In honor of Throwback Thursday, we here at Awful Advertising thought it would be fun to look bad at some of the most terrible ads and ad campaigns ever – ads so bad, so shocking or so stupid, that it’s perplexing they ever went to print. Without further adieu:
There’s no reason you can’t be bold when promoting an upcoming TV show. However, when Amazon used a New York Subway to promote The Man from High Castle back in 2015, a line was certainly crossed.
In an attempt to showcase a TV show about an alternate reality about what the United States would look like if the Axis power won World War II based on the 1962 Philip K. Dick novel of the same name, Amazon made the ballsy decision to buy ad space on a New York subway and smear Nazi insignia all over it.
— Katherine Lam (@byKatherineLam) November 23, 2015
It should be said that I know what Amazon was trying to do here. It was an attempt to bring the show to real life, making the subway a giant “what-if” marketing machine. But, the obvious problem with the decision is the fact people who don’t know or care about The Man in High Castle just see Nazi insignia everywhere. It’s not a good look at all.
The ads were so poorly received, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said (H/T to Business Insider) it was “irresponsible and offensive to World War II and Holocaust survivors, their families, and countless other New Yorkers.” No kidding.
Amazon quickly pulled the ads after the backlash. Even with the parallels to the show, it’s tough to see how this campaign was approved.