FANDOM


WikEd fancyquotesQuotesBug-silkHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extensionPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifierAnalysisPhoto linkImage LinksHaiku-wide-iconHaikuLaconic

Important Note: Just because a work has Unfortunate Implications does not mean the author was thinking of it that way. In fact, that's the point of it being unfortunate. So, please, no Justifying Edits about "what the authors really meant".

The way an author handles a Trope is an important factor here; handling a Trope clumsily can certainly create unintentional impressions for readers. Likewise, if a work intends the offensive message (for example, a piece of Nazi propaganda about Jews), it wouldn't count.

For something that may not be offensive to you personally but may offend others in a different culture or time period, see Values Dissonance.


Clothing

  • American Apparel has just started a new line of children's clothing, which many found...creepy, considering the company's hyper-sexualized ads (look around, there's probably one on this page if you need an example) and the sex scandal involving AA's CEO Dov Charney, who apparently has a habit of sleeping with his employees and models, sexually harassing them, and his penchant for masturbating in front of women. Try not to think of that when you see AA ads with nine-year-old girls.
    • And they did it again! American Apparel ran a contest to find plus-sized models for ads, to show that they were totally not fat-shamers guys, for real, why don't you believe me? Only some people felt the way they went about it and the language they used in explaining the contest were sort of degrading, so one of them, a model named Nancy Upton, decided to take a dig at the company by entering the contest with patently ridiculous food-themed AA-style photos. And she won! The voters at home loved her and she ran away with the contest! So American Apparel...chastised her for being offended by their contest, and said that the real winner was someone who had taken the contest "seriously". "We want fat girls, but only ones who don't think for themselves or have opinions of their own", says American Apparel.
  • In the 1990s, Australian clothing store Katie's ran an ad saying that bosses shouldn't expect female employees to turn up for work on the day they were having their sale. It got pulled after they received complaints.
  • It's been noted several times that even clothing brands that market to plus-sized people tend to use extremely thin models to show their clothes, which has several effects: First, plus-sized clothing on your typical model looks enormous since it is not meant for their body type, meaning that the people who want to order it are unsure what it will look like on them, and it further stigmatizes plus-sized people because it implies that no one will want to look at them, not even other plus-sized people looking for clothing that will fit them. Several companies have caught on and now consciously try to avert this, including Kiyonna, which honestly makes an effort to have its models be people who would actually wear their clothing in their everyday lives.
  • While not "clothing" per-se, a series of Huggies adverts for diapers in a denim jean pattern had a baby strutting around on a sidewalk with the intention of looking "sexy". The tagline "My diaper is full of..CHIC!" probably did not help. After it caught a lot of flack it got banned, despite being edited twice.


Jewelry

  • Sterling, Inc. (parent company of Kay Jewellers, Jared, and others) loves this.
    • Often the product is featured prominently, and the marriage proposal or other event is merely inferred. Unfortunate implication — getting engaged isn't nearly as important as the size of the rock...or the fact that he went to Jared! [1]
    • "Every kiss begins with Kay", and the recipient of the jewelry is Always Female. Unfortunate implication — if you want affection from a woman, you have to buy her jewelry.
    • Family Guy — "Diamonds: She'll Pretty Much Have To."
    • Ron White — "Diamonds: That'll shut her up!"
    • The intended message is probably "she'll love you more if you go to Kay than if you go to another, lesser jewellers". Because not only are all women evil scheming bitches who constantly cheat poor, innocent, hard-working men out of their hard-earned money just for sex, they'll still withhold that sex if the men don't capitulate to them in exactly the right way with exactly the right product.
      • And of course, the implication that men are totally fine with being cheated out of all their money and being a slave to a woman as long as they're getting sex out of it.
      • There are even some Mother's Day commercials that had children. And the "every kiss begins with Kay" line is even sung as the mother, in one commercial, gives her son a kiss! There's another implication: The only way for kids to show their mothers they love and appreciate them is to buy them jewelry from Kay!
    • In Mexico, there was an ad campaign of the Palacio de Hierro department store chain, in which a woman appears in the ad and says "Tell me how many carats you love me." (Dime cuantos quilates me quieres)
    • The "In The Doghouse" J.C. Penney ads take this one step further, by having men who give their wives the "wrong" gift be sent to a prison-like facility. Apparently, if you give your loved one something like a vacuum or extra RAM memory for Christmas instead of a necklace, you're an irredeemable Jerkass who deserves to be imprisoned...even though, you know, a necklace isn't exactly useful.
  • The 2-months' salary diamond engagement ring. One ad goes so far to tell you that "people will talk" if you spend less than that. The unfortunate implication is that people are shallow and materialistic jerks who couldn't care less if Alice's new fiancé will be a good husband; they're only interested in how much the ring he gave her cost.
    • More fridge logic: How would "everyone" know how much the ring cost in the first place, short of all her friends being professional jewelry appraisers? I mean, isn't it a bit tacky to boast about how expensive your jewelry is?
  • Somewhat related, a woman in a commercial for one of those "Gimme your gold and we'll give you cash" places, said she got X amount of money for sending in her wedding band. Oh nonononono...


Computer and Electronic Products

  • This unfortunate advertisement for Intel, featuring a Caucasian tech guy lording over a team of dark skinned athletes. Thank God it got pulled.
  • UK mobile phone network "Phones4U" has recently embarked on an advertising campaign where they show a particular group of people (scout masters, yo-yo specialists) then claim that their phone rates would be wasted on such people because they have no friends (unlike their target demographic, one would assume). Said groups weren't amused.
  • Many home security system ads feature young (white) women (sometimes with children) alone and being menaced by big, scary (also white) men who want to break into their homes. One ad involves an ostensibly nice guy saying goodnight to a young woman who just had a party, she goes inside to start cleaning up, and then AJ comes back and breaks her door down, only to be scared off by the security. Given that he was the last person seen leaving her house by her best friends, he'd be the prime suspect if she was murdered, kidnapped, or raped. What kind of rapist plans to break into someone's house and doesn't notice the security panel by the front door? And why wouldn't he just say he forgot his wallet and get her to let him in without commotion?
    • Saturday Night Live made fun of those type of commercials on the Season 35 episode hosted by Jude Law (musical guest Pearl Jam) with the sketch "Broadview Security", as the pitchman (played by Bill Hader) says what these commercials have been implying all along — if you're a woman living alone in a nice house, you're going to have men of all types (including the nice guy you just met who promised you a recipe for lemon bars, your grandfather, your rabbi, androgynous singer K.D. Lang, two kids posing as an adult, and the pitchman himself) breaking in and trying to kill you.
    • There's an ad for a security system that opens with a couple coming home to find out they've been robbed. Then the commercial enters an Alternate Universe where they bought the security system, and their neighbors (who didn't) were robbed instead, to which the wife makes a condescending remark along the lines of "I told them to get (security system)." So if you don't buy this one brand for whatever reason, not only will you be robbed immediately, but you'll deserve it and be the object of everyone's scorn for being stupid enough to get robbed in the first place.
    • In fact, the newest ADT commercial seems to imply not only that message (although I think that one was one of ADT's commercials), but also that burglary is no big deal anymore once you have their security system and you never have to worry. Try telling that to any victim of burglary, security system or not, and see what they say.
  • A 2010 commercial for Sharp Quattron technology television, featuring Asian-American actor George Takei, introducing a fourth color to the standard TV Red-Green-Blue. Guess what color it is. That's right, Yellow. Unfortunate, indeed.
    • On the bright side, his seductively sensual voice did give the announcement appropriate gravitas, so, kudos for finding a way to make the right choice and the wrong one at the same time.


Food Products

  • There's a Klondike Bar ad making the rounds "5 Seconds to Glory! Mark vs. Actually Listening To His Wife!" The wife sits down beside him and starts talking about interior decorating - while he gets this look of painful concentration. After five seconds, confetti explodes everywhere as he jumps and shrieks "YES! WOOHOO! I DID IT!", while two young, blonde, buxom and gorgeous women (in VERY short dresses) wink/pout at him and the camera. And the best part? His wife's still sitting there as the women gyrate on her husband - she even gives a silent "What?" as one of the girls shakes her ass in the wife's face!
    • As a commenter on Youtube put it:

 Oh, I get it--it's HI-larious because in exchange for experiencing the incredible horror of having to listen to his dowdy, boring wife (who I assume he wanted to marry for some reason, but we'll overlook that) talk about wall colours (c'mon, that's all we ladies really care about, right?) for 5 freakin' seconds, he gets the reward of chocolate and sexy, dancing women.

  • A Jack In The Box ad in the 1990s attempted to spoof the Taco Bell chihuahua, with an antenna-ball clown telling the Spanish-speaking dog that he only wants Taco Bell because "it's not like dogs are picky", which was subtle enough until the alleged punchline, when the clown-ball sniffs and says "All right! Who's been eatin' beans?" Supposedly it was merely implying that Taco Bell patrons are flatulent, but the obvious "beaner" implications didn't sit well. The ad didn't run for too long before it was pulled.
  • Mini-Wheats has a new flavor, fruit-in-the-middle. The commercial opens by one mini-wheat asking another one what he's looking at... and pretty soon, a group of mini-wheats are staring at succulent blueberries and strawberries, and wolf-whistling. "Hello, fruit-in-the-middle!" What is disturbing is thinking about the fact that the fruit is in the middle.
  • A short-lived TV spot for the candy "Clinkers" in New Zealand made by Pascalls — Clinkers are a mix bag of three flavors of hard candy coated in chocolate, so you don't know what flavor you'll get until you eat one. The ad contained a stylized animation of a man parachuting and having his 'chute fail. He was then shown three options — landing on power lines, a sewage works, or the hard ground...accompanied by the Clinkers' (then) catchphrase "You don't know what you'll get." The implication that eating Clinkers would result in death, with a 33% chance of drowning in human effluent, led to the ad being pulled almost as soon as it was aired.
  • One ad for Noodle Box features a picture of a little girl on the grass, a spilled box of noodles beside her, screaming in mock shock/horror. Underneath is the caption "If you're HOT and FRESH, EVERYONE WANTS YOU!" It's uncertain whether this is a cause of Accidental Innuendo or if it was a case of Getting Crap Past the Radar, but in either case it falls here.
  • Several advertisements for food products show children being rude and disrespectful toward their mothers because they didn't serve them the product being advertised. The mollified mother quickly repents and gives the kid what s/he wants. There's two unfortunate implications — first, kids, it's perfectly okay to be rude to and mouth off to your parents as long as it results in getting the "right" brand of frozen fish sticks. Second, moms, you fail for buying Brand Y instead of our Brand X, and you deserve to be yelled at by your children.
    • A radio spot for Gwaltney's hot dogs that plays regularly on a local talk-radio station fits a similar trope in that one of two tends to air. The first one (they seemingly alternate by the half-hour) has a mother spoon-feeding some undescribed food...to her eight-year-old son, who then snaps back. The other is a spot with the typical wimpy dad "trying" to get his daughter to eat her vegetables, with no success.
    • And then, there are some food ads that invert that and have the parents being jerks to their kids by scaring the life out of them with either horrifying stories or (irrational) threats of punishment if they touch the product being advertised. Possibly even more disturbing in that the kids are usually around kindergarten age or so and therefore, too young to realize it's merely a tall tale.
      • In the recent Jello "Chocolate Temptations" ads, the parents aren't telling them a tall tale; one ad features a mother who pretty much tells her daughter (albeit passive-aggressively) that she'll take away her stuffed bunny because she took one of mommy's temptations. Another ad features a cute little rhyme telling of "...Olive, who lacked self-control/she took mommy's temptations/now she's polishing coal".
      • There's another where a mom is in a tent with two kids and tells them about the "Choco Beast" who goes after kids who steal Mommy's Chocolate Temptations, but they don't have anything to worry about, right? Cue the dad making monster noises outside and shadows on the tent, causing the kids to run inside screaming so he and mom can enjoy it by themselves. Holy traumatic childhood memories, Batman! Quite a few parents (and others) were not amused.
    • In contrast to their own "Chocolate Temptations" ads, Jello also runs a series in which people are caught after stealing somebody's snack because they develop 'pudding face' -- an abnormally wide grin that distorts their face. Despite this evidence, the thieves are always left unpunished, with the unfortunate implication that if you buy this product, everyone around you will want to steal it, and it's your own fault if that happens because you weren't watching it closely enough.
  • Kraft has a similarly themed campaign for another of their products: macaroni and cheese dinners. In these ads, kids complain about the various deceptive techniques their parents use to keep them from enjoying their dinners, such as distracting them so they can steal bites right off their plate, sending them to their room without supper on false or trumped-up charges, or only serving mac and cheese while they're out of the house. Because teaching kids that their parents will lie, cheat and steal about food is a good way to foster family togetherness, right?
  • The "racist" KFC ads in Australia, though (as any Australian will tell you) they weren't intended nor received that way... but to an American audience, any coupling of black people with chicken seems to provoke calls of racist behavior in the extreme. Looking up "Black Americana" via Google or the like will show that fried chicken was the second-most portrayed stereotypical food for the caricatured African-American characters (first being watermelon).
  • Then there's This. That's US Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson shilling for Ortega taco shells and sauce, in which she says "Ortega makes my taco pop." Johnson was 16 at the time, and the Internet--being the Internet--was already of the opinion that she was Jail Bait. Then came out this ad, and /b/ came to the obvious conclusion...and a meme was born.
  • In the UK an advert came out for Pepsi Max which was considered by some to have very rapey undertones. It shows a man trying to seduce a woman, failing, and then (with the help of friends) tricking her into thinking the world is about to end so that she'll sleep with him out of desperation and panic. After he has got what he wants from the woman, he and his friends drink Pepsi Max. Pepsi Max — the beverage of choice for guys who think women shouldn't be allowed to just say "no".
  • A Yoplait yogurt commercial has a woman talking to a friend on the phone about how much weight she lost, dropping the names of the yogurt flavors as if they were the foods themselves. Her husband looks in the fridge, trying to find these foods. Fine enough. A few months later, a sequel commercial begins airing with the husband on a friend, talking about the weight he's lost. Then his wife appears, opens the fridge, sees the Yoplait and gives him an accusing look. He embarrassingly ends the call. The perspective change was probably meant to show that men and women can lose weight with Yoplait, but the way it plays out leaves the impression that women who want to lose weight can be proud about it while men who want to lose weight have something to be embarrassed about. There's also the fact yogurt's heavily marketed to women and Yoplait in particular has kind of a "girly" image, so a man eating it is something to be ashamed of and mocked. This in and of itself can be seen as an unfortunate implication, but the second commercial seems to be taking that implication and lampshading it. How well this works is questionable.
    • In both commercials, the man is implied to be a sneaky thief who wants to eat these delicious desserts without her knowing. Hence his searching the fridge behind her back and jumping guiltily when she asks what he's doing, and looking shamefaced when she catches him talking about them later. This gives the impression that you can't even trust your own partner -- that they will sneak around and do things behind your back.
  • A commercial for the calorie-free sweetener Truvia shows a woman sitting at a table finishing off a rather small piece of cheesecake then gazing down at her empty plate with a look of absolute shame on her face. Then her boyfriend/husband walks up and is appalled that she ate a whole piece of cake! The whole time, a cutesy jingle plays in the background that talks about her "breakup" with real sugar as if she was escaping an abusive relationship with it and includes the admonishment "you made my butt fat", which seems minor until you see that the woman in the commercial is already thin. So what have we learned so far? First, no matter how thin you are, you are never thin enough. What a lovely trigger for an eating disorder sufferer. Second, you should be ashamed of yourself for enjoying something with a lot of calories because a moment on the lips, forever on the hips, amirite fatty? Third, your man will be disgusted with you if he finds out you ate something that may potentially make you put on a few pounds[2]. The idea may have been that they were going to share the piece of cheesecake, but she ate all of it before he got any, but the message clearly wasn't perfectly delivered. Of course that has its own Unfortunate Implications.
  • A series of Subway commercials shows a customer ordering a meal in a fast food restaurant. The foods are given "cute" names that reflect what will happen if someone became overweight — depression, loneliness, inability to get a date, inability to fit into skinny jeans, etc. The unfortunate implication is that being overweight will make you disgusting and unlovable. I'll have the ED Trigger Extra Value Meal with a large Fat-Shaming shake, please.
  • A series of Twix commercials ("Need a moment?") showed men accidentally irritating or offending women, only to eat a Twix and think of a credible (but really flimsy) lie. Examples include...
    • A bored man interrupts a woman attempting to converse with him about politics with an invitation back to his apartment. She is offended, but he eats a Twix and tells her he'd meant to invite her to politically blog together, and she readily accepts. Implication — caring about political issues is lame, but lying to women to have sex with them is awesome. They actually followed this ad up - a later ad had them getting back to the apartment, which is a wreck because the owner doesn't pick up after himself. His lie this time is that someone must have broken in and ransacked the place.
    • Two men are disdainfully commenting to each other about how the bride at the wedding they're at shouldn't be wearing white (implying that she's promiscuous). The bride's father overhears and angrily asks what they mean by the comments. One man eats a Twix and makes the excuse that he meant that brighter colors would favor the bride's complexion. Implication — women with sexual pasts are irredeemable sluts, and the only men who will care about aspersions cast upon them are their male family members.
    • A man is sitting with his wife and newborn child, when said wife angrily points out that he is ogling passing young women. The man eats a Twix and quickly responds that he is merely looking for potential babysitters. Implications — men are constantly ogling women out of their age range, even relatively early in their marriages, and wives who care are shrieking harpies, but it's okay as long as you lie to them.
    • A man is out eating with his assumed girlfriend when she notices that he is receiving a text saying "I need you right now" from someone named Terry (or Terri) and angrily confronts him. He's unsettled for a second, but eats a Twix and tells her "Oh, that's my boss." Implications — cheating is awesome and it's cool to lie about it!
    • A man is reading and laughing at a sexist book with a friend when a woman passes and remarks that she is offended. One of the men eats a Twix and accuses the other man of being a sexist pig, thus garnering the affection of the woman. Implications — it's cool to be sexist or laugh at sexist jokes, but lie about it to women so you can get laid, especially if it involves throwing your pal under the bus to cover your own ass!
    • And the unfortunate implication theme running through this whole series? Other people, especially women, are stupid enough to instantly believe every dumb excuse that is thrown at them - and men are apparently naught but louts, who always lie and cheat.
  • A UK ad for Ryvita has a group of women discussing what they want to change about themselves. One woman remarks that she wouldn't change anything. Cue silence and stares from the other women, before they come up with "flaws" for her, such as "So, not your bum then?". Implications? "If you're happy the way you are, there is clearly something wrong with you". Not to mention the implication that it's perfectly fine to make fun of your friend's appearance because "friends share everything! Including low self-esteem!"
  • In the UK, there's an advert for Cravendale milk, that is supposedly 'purer' than other milk. The way they show this? A cartoon cow going through a machine that removes all the black spots from the cow, making it fully white. To make it pure. No idea if it's still playing on TV or not.
  • Yoplait yet again. One of their commercials features a thin woman staring into the refrigerator at a cherry cheesecake and "bargaining" with herself over it by promising to eat only celery for the rest of the day, spending hours on the treadmill, etc. if she has a slice. The commercial was pulled when an advocacy group pointed out that this is was identical to the inner monologue of someone suffering from an eating disorder. Hard to say what is more troubling, that the commercial glamorized women torturing themselves over what they wanted to eat or that this sort of thing is so commonplace in many cultures that it never occurred to anyone until someone pointed it out that it could be a sign that something's wrong.
  • The entire idea of "guilt-free foods" is a giant Unfortunate Implication if you think about it. The idea that you should feel guilty and ashamed of yourself if you eat certain foods instead of others -- essentially implying that if you're not conventionally thin, you're unattractive and it's your fault -- ties into a lot of body-shaming and self esteem issues. Is it any wonder so many people have body image issues when they're constantly being told that they should be ashamed of what they eat?
    • Another Unfortunate Implication with that is it suggests eating certain foods is the only reason a person is ever overweight. It makes you wonder if the people who come up with that concept have ever heard of a few things called pregnancy, genetics or illness. Not to mention that in these commercials the individuals' level of activity or exercise is almost never a factor, implying that even people who work out or are physically active can't indulge, because clearly the only difference between thin and fat is the right diet, so only fat people must like chocolate or cake.
    • There's also a level of classism to the whole concept, since in some areas you literally cannot find healthier foods or they're too expensive for people with lower incomes, or who are on assistance programs like food stamps, to purchase, due to what's known as the Food Desert effect. The implication then becomes that the reason you're fat is because you're poor, and it's still your fault.
  • Chili's "$20 Dinner for 2" commercial. A man is interviewing a woman for a position. He asks why he should hire her. She says a)she's his wife, and b)his car's in the shop and he needs a ride to Chili's. Nepotism and kickbacks, in one delicious casual-dining package. Of course, they may just be joking around, and she's probably just there to pick him up for their lunch date, but it's not made clear in the commercial.
  • Any commercial that markets food to parents by either having the parents hide the fact that the food is good for kids or in some cases flat out lie to the kids about what's in it. Because it's much better to lie to your kids instead of teaching them about good nutrition so they grow up with healthy habits! This blog post outlines the pros and cons of this sort of behavior, and most nutrition experts seem to come down on the side of it being harmful to the kids in the long run, and probably helps explain why so many kids gain the "Freshman 15" when they enter college since they've never been taught how to properly feed themselves!
    • A blatant example of this would be commercials for Fiber One cereal, which include slogans such as "Half a day's worth of fiber! Not that anyone has to know...".
    • One particularly cringe-worthy one has a mom in a grocery store start turning over displays so her kid won't hear the grocery store employee say that the product has vegetables in it. Because apparently petty vandalism and making some poor grocery store worker clean up after you is preferable to telling your kids they're eating vegetables? Some kids are picky eaters, but that's really pushing it into Comedic Sociopathy territory.
    • There's also an Eggo commercial where two kids see their mom is "doing her exercise video" again and dread what sort of healthy foods she'll be giving them, only to celebrate when they see it's Whole Grain Eggo Waffles! The tagline is "You know it's good for them with whole grains, all they know is they're tasty!" Because kids are too dumb to possibly understand that things can be good for them and taste good.
  • Maybe the Miller Lite is supposed to wash down their Slim Jims, another example of manhood being called into question because they ate something considered "girly." In one a "rescue squad" shows up and basically force feeds a guy Slim Jims because they found out that he ate a salad. Yes, apparently eating healthy foods is not manly, while scarfing down overprocessed meatlike substances is. One saving grace is that the commercials are so over-the-top with this that one must suspect that they're actually mocking other commercials that try to play into your average dudebro's fear of emasculation by basically coming out and saying that if said dudebro doesn't consume whatever product they're selling, the hairy-legged feminist hordes will win.
    • Their latest "spicy" commercials also include such unmanly behavior as "ironing jeans," (only women can do laundry!) "trading a sports car for an SUV [4]" (your car defines you!) and riding behind a woman on a motorcycle/scooter (real men are always the drivers!). Their ads may be over the top and silly to those with a more "enlightened" view, but there's no doubt that the implications are very accepted by common culture, and endorsed by the commercials and their slogan: "Full of stuff GUYS need!"
  • There's a commercial for Fiber One 80, a fiber cereal that's only 80 calories, where a whole bunch of people discover it and essentially form a flash mob that goes to another woman's house to invite her to try it. The problem? Every single person in the mob is a woman. The only guy is a briefly glimpsed construction worker who stares down at the crowd with a "WTF?" expression. This is especially notable because they had an earlier commercial for their regular cereal where both men and women were excited about it, so according to Fiber One only women care about both fiber and calories.
    • There's a similar series of commercials for Jimmy Dean where a bunch of anthropomorphized planets, a moon and a female rainbow are all helped to get out of their morning slump by Jimmy Dean breakfasts. However, only the commercial with the female rainbow mentions how many calories are in it. Because only women care about these things.
  • In the most recent commercial for Klondike Bars, a man is challenged to listen to his wife...for five seconds. When he succeeds, two blonde come from off screen and embrace him. So, according to this commercial, wives are naturally insufferable for any amount of time, and infidelity is the cool thing to do.
  • In a Latin-American Snickers commercial, a girl whom is referred to as "Carlos" is mocked by other guys who tell her that "You always cry as a girl when you're hungry!", then they offer her a Snickers bar, upon eating it she transforms into a man who says "I feel better". The commercial ends with the phrase "You are not yourself when you are hungry." See it for yourself.
    • Most of the commercials in this campaign are about a dude who is represented at first as some sort of unpleasant female-type. Although there is the one where the chick turns into Don Rickles.
  • There's a commercial for a type of water bottle that filters the water for you, and it shows an Inuit man looking for water on an ice float. Just then a (white) woman shows up with the bottle and gives it to him, cheerily saying "It's drinking water from the fountain at the mall!" This gives it unfortunate Mighty Whitey implications.
  • Hardee's commercials show men failing to cook breakfast after their girlfriends leave them. Because men are incapable of cracking an egg and frying it on a skillet. Another commercial shows a man's friends respond with horrified looks when he offers them homemade biscuits. A bored voice-over then says, "Guys...don't bake." Implying that something is wrong with a man who knows how to cook.
    • Clearly, Hardee's has never heard of BACON!!
  • Dr. Pepper 10 advertises itself as ultra-manly, and being "not for women". Which has all sorts of sexist connotations to begin with, but then there's the reason for the entire trope in the first place: women supposedly drink "diet" sodas without needing to be prompted by an ad, so they're girly and men won't touch them, so there has to be a diet soda just for men. Anything manly becomes sissy the instant women touch it!
  • A recent commercial for Steak and Shake features the father of a household accidentally breaking one of his wife's many penguin figurines, which she seems to have a bizarre fixation with, judging from the large portrait of herself holding one. What we see next is his three children, all having witnessed the incident, one of which is wearing the most disgustingly smug smile on her face. The scene cuts to the four of them eating at Steak and Shake, making it obvious that she (if not all three) blackmailed him. "Broken Penguin + Four Meals Under $4 = What Broken Penguin?" is the tagline that follows.
  • A serious of commercials for the McDouble from McDonald's feature a person who is very grateful to receive a McDouble from a second person, while the second person tries to obscure McDouble ads showing how cheap the burger is so that the first person doesn't find out and get mad. The implication here is that people will only appreciate a gift if it costs a lot of money.
  • Food commercials really like showing someone's relationship to food being like their relationships with another person, usually romantic, and it occasionally goes into questionable territory. A prime example is an "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" commercial that encourages you to "Cheat on butter." Wow. Apparently infidelity is now a cool thing to do if you're in a relationship with dairy and instead want vegetable oil.
    • Well, at least the vegetable oil's a Virgin.
  • Danup yogurt ads in the 80s featured physically fit people dancing and singing while drinking the product, emphasizing on the "healthy" lifestyle, but the ads invariably ended showing a fat person eating sweets or other junk food while looking disdainfully at the dancing people. Real nice...
  • There is a commercial for Tyson's Chicken Nuggets that shows children (all who appear to be around six years old or so) naming foods they dislike and why. Just as the last kid is about to say he doesn't like something, a plate of nuggets comes in and he happily takes one and eats it. Then, all the kids take one and enjoy them and the voiceover says, "They're the one thing kids love" and the kids even say "Thanks, mom" at the end. Seems like a cute commercial, right? It might have been...if it weren't for the fact that the final kid was saying, "To be honest, I don't like..." before the plate came in, cutting him off. It seemed like he was about to say he doesn't like anything. The commercial implies by saying "the one thing". So, apparently, not only are all kids extremely picky, but they all have the exact same taste in foods. Sure, some kids are very picky, but that's just beyond ridiculous!
  • Similar to the commercials mentioned above, a Special K commercial had a woman looking in her fridge while her inner monologue goes, "Dinner with the girls tonight...I really want dessert. Better skip breakfast. Yup, coffee's all I need." She eventually chooses Special K for breakfast instead of just having coffee, but did it occur to anyone this is a sign of an eating disorder?
    • Hell, the majority of ads for Special K basically run on this trope. If they're not fat-shaming women who dared to indulge in sweets, they're encouraging them to "drop a jean size in two weeks" by eating their cereal, because the only reason to lose weight or eat healthy is to look good in clothes.
  • A 2007 Super Bowl Snickers ad had two mechanics unintentionally pulling a Spaghetti Kiss on a Snickers bar. Their panicked response? "Quick, do something manly!" After ripping their chest hair out and screaming in pain, the ad directs people to a website to choose their own ending. And here's where it gets unfortunate in two ways:
    • Among the endings are the two mechanics drinking things like antifreeze to try and get the taste off their tongue... or swinging at each other with wrenches. Because it's always manly to beat the crap out of any guy who makes a sexual gesture towards you.
      • Not to mention antifreeze is a lethal poison if ingested and even worse it tastes sweet. Every year quite a few pets and tragically the occasional young child die from antifreeze poisoning.
    • The endings were coupled with reaction shots from several football players... most of which were basically, "Ewww, two guys kissing."


Health & Beauty Products

  • Axe/Lynx Body Spray has ads with the basic theme "this body spray will make you smell nice in a way that is attractive to women". They cranked it Up to Eleven by creating commercials in which their product enhances a man's appeal to entirely ridiculous levels. For example, "Billions" depicts a man who attracts thundering herds of attractive women in bikinis from miles around just by using Axe. A large amount of people seem to think that Axe is sincerely saying their product can achieve this, which would make it less akin to a male grooming product and closer to some sort of weapon of mass destruction.
    • There was one very short-lived variant of this which ramped it up even further, where a woman unwittingly uses her partner's Axe/Lynx after she runs out of her own. She then spends the day having women hit on her, much to both her and the other womens' confusion. This is multiple levels of weird. First off, the implication that the product is so effective it even makes even straight women forget their own orientations. Secondly, the woman's horror at being hit on by another woman, which just reeks of homophobia. Lastly - though possibly this goes into all out Fridge Horror territory - that she only finds her partner attractive because he wears Axe/Lynx. That's before the somewhat rapey implications of that situation even start to surface.
  • Any ad that features weight loss and swimsuits. The Valerie Bertinelli Nutri-System ads and a spot for Kellogg's "Special-K Challenge" probably mean to say "With our products, you'll have the confidence to sport that skimpy bikini"...but in practice, they scream "One-piece suits are for fatties." Or if you're feeling more charitable, "One-piece swimsuits are for those with something to hide."
    • Especially since the actresses for most of those ads rarely appear overweight to begin with, implying that if you're larger than these women you should never consider wearing a bathing suit at all.
      • Or any type of revealing summer clothing, for that matter. The implication is that unless you're thin, constantly dieting and working out, you have no business being cool in the summer or should stay indoors where no one can see you. If the sheltered people making these commercials ever went to a county fair or a public pool, they'd probably be scarred for life.
    • It doesn't help in the least that the reason some people don't feel confident wearing a skimpy bikini is because they know the most likely result of wearing a skimpy bikini with bouncy assets.
    • These ads clearly don't even think that maybe some people just prefer wearing one-piece bathing suits. No, the only two options are either that sexy, skimpy bikini or one of those one-piece suits for fatties!
    • There's another that features a woman doing some sort of pilates exercises, and with each motion says the name of a type of clothing she wants to be able to wear after she gets in shape, such as "bathing suits" "shorts" "tank tops" and so forth. The problem is that this woman is not, by any stretch of the imagination, anywhere close to looking overweight even by Hollywood Pudgy standards, so the message falls pretty flat.
      • And even if the woman were actually overweight and not just Hollywood Pudgy, there would still be the implication that overweight people can't wear any of the clothes she mentions.
    • There's an ad for Jenny Craig featuring Carrie Fisher where she says "Thank you for helping me feel pretty, one more time". She's a woman who has overcome drug abuse and depression, and apparently it's not worth it unless she sheds some weight in order to feel "pretty".
  • A Kleenex ad campaign had some issues. Their "Get Mommed" campaign featured interchangeable ethnically diverse (yet stereotypical) "Moms" to help with cold and flu season, and at least one commercial shows a woman and her daughter booting one of the "Moms" out of the car by the side of the road when she dares to change the radio and replacing her with a new one, Played for Laughs. Can you say "Disposable Woman"? And that's just the tip of the frickin' iceberg when it comes to the Unfortunate Implications here. And of course there's no "Get Dadded" campaign, because men taking care of others, especially other men, is totally gay (unless you're a doctor, and even then...) and gay people aren't allowed to exist in American commercials.
  • This TV ad for a company selling corrective eyewear. It's bad enough that at the end the girl avoided her ugly partner after she got glasses, but then the company started issuing print ads showing the same couple getting married and having a child, with the girl still having poor eyesight. The unfortunate message — never mind that the guy was a great boyfriend, husband, and father...he was still ugly, and the girl would've never ended up in a relationship with him had she gotten glasses.
    • Speaking of which, a TV Ad for Sears Optical is a Double Subversion as it features a similar couple with the man asking how he got a girl like her and the woman replying "I'm the lucky one." The fact that the voice over immediately asks "Missing something?" may imply that he's the one that needs glasses since he accidentally cut off her hair (He was trying to cut off the tag of her dress. But given that the offer is for two pairs of glasses at a single price (Implying one for each of them) suggests that not only would the man not have accidentally cut her hair, but the woman wouldn't be dating him if they both had a pair of glasses.
  • Invisalign Teen has an ad featuring two sisters. One has regular braces while the other got her mom to buy the product -- for her and only her. Thoughout the entire commercial, the girl with braces laments all the things she can't do, while her smug sister rubs in her face that she can, mocking and teasing her at every opportunity. The Parental Favoritism implications are jarring, especially since the apparent favorite gets away with treating her own sister like absolute crap. Remember kids, if you have braces, that makes you ugly and a prime target for bullies!
  • There's an ad for a type of probiotic that's supposed to help people with stomach problems. They have several women of various ethnicities, but only one male... who looks around six years old and complains about "tummy troubles." You have two implications here: First, that only women and little children have stomach problems, and second that any men who do are like little kids and that stomach problems are not a "manly" thing to have. It is true that conditions like IBS are more common in women, but this commercial makes it look like no men get it, which is not true.
  • Dove Soap for visibly more white... er I mean beautiful skin!
  • In general, ads for health-care products have an obvious demographic that comes across as insulting. For example: You're watching Doctor Who on BBC America at midnight because you missed the episode earlier? You must have erectile dysfunction! You fell asleep watching Golden Girls? You must be constipated! You're watching anything other than cartoons during the day? You must be a fattie who needs life insurance!
  • There's an ad for Scope mouthwash that shows a guy making and eating a sandwich for himself full of onions and garlic, and then when his wife or girlfriend comes home rushes into the bathroom to use the mouthwash. He then comes out and the woman comments that he must be starving, implying they were going to eat together, and sees his the dirty dishes and saying that she thought she did them. He then silences her with a kiss. The implication? Use our product to help deceive your significant other! This is one where they seem to have gotten the implication later and cut out the bits where the guy is covering his actions up, instead just making it about him wanting his breath to be nice when he kisses her, which is much more acceptable.


Mass Media

  • This turns up a lot in ad-generators based on page content, such as the ones at the top and side of this page. For instance, the Religion of Evil page will sometimes turn up ads for...a Muslim dating site, Scientology, and "Regent University: Online Christian Learning". If The Advertisement Server has become sentient, one hopes this is Dead Baby Comedy.
    • The Idiot of the Week page generates ads for Sarah Palin's new book and Ann Coulter.
    • The Know Your Meme article on Epic Beard Man frequently pulls up ads for interracial dating.
    • On Tropes discussing male rape or abuse, there's an advertisement talking about being able to end the trauma. Sounds great, so what's the site address? ... www.nakedgi.com. Um...
    • "Me Love You Long Time" turns up ads for an interracial dating site, featuring an European male and an Asian woman.
  • This Google ad result on a Cracked article about animals.
  • So, how do you guys feel about online game ads that show Germany invading France? If one looks at this ad for eRepublik, one can't help but notice the similarities to World War II, when Nazi Germany invaded France and occupied the country. Two things make this more obvious, rather than it simply being a coincidence — the area highlighted in France is awfully close to the Alsace-Lorraine region annexed by Germany, and the caption at the bottom about stopping or starting a new war (before WWII, politicians were doing all they could to stop another great War from occurring...except Hitler, who was preparing for War). Maybe we're just reading too much into this, but it does seem to be a rather obvious conclusion to someone with a basic knowledge of history looking at this.
  • An ad campaign from The Economist aimed at women used its traditional brand of quirky humor when it said on the front, "Why should women read The Economist? They shouldn't." Then, on the inside, it said "Accomplished and intelligent people should read it." Even some women who made it to the punchline on the inside got offended, taking it to mean that a female point of view (the magazine's staff is mostly male) was invalid.


Public Service Announcements

  • This recent advert in the UK targets young people and tries to show them the consequences of knife crime. A very noble and worthwhile advert, but made a little unfortunate by the prisoner being interviewed right at the end just wanting some chicken. More of a case of Values Dissonance since this association doesn't exist in the UK.
    • and the comments for that video has been disabled, no doubt because of all the fried chicken jokes in the comments section.
  • A recent Home Office ad for ID cards featured a parody of the Spartacus scene where one person is finally able to prove that he is Spartacus via the use of an ID card. Private Eye pointed out what actually happened to Spartacus in the movie.
  • A local blood bank ad tells an Erin Brockovitch-like story about an eeeevil corporation which is poisoning the water, killing off the wildlife, and making kids sick. The heroine takes them down...only to find that things are ten times worse because now there's no one to clean up the pollution, pay the townsfolk, or insure the sick little children. And then someone comes on saying that there's an easier way to save the world — donate blood! That's right — give up trying to defeat the corrupt overlords, because you'll only make things worse if you succeed. Awesome public service ad, people.
    • So, it's essentially the PSA version of Urinetown?!
    • A similar radio commercial had a man debating what charities to give to. He complained that shelters give the homeless food and shelter, but don't help them get jobs and education programs help them get jobs, but won't provide food or shelter. Rather than split the money between both programs, he decides it's much simpler to forget about helping the homeless and just donate blood. Not to mention the thousands of refuges that make it their job to get the homeless into education and work.
  • "No Pressure" by 10:10 featured people (including children) being blown up for not joining a carbon reduction program. This was supposed to be funny. It didn't go over well with an enormous number of people. Many environmental groups felt the need to distance themselves from 10:10 afterward.
  • Many public awareness campaigns against excessive drinking will have different PSAs targeted at men and women. The men's ads will usually show the drinker getting into a fight or taking part in dangerous behaviour that he wouldn't do while sober. The women's ads usually show the drunk woman being raped or sexually assaulted, with an underlying element of victim-blaming — if the woman hadn't drunk so much, or hadn't been rowdy in public, maybe this wouldn't have happened to her. Or the PSA will look like this, with the rather sexist implication that women shouldn't drink because puking in the gutter is unfeminine, not because of the damage it'll do to their health.
    • Along the same lines, there was a 1970s anti-drinking ad in Scotland that showed a drunk woman staggering, slurring her words and having to get out of a taxi to throw up in the street, with her date becoming increasingly disgusted. The message was "A pretty girl, pretty drunk, isn't very pretty." Translation: Never mind your liver, ladies, can the drinking or you'll never get a husband!
  • The Metropolitan Police in London ran a radio ad featuring dialogue between a male thief and the phone he's about to steal, which has a sexy female voice and screams as the robber makes his move. The message was that if you use your phone outside an Underground station, you're "asking" for it to be stolen. So, we have a pretty unfortunate allusion to sexual assault, as well as the message that if you get robbed it's your own fault. What a winner!
    • The Metropolitan Police are rather good at this. A series of posters in 2009 implied that anyone buying household chemicals was a terrorist, and another said the same about anyone using a camera in a public place.
  • There was an anti-speeding ad in the UK that began with a shot of a little girl lying dead in the road, who slowly comes back to life with her injuries healing. The endline stated that there is an 80% chance she will die if hit by a car travelling at 40mph, but an 80% chance she'll survive if the car is doing 30mph. Commentators in the media pointed out the unhelpful subtext: that you don't need to stop if a child steps out ahead of you, just reduce your speed by 10mph and they'll probably be fine! Later, after the campaign ended, the government admitted that the statistic quoted was based on research conducted in the 1980s and didn't take into account the development in modern cars or road conditions.
  • There was a UK road safety ad which started with a young woman showing the viewer around her mansion in Hollywood talking about how great her life has been since she was spotted by a modelling agency. Then we see the same woman as a teenager get knocked over by a car and die. The slogan "Don't die before you've lived". Implication: it's a shame she died because she could've been a celebrity and therefore her life would be worth living.
    • This was part of a multimedia campaign by Transport for London that ran for several years. Another cinema ad featured a young man in a mock trailer for an action movie, and posters and radio commercials told the stories of kids who would have gone on to become successful rappers, pop stars, footballers, dancers and supermodels if they hadn't been killed by traffic. All carried the same Unfortunate Implication as the first and implied that inner-city kids don't have any ambitions beyond vacuous celebrity worship. None of the ads featured a child who would have grown up to be a doctor or scientist ...
  • Any abstinence PSA that focuses on how pregnancy/a baby will ruin your life, especially the ones aimed at men. The message is supposed to be "don't have sex; becoming a parent is a huge responsibility that will completely change your life." A more obvious message, however, is: "Don't carry a pregnancy to term" or worse: "Guys, if she gets pregnant, run like the wind, drop out of her life and don't be a parent, because a baby is the worst thing that could ever happen to you."
  • The now-defunct Commission for Racial Equality ran a series of print and billboard ads for (fictional) products, with pretty unpleasant implications about race, such as an ad for a rape alarm with a white woman on a train looking nervously at the Scary Black Man behind her. A few weeks after this they then ran an ad with their own logo, asking why people don't make complaints when they see things like this in real advertising.
    • Ironically the Commission for Racial Equality got in trouble with the police because they didn't take the adverts down, after people did complain.
  • A series of PSA's warning of the dangers a stroke had an actor "be" the stroke and talk about what they would do to the viewer. One talked about how it would--among other things-- "come after you" and it "will hit you so hard, you won't know what day it is!" Who did that advertisement? Michael Clarke Duncan! I am sure casting him had nothing at all to do with that whole Scary Black Man thing.
  • This ad for Autism Speaks. Not only does it make it look like autism is cancer, aids or demon possession from supernatural, it makes it look like no one with any form of autism can ever have a fullfilling life at all.
  • This ad promoting the benefits of an enlarged European Union. Meant to show the strength of the European Union in the face of competition from the emerging economies of China, India and Brazil. Comes across much more as xenophobic propaganda urging Europeans (represented by a white woman) to stand up against the aforementioned countries (represented by hostile non-white men).
  • An advert aired in Britain by the police about reporting crimes that aired in 2008. The advert shows a man witnessing a woman getting abused by her husband. He ignores it, trying to forget what he saw and thinking it doesn't matter anyway because he's in a hurry to get to work. It cuts to a few days later where the same man learns that his daughter is being abused by her boyfriend, something which scared her for life. The advert ends with the man calling the police with the tagline: "Would you stand back while someone you love is scared? Why do it to others? Witness a crime; call 999." Seems like a great message right? It's clear, and it's a good course. The problem is that some of the airings didn't include the tagline but rather a shorter line reading: "Someone you love? Call 999." ...So the advert simply show a man not reporting a serious crime, however said man does report the crime when it's his own daughter it happened to...In other words the implication is: Don't bother reporting crimes that have nothing too do with you.
    • Not to mention implying that women are all potential victims who need rescuing by men, and that All Abusers Are Male.
  • There is a series of radio PSAs in the U.S. using audio clips from Disney films related (or tangentally related) to the theme -- a Bambi ad for the Forest Service about stopping wildfires, a Lion King ad about being a good father, etc. One for the USDA and LetsMove.org starts by talking about Beauty and the Beast: "Belle and the Beast discovered true beauty is found on the INSIDE. And they lived happily ever after." It follows that with how the fact how children being overweight or obese is "threatening all our happy ever afters." The intent is...well, actually it's hard to link the Aesop from the movie to their reasoning. The lessons a listener takes away are: 1. True beauty is found on the inside, but only if you're thin, kids! Fatties are ugly to the bone. 2. Fat kids aren't just undeserving of happy endings, they're threatening ALL of our "happy ever afters". Remember, kid, every time you eat a french fry, you show that your soul is ugly AND God kills an innocent kitten, too.
    • Similar complaints were brought against a 2012 campaign in Atlanta, GA that used such slogans as "It's hard to be a little girl if you're not." Childhood obesity is a genuine problem in the U.S., but so far it seems to be an impossible one to sensitively address.
  • A pressure group ad began by berating the viewer for not doing anything about the problem of African children dying from drinking water contaminated with feces. It then showed a young boy going into a deserted public toilet and lapping from the bowl, with a voiceover smugly declaring "if you don't mind little black kids drinking from the toilet, you won't mind little white kids drinking from the toilet." But the risk of dysentery wasn't the first thing many viewers thought of when they saw a young child going into a men's toilet alone ...
  • Ministry of Sound (a large club based in London, with an associated record label) ran a TV campaign encouraging young people to vote. Each of the ads featured someone spouting an offensive monologue about LGBT people, black people, women, fox hunting, etc. with an endline stating that we should use our votes because people like this use theirs. Unfortunately, all of the speakers featured in the ads were older white men, suggesting they are the only ones who hold any kind of bigoted views.
  • There was an anti-fox hunting film that began showing a cheery Upperclass Twit going out hunting in the country, but then the music turns darker, the background turns to a dark sky with rain and lightning, and the jolly man into a snarling, drooling, fanged maniac who at the end is revealed to be riding on a child's rocking horse. Unfortunately, the style of the film could imply that the man went crazy because his fox-hunting was taken away, and that if he'd been allowed to do it everything would have been nice and normal!


Toys & Video Game Products

  • The front window of a Build-A-Bear Workshop display, wherein amongst many dressed teddy bears was a teddy pig dressed up as a policeman. Makes you wonder...
    • How about a piggy in a yarmulke and prayer shawl? A local Build-A-Bear had this when you could still get the yarmulke and shawl (around Chanukah). Of course, bear meat isn't kosher either, and maybe pigs just like to practice a religion which has "don't eat me" as one of its tenets...which is actually pretty adorable.
  • The mascot for the Transformers toy company Takara was a black-skinned creature called "Dakko-chan". It was retired in 1990.
  • "White is coming" ad for Sony's white PSP, featuring a white woman (even dressed in a white costume too) holding a black woman by her jaw in quite a violent manner. Granted, it wasn't released worldwide, but the ad became infamous on the web back then. The campaign also includes an ad where the white woman is portrayed as the victim, maybe in hopes of getting rid of the racial undertone of the other ad, but it came of as an Unfortunate Implication on itself.
  • An ad for a Facebook game called Meez has been showing up on a few websites. I'm sure that the advertisements will reflect cultural sensitivity and--...Oh... Oh boy.


Other

  • The 4G 'Homeless Hot Spot' campaign. Basically they took several homeless people, dressed them in uniforms and tech that would make them into Wi-Fi hot-spots. The problem? Well, the uniforms said "Hello, my name is [first name]. I am a 4G hot spot.", and were given $20 PER DAY, not to mention the fact that this was about a week after police brutally beat up protesters in New York for complaining that corporate America was taking advantage of its citizens.
    • It gets worse: the 4G people called this charity, the radiation necessary to make a person a wi-fi hot spot is potentially (ie more than likely) harmful AND one of the homeless people they used was a victim of Hurricane Katrina. While the homeless didn't have a problem with this you have to wonder if any of them ended up getting stage one cancer from the whole ordeal.
  • The musical commercials for Free Credit Report.com featured an advertisement were our hero laments the fact that he married a woman without first knowing she had a bad credit score. He even explicitly states that if he had known, he would've gotten a dog instead...which in itself has some unfortunate implications, since getting married and getting a dog don't usually solve the same set of problems.
  • Quite a lot of commercials designed to lure in women make a lot of very sexist assumptions about just how preoccupied people are with appearance. Sarah Haskins repeatedly lampshades this in Target: Women videos.
  • This Super Bowl ad for the Dodge Charger, which implies all women are soul-sucking harpies and small courtesies on behalf of a working relationship actually mean you're giving up your masculinity. (Deservedly-snarky parodies/rebuttals soon followed.)
  • Some critics (i.e., anyone who has ever watched ads and acknowledges what they are) have noticed that men in ads are much more likely to be portrayed as idiots than women. This is to avoid the stereotype of women as stupid things that need a man's help, but it made a stereotype where the woman has to come to the rescue of her idiotic significant other. Take the Yellowbook spot where a woman finds out her klutzy husband has just gotten a field job at a demolition company, and the first thing she does is look for life insurance. If the sexes were reversed, it never would've made it to air.
    • See also every TV dad or husband ever. Not that "dad" exists in Advertising...
    • State Farm: State of Confusion, where people are buying ludicrous things because they saved money on their insurance. All of the people in question are men. Presumably, State Farm wanted to avoid the stereotype of women splurging, but it'd be hard to claim they were being stereotypical if both genders were making these impulse buys.
    • One series has clients able to summon a State Farm agent with a jingle. In one such ad, a husband returns home to find his wife playing a game, having finished working on their insurance faster than expected. He summons an agent expecting to prove his wife is lying, only to find she's telling the truth. But her expectation of an apology gets roundly mocked, with the guy getting the last word. Don't expect respect, ladies!
  • The commercial for "The Boyfriend Pillow", a pillow shaped like a disembodied arm for women to use "when your boyfriend is out of town". The commercial proclaims "women without their boyfriends toss and turn!" Yes, because the only way a woman can possibly sleep is with her man. Plus, waking up next to a disembodied limb isn't all that comforting to anyone who's not a Serial Killer.
  • The new Swiffer commercials, where mud, crumbs, and other messes around the house are represented by single women looking for "the right one". At the end, the Swiffer shows up, and they attach themselves to it. The tagline? "Swiffer attracts dirt." Nobody caught the implication that single women are awful and need to be disposed of, apparently... They eventually did another one with a male character, but it still carries the unfortunate implication about being single.
  • Parodied in old commercials for Yellawood lumber (distinguished by yellow tags and yellow logos, which people might pronounce as "yella" around here) featuring former NFL quarterback Archie Manning (father of Eli and Peyton) and the lumber company's CEO Jimmy Rane.

 Archie, regarding a stack of "Yellow Fever: Catch It!" t-shirts: "It's a disease Jimmy...."

  • Dulux, which makes house paint, had a series of commercials that showed people going to worryingly extreme lengths to find the right shade they wanted for their paint: from stealing underwear off a washing line to following someone on a bus and cutting a square from their coat. The implication of stalking was so disturbing that the "bus" ad was pulled after viewer complaints.
  • Virgin Mobile's "Tree" smartphone ad involves showing an otherwise attractive woman stalking her first date via the internet capabilities of her phone. Using Facebook and Twitter apps as well. Bonus horror; in the sequel commercial she is INSIDE HIS CLOSET. The commercials explicitly call her "crazy" and have horror-movie style music playing throughout, but the very fact that it's Played for Laughs has unfortunate connotations, especially if you think about how that would be perceived if the stalker character was male...
    • Another example of UI from these ads; "Buy the SmartPhone and you can stalk your partner!"
  • A Gerber life college plan commercial has a white and black family talking about the various plans Gerber offers. Toward the end, the black mother says something along the lines of, "And if she DOESN'T wanna go to college, there's NO penalties, so she can use the money for anything." The white mother then replies with, "Well, we should get started right away," to her husband. His response? "Yes we should because YOU'RE going to college" to his baby. It can be taken as a crack that the black family might have other plans with that money.
  • There's an ad out there for a gay dating site. However, it starts out like a friendly reminder for the 9-1-1 emergency system. A woman (who, for full context, is fairly heavy by Hollywood standards) and two men come out to give her CPR. Then they look in each others eyes...and start making out. HAHAHAHA! See, it's funny, because it implies gay men would rather make out than save a woman's life.
  • In the UK, Persil washing powder ran an advert which showed (among similar scenes) a Dalmatian dog shaking off its black spots and a white horse breaking away from a group of black horses. After many viewer complaints, officials held the ad was not intended to have racist overtones, but Persil pulled it anyway.
  • This page of old politically incorrect ads is chock-full of Unfortunate Implications, some of which probably were pretty intentional, while others perhaps were not.
  • Orkin has been running commercials for their extermination services, showing giant anthropomorphic bugs performing various undesirable behaviors in the neighborhood such as hanging out on their porches drinking and driving by in jacked-up pickup trucks blaring loud music. The tagline? "Unwelcome pests moving into your neighborhood? We'll help you get rid of them." Anyone else look at the bug portrayals and see it as typical "ghetto behavior"?
    • Not to mention another where the bug goes on a blind date with a woman, having used a fake photo on the website. The unfortunate part is that the bug's behavior towards her gives off major rapist vibes, so of course the woman gets saved by the male Orkin tech. See the above mention about security systems for more.
  • This Kia ad. Yes, that is an elementary-school girl seducing her teacher.
  • The infamous "Suzanne Researched This" ad for Century 21 from 2006, which managed the singular accomplishment of making both women who pressure their husbands on purchasing a house look shrewish and husbands who give in look ineffectual and limp. Makes for a Funny Aneurysm Moment when you consider what happened to the housing market, and a lot of families like these two, a few years later.
  • This ad for Zazoo condoms. Your kid throws a tantrum because you won't get a big bag of candy? This wouldn't have happened if you'd used condoms! It's true that kids have their bratty moments, but it's still your freaking child. The commercial seems to be implying that kids are nothing but trouble.
    • Not to mention the implication that kids and adults who are "accidents" or the result of unintended pregnancies are nothing but trouble.
    • They could've mentioned the dangers of overpopulation or sexually transmitted infections, but instead they went with something a little less deep.
    • Something else worth mentioning: the parent shown is the kid's father, rather than his mother or both. When you think of the stereotype that men who don't want children always walk out on the kid and the mother, the Unfortunate Implications reach a new level.
  • This commercial for Wal-Mart Halloween candy is chocked full of Unfortunate Implications. Do the right thing? Be respectful of others? Only one candy bar for you. Ignore the rules? Stay willfully ignorant? As much candy as you can carry! Even on the "night-o-mischief" for American children that is Halloween it's pushing it.
  • If you didn't know any better, you'd swear the GEICO "caveman" campaign was telling people that mocking and stereotyping minority groups (at least fanciful ones) is a-OK, and if they're offended by it they're laughably oversensitive souls who just can't take a joke.
  • The ad that runs for a love compatibility test (you have to text your name, your lover's name and the word "match" to a certain number). The ad shows a man running out on his bride at their wedding, essentially leaving her at the altar. A voice-over then says, "Six months ago (if I'm remembering correctly), Jen tested to see if she and John were a perfect match" and it rewinds to show her doing so. The voice then says, "It didn't look good (the score was 3%), but she didn't listen" and then it fast forwards back to Jen crying at the altar. Right, because a compatibility test is what determines how a relationship will turn out rather than the couple themselves. Sure. And who marries someone they've only been dating for six months?
    • Its not even meaningfully a "test:" its literally just a random algorithm that takes the two names, digitizes the letters, and converts the resulting number into a percentage. Its based on absolutely nothing.
  • The Match.com ad where a man and a woman walk into a music shop and play the same chord on two different instruments at the same time. Without looking around, they both improvise a song describing their idiosyncrasies. One sings a line, and the other repeats it back to them, with the exception of one. When she sings "I don't wear make up on weekends" he replies with "I don't wake up on weekends". This, despite her repeating his lines about how much he loves Godfather 3 (when her expression shows she either disagrees or has no idea what he's talking about). So, she can pretend to like his favourite movies, but he can't sing a line about NOT wearing make up on the weekends, for fear it might (ever so slightly) imply he wears it at other times.
    • While the first is still kind of twee and sweet, a follow up got a bit darker. A woman is seen minding her own business and reading a book while waiting for a train. A man with a guitar, on the opposite platform, starts to sing her a song to cheer her up. The unfortunate implication? Harassing random women on the street is not only ok, it's actually really romantic.
    • And that's before the overall Unfortunate Implication of everyone involved being young, attractive, straight and white.
  • A recent advertisement for Direct TV has a man so upset over his cable bill, he ends up injuring himself. That's not so bad. It's what happens after the injury. While it's intended to culminate in some sort of parody of Insane Troll Logic, the poor man ends up beaten to a pulp in a ditch...for wearing an eyepatch. The general gist of the commercial seems to be "Get Direct TV, because if you don't you will end up wearing an eyepatch, and people with eyepatches get beaten up because they look tough and mean." Putting aside the cancer survivors, war veterans and accident victims who have lost or injured eyes and require some form of cover/prosthesis, what about the people who have lost eyes in beatings?
  • Investigation Discovery has a bit of a problem. When they advertise television shows about men or groups doing crimes, the criminals get portrayed as evil criminals. When it's a show about women criminals or crimes of passion, the ads typically show women of model-caliber beauty casually sitting next to their male victims or committing their crimes. It's a ridiculous double standard. When men commit a crime, it's horrible and cruel. When a woman does it, that makes her sexy. One advertisement even had a woman walking through her house pretending to search for clues, right up to fantasizing that her sleeping husband was a freshly-murdered corpse. It's even more unfortunate since the shows themselves (especially Deadly Women) are nothing like this, often horrifically averting Rape/Abuse being okay when it's female on male.
  • Been Verified.com essentially encourages the viewers of its commercials to never trust any other human being they meet, under any circumstances, and instead use quasi-legal databases like their website to look into the private information of anyone they intend to interact with. Because fear!

Notes

  1. (...I just told him to go to Subway.)
  2. What kind of cake makes you put on a few pounds from a single slice?
  3. Never mind wondering how the heck anyone's supposed to get milk from a bull regardless of whether or not he's "pure..."
  4. i.e. a "family car", implying the guy is married with kids, which adds another implication about married men with children not being "manly"
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.