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Top 10 Shockingly Bad Tech Ads

Consumer technology has to be cool to succeed – which is why many advertising companies try to produce cool adverts for them – unfortunately though, advertising companies are seldom cool and we end up with extremely embarrassing adverts. This is a list of the 10 worst.

10. Knockoff Nigel


Another attempt by the powers that be (the movie and audio industries) to demonize people who copy videos. In this advert we see a jolly old man singing at the local pub implying that a person who copies movies is also probably buying stolen televisions, and scrounging free drinks from his friends. If the video was actually based on reality, his friends would be telling the old man to shut up, and copying Nigel’s DVD.

9. Amstrad Studio


Amstrad (who also made computers) feel in to the trap of believing the advertising companies when they were told to include rap in their campaign – it never works – ever!

8. Slimtel


This is an advertisement for a push button slim line telephone. The advertising company seemed to think that lycra clad bouffant hairstyled women would sell a lot of these phones. Unfortunately the English advertising industry has not improved much since then.

7. Atari Pole Position


I do not generally believe in revisionist history, but clips like this really make me think that we should expunge all knowledge of the nineteen eighties from our communal memories. This clip “will bust your crack and leave skidmarks on your soul”.

6. Piracy is a Crime


So is taking away peoples rights to copy things they own! This ridiculous video clip appears on the start of most DVDs. The ironic thing about it is that when you download a movie, this is always removed – so the only people who actually see this are the people who have PAID for their copy.

5. MS DOS 5


This is astoundingly bad – and not the first time Microsoft has used rap music to promote their software: “we’re introducing something new, it is essential for the many and the few” – great lyrics Microsoft.

4. Keeping up with Commodore


Are you keeping up with Commodore? Unfortunately Commodore couldn’t keep up either – they went bust. These were very popular computers – I loved playing on my brother’s Vic 20 as a kid.

3. Don’t Copy the Floppy


You knew this would be on the list didn’t you? This is an advertisement designed to teach kids not to pirate software.

2. Steve Ballmer Sells Windows 1


This was not actually broadcast as an advertisement outside of Microsoft but it is just so bad it has to be included. Can you believe this guy is now running Microsoft? If you want to see more of this guy, here is a clip and here is a pretty good musical parody.

1. Windows 386


This is a promotional video for Windows 386 – the clip here is only the second half – but it is the worst half. This really has to be seen to be believed. Watch it all the way through – it is worth it. The best bit starts around 02:00.

Listverse Staff

Listverse is a place for explorers. Together we seek out the most fascinating and rare gems of human knowledge. Three or more fact-packed lists daily.

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  • teacherman

    It's official, YouTUbe is the single greatest website ever. Someone actually had that Slim Phone ad on VCR and uploaded it with the thought that someone else might want to see it? I am speechless.

    • bqed

      Absolutely hilarious that the "Don't Copy the Floppy" video has been removed because of copyright issues!!!

    • chikius

      I can’t be the only one who expected Windows 386 to be a porn…

  • Joe

    “Dude! You got a Dell!”

    Hated that kid.

  • teacherman: heh I agree – I have found some incredibly obscure adverts from my childhood that were taken off VCRs.

    Joe: hehe – this could have easily been a top 15 list because there are so many really bad ads out there.

  • Someone should find a commercial for the I.Beat Blaxx!!!

  • crimanon: haha

  • aplspud

    So Windows 386 turns you into a psycho, rapping 80s bad fashion day? Sign me up! And who the heck is T-Bone?

  • the most interesting thing i’ve found so far is a picture of Britney Muff. Kid you not google I.beat Blaxx and after a few pages you’ll find it. Why Won’t She Go Away!

    Listverse is on google for this topic First page Baby!!! not even half way down!!!

  • aplspud: T-Bone is the owner of a large corporation that was planning a take over – if you see the whole video from the start it covers that when the rapping woman’s boss tells her that she needs to put together a proposal. Awful, just awful.

  • DiscHuker

    wow. those are bad. i have long wanted to open a consulting firm that just gives my opinion on a commercial. i can’t believe the trash that gets approved from companies with multi-million dollar advertising firms. here are some gems that have actually been seen on local tv.

    montgomery flea market (its just like a mini-mall)

    and this beauty. this is why the rest of the world hates america.

  • DiscHuker: those are unbelievable – how could anyone air that on TV?

  • Dan

    What about outrageous audio?

  • Dan: wow – who charges these guys to make their adverts?!

  • Dan

    Well, they’re from Oregon, so…

  • Dan: hehe

  • rp

    I notice a common theme. Why marketing execs believe that all you have to do to sell a product is frame it within horrible rap “music” has always baffled me. I know it’s not tech, but fast food companies are the biggest offenders.

  • rp: you are right – check this one out: – it is a New Zealand advert for KFC that was on TV when I was young.

    hmm – it isn’t that one – I will find the bad one and post it shortly.

  • JT

    If you pause no 6 when the girl cancels her download, the screen actually says ‘download canceled.’

    See kids, piracy is bad, but so is spelling!

  • Chris

    Clearly the author doesn’t know a thing about cars…. Pole Position… “will bust your CRANK, and leave skid marks on your soul”…
    That’s Crank as in Crank Shaft… common in most internal combustion engines.

    The Commercial still sucks.

  • JT: hahaha

    Chris: you are right – the author knows nothing about cars and doesn’t even have a driving license.

  • RobS

    I remember seeing a YouTube video of Ballmer edited to the tune “Putting on the Ritz” from Young Frankenstein.

    We’re talking huge, huge laughs.

  • RobS: haha hilarious

  • Christopher Borne

    Number One is … wow. That’s … wow. There are no words (well, actually there are, but this is a family website).

  • RobS
  • Yes. Pole Position will bust your crank. And, that commercial absolutely rules. How can you argue with that opening? “Hey! You look like a real jerk!” And that song? You’re crazy man. The Pole Position commercial is genius. Pure genius.

  • RobS: That is hilarious!

  • RobS: That was way way too funny, haha.

    Sad to think that not only people wasted money having those antipiracy ads made, but also that the only way to stop it from happening is more procesution (yeah, right) so it was a waste anyway.

  • Arkz_Archduke_of_Geeks

    .. wow, the pole position one is.. well unusually exciting…, and i personally want to know who’s computer flashes big red letters “DOWNLOAD COMPLETE”, and dos and windows omg… 80s style

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  • I second a-[e]. Pole position ad rocks :P

  • My apologies for the downtime guys – 6 hours! Burton Hosting claims they were doing all they could to fix it so I have to trust that is true.

  • Tats

    If some guy popped up on my monitor and started to bust out some rhymes after I threw in a floppy disk , I’d probably freak out.

  • rp

    This list was posted on fark yesterday. That explains the crash.

  • rp: yeah – it didn’t take long for the site to go down once it hit the front page of videos :( One week until we get our new server!

  • About #6,
    There is also a cinema theatre version. That one also has “you dont steal cell phones” scene. Anyway, whenever they roll it before start of the movie, I always think it should end with “…but you play GTA ”


  • mowi

    a funny parody of number 6

  • Wow. First I feel old. Second — DON’T COPY THAT FLOPPY! hahaha

  • Swinefactory

    Wow – “386… it’ll solidify your existance as a corporate douche”

  • Swinefactory: It doesn’t matter how many times I watch that video – I always end up feeling dirty afterwards!

  • Anona, thx for the share.

  • The 386 commercial uses… a soundtrack that sounds like Mission Impossible??

  • Becca

    The 386 commercial made my day.
    Who the hell makes these?

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  • John

    @Dan: Yesssss! I see those commercials when I am stoned all the time! First thing that came to mind when I saw this list.

  • Elizabeth

    I remember seeing #6 in theatres before the movie started, and every time after the it said “You wouldn’t steal a…” some moron would yell out “YES I WOULD!” I was quite impressed needless to say.

  • boris

    holy crap .. that.. THING .. at number one .. seriously messed-up stuff..
    It would take a shitload of money to make ME do anything like that.. no, wait, I guess a couple hundred bucks should do it

  • Why Jfray? What did I ever do to you. I threw up after nr 1.

  • Kathleen

    #6 – Ironically, I’ve seen that ad on pirated DVDs I’ve bought when I traveled overseas. ;)

  • Ash


  • Jubyduk

    This was cruel and unusual. I could hardly make it through them all, they were so bad…

  • Emily

    I love the Collins College ad, where they’re programming a game using a console and controllers…

  • Ouroboros

    Dude you seriously have to include the IT crowds ‘piracy is a crime’ spoof.’you wouldn’t steal a car, you wouldn’t steal a baby, you wouldn’t shoot a policeman and then steal his helmet’. it’s on youtube

  • Gernreich

    I had a Vic20 when I was a kid :-D

  • saidah

    Number 3, that WOULD happen.
    Slightly ironic.

  • How could you in good conscience have omitted the MS Songsmith ads or the Window Vista and the E Street Ripoff Band??? Maybe because they are experimental and/or internal? It's worth it to watch the songsmith thing and then find DLRs Van Halen vocals as backed by songsmith. Truly sublime/absurd.

    The songsmith "musical"

    The MS Internal "waiting to be sued by Bruce" sales motivational pitch thing

  • #6 was spoofed by the TV show "The IT Crowd" (as I remember it) by continuing the reel:

    "You wouldn't steal a baby.
    You wouldn't kill a policeman and then steal his hat.
    You wouldn't shit in the hat and then give it to his grieving wife.
    You wouldn't steal a movie.
    DOWLOADING…" etc.

  • Moris

    That Windows stuff is embarrassing to watch.

  • kefka1337



  • mordechaimordechai

    How on earth can you rate these as "Bad"?
    Most of them are great. 9 and 5 are epic!

  • Parad0xfool

    Great list. Very interesting. Number 3 is my favorite

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