Is This Obscure European Sock Company the World's Worst Advertiser? | Adweek Is This Obscure European Sock Company the World's Worst Advertiser? | Adweek
Advertisement

Is This Obscure European Sock Company the World's Worst Advertiser? Ads have incest, nudity, profanity, euthanasia

There's dark humor, and then there's morbid humor. And then there are these French-made ads for Burlington socks, which likely don't qualify as any sort of humor whatsoever. 

The brand's newest ad opens on the deathbed of a weeping grandfather clinging to his last threads of life. When his initially sympathetic grandson notices the dying man is sporting some nice socks, he decides to mock Grandpa's suffering and then gleefully murder him.

"I've seen a lot of shock campaigns," writes veteran ad critic Marc van Gurp on his cause marketing site, Osocio. "But this French spot from sock brand Burlington exceeds all bounds of decency."

Sadly, the euthanasia ad isn't even the worst one created for the German brand by French agency Pain Surprises, which may or may not be creating these spots under a legitimate ad contract. (Burlington France's supposed Facebook and Twitter channels only mention the agency's work, which seems suspect, although several reports in the French press say it's a real brand campaign.)

Last October, they posted a spot that's one big joke about a mom appearing to perform sex acts on her young son. (Spoiler alert: She's not.) You can check out that uncomfortable oddity below. 

Then there's the ad from earlier last year that opens with a naked man saying, "Look at me, motherfuckers." There's more to it, but there's not really more to it.

Some will (logically) argue that we shouldn't give undue attention to ads that are this morally bankrupt. But sometimes it's good to scrape the bottom of the barrel to see what's festering down there and remind ourselves that American advertising's not quite as repugnant as it could be. Um, yay? 

Warning: Video contains NSFW language (and a naked guy).

Get the The AdFreak Daily newsletter:

Thanks for signing up! Check your inbox for a confirmation email.

Advertisement

Sign up for AdFreak Newsletters

About AdFreak

AdFreak is your daily blog of the best and worst of creativity in advertising, media, marketing and design. Follow us as we celebrate (and skewer) the latest, greatest, quirkiest and freakiest commercials, promos, trailers, posters, billboards, logos and package designs around. Edited by Adweek's Tim Nudd and David Griner.

Click to Subscribe to AdFreak RSS

Advertisement