10 Worst 9/11 Themed Ads

911 moscownews The Very Best / Worst of 9 11 Themed Ads

1. The Moscow News‘ “Hard to Explain” Print Ad.

“Things hard to explain, in a language you understand,” the Moscow News advertised in front of a papier-mâché post-crash Twin Towers by advertising giant BBDO. On one hand, it’s pretty, and somewhere deep within the tagline is a message about the messy complexities of geopolitics, an idea that flew by the wayside in the wake of 9 11 for too long.

911lego The Very Best / Worst of 9 11 Themed Ads

2. The “Rebuild It” Lego Print Ad.

It’s Lego, so it’s hard to get too angry, but on the other hand, one would think: Of all brands, doesn’t Lego know better than to go for the childhood-trauma/construction-toy-obsessed-adult crossover market? Apparently not. The better ad, here, is obviously to make a Lego version of Park51 and note, simply, that “There’s less hassle this way.”

911humo The Very Best / Worst of 9 11 Themed Ads

3. Humo Magazine’s “Distractions” Print Campaign

The Belgium have a nuanced sense of humor. Or a bad one. “Reading Humo can have serious consequences” ad agency Duval Guillaume Brussels noted under a picture of two pilots “distracted” by a magazine as they were headed towards the World Trade Center.

MORE “Terrorist Attacks of September 11 Used in Advertising” inside!

911 Fondation Nicolas Hulot 0 1 The Very Best / Worst of 9 11 Themed Ads

4. The Nicholas Hulot Foundation’s “Everyday Nature” Print Ad:

CLM BBDO invoked the iconic image of the towers immediately post-crash for the cause of environmentalism, except again, trees only equal people if you’re watching Avatar, and even then, you’re still like meh.

911 Cobis 1 The Very Best / Worst of 9 11 Themed Ads

5. The CoBis “Motherboard” Print Ad.

Some day your computer might become a target,” reads IT solutions company CoBis’ cute little chip logo under a mockup of the World Trade Center as part of a motherboard. Except nobody dies when computers get attacked.

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6. The Action on Smoking and Health Campaign’s “Smoking > Terrorism” Print Ad.

The New Zealand based anti-smoking campaign takes anti-smoking militarism to a new level by noting the massive difference in size between smoking-related deaths and terrorism-related deaths.

911 mtv3 The Very Best / Worst of 9 11 Themed Ads

7. MTV Magazine (Brazil) and the World Crisis Campaign Print Ads.

Sao Paolo’s Age agency is responsible for this series of three public service print ads, the text of which compared the number of deaths on 9 11 to numbers of hunger, poverty, and AIDS.

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8. The World Wildlife Fund’s “Tsunami” Print Ad:

This thing caused a maelstrom of controversy when it came out last September as a supposed “spec” — or “on speculation” and without publication, for internal purposes only — ad. Whether someone a WWF knew about it or didn’t, the fact is that someone actually thought of this and then made it well knowing if this kind of thing leaked, it’d leak wide.

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9. SABC’s “More To See on Radio” Print Ad

The agency Draft/FCB came up with this charmer, which notes that, what, you’re better off hearing something than seeing it? Using 9 11 to sell the nature of your product isn’t even smart or effective so much as just ironic.


10. The World Wildlife Fund’s “Tsunami” Video Ad:

After denying any knowledge of a video version of the above ad, as it turns out, everyone knew about it, and it wasn’t about to get buried, especially considering they submitted it to Cannes for awards.