telemarketer calls? That's what these reverse mortgage ads basically are... scams.

And last but not least: the scam ads for getting cash for your gold. Again this is another form of scam advertising to prey on vulnerable people. Fortunately those ads have seemed to cease. Hopefully forever.

Sharkye11 profile image

Sharkye11 3 years ago from Oklahoma Author

@Elizabeth--Oh yes! The M&M commercials are definitely annoying!

heidithorne profile image

heidithorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

As someone who's in the ad biz (but not TV), I think I love reading people's reactions to commercials more than the commercials themselves. And, yes, I'm so glad that Charmin now helps us "Enjoy the go." :) Hilarious hub!

Courtney 2 years ago

OMG this was the best list- and I totally agree with you. One I've seen creeping up here lately are those Burlington Coat Factory ads about "what your clothes say about you" and the people wearing these coats verbally express what their choice of outwear might say about them. Shoot me!

Deborah 2 years ago

Tyson FRESH chicken....always FRESH....emphasize FRESH...every phrase FRESH...annoying FRESH...repeating FRESH...makes me want to puke but FRESH...

Joe 24 months ago

charmin without a doubt the most obnoxious of them all. "Enjoy the go"??? Really??? Taking a shit is something I have always viewed as one of those necessities in life not something I look forward to like a tasty steak dinner or a cold beer. Are you kidding me? Anyone remember the diaper commercial not too long ago that was a cartoon where babies were on stage having a contest to see who can shit the most in their diapers? Almost grounds for suicide but I'd rather see the a-holes who come up with this crap taken out instead. Oh and as far as McDonald's is concerned I can't see how anybody with a brain could eat anything from that place anymore. Sorry but eating plastic prefabricated tasteless crap just ain't for me anymore. I'd like to live till at least 70!

PattiJ 22 months ago

I don't understand why companies are going for the human with a machine "love affair". Direct tv has a man with a marionette, the marionette actually asks if she is sexy..ooma phone services has a man actually licking the machine. Its disgusting. Why would anyone think this is a good way to sell their service.

R West 18 months ago

I detest the American Freight commercials. They have a screaming maniac trying to sell furniture. It is absolutely the most offensive ad I have ever seen.

limpet profile image

limpet 6 months ago from London England

I remember a time in the dim distant past where the T.V. commercials were just as entertaining as the programs screened. Why? Because they were witty or humourous and not maudlin or repititious then.

Limpet 7 weeks ago

Fortunately we have some T.V. Channels where you don't have see commercials, that is because every household pays a licence fee to own a T.V. set. None the less the stations that do advertise will say 'And coming up after the break blah blah blah!' or 'Stay tuned, more to come.' The expectancy being that we are supposed to appreciate the drivel they present to the viewing public. We also have the Advertising Standards Authority who to date have put a lot of irritating 'ads' off air.

Joe 5 weeks ago

Peyton on Sunday Morning from Direct TV is beyond annoying

mikebarbaro profile image

mikebarbaro 2 days ago

Some DirectTV ads are pretty funny though! This one for example:

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