Poor Advertising Practices To Avoid

Category: General Advertising

Estimated time: 40 minutes


The outcomes associated with good advertising decisions are obvious – ranging from improved profits, to better engagement, higher levels of online traffic, and even wider reach across a local, national, or global scale.

What advertising agencies won’t tell you though is that the consequences of poor advertising decisions are frequently overlooked – at the expense of your brand image! The truth is that failing to think ahead about the kind of traffic you want to generate with your advertising campaigns, or which measures you’ll need to take to appeal to your target audience could mean that you suffer from more than just a wasted portion of your budget

There are many different ways to advertise poorly. People can be annoyed by poor ads and just be turned off so if you want your advertising campaigns to succeed, you need to avoid certain poor advertising practices at all costs.  This module will highlight the pitfalls of poor advertising and help you avoid such practices.


Advertising is a very complicated area for companies and marketers to address. Not only do you need to think about how you’re going to show off your product, service, and brand in the best possible light, but you also need to carefully consider how the images, words, and strategies that you use are going to appeal to your specific audience. Stray too far from what is deemed to be acceptable, and you could end up in serious trouble, whereas if you fail to be creative, you might not get the responses you want. All in all, it’s a difficult line to walk. This module is designed to help you identify and avoid such practices that could harm your brand image. By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • Understand the disadvantages of advertising your brand in the wrong manner
  • Analyze the effects of an advertisement that fails to make the intended impact


  • Characteristics of poor advertising
  • Disadvantages of poor advertising practices
  • Effects of inaccurate or inappropriate advertising practices on your business


Understand the disadvantages of advertising your brand in the wrong manner


While advertising and efficient marketing is almost necessary for substantial returns and a wide customer base, it can also be quite detrimental to business if not handled tastefully and strategically. So how do businesses know when advertising is “too much?”

In today’s market, advertising is seen everywhere. From social media sites, to our cell phone apps, to bathroom stalls, to public transportation. Marketers have successfully reached the deepest depths! And while some advertising can be rather alluring and enlightening to consumers, many tactics have evolved to be seen as more of a “hassle” in the recent past. Feedback from consumers has shown how and why over-advertising becomes detrimental to a brand. Poor advertising can cost you:

  • Your target audience’s trust
  • Money that could have been used towards more productive operations
  • Your brand reputation
  • Respect among your competitors

In a volatile market, it becomes even more crucial to avoid por advertising practices at all costs because your brand could lose relevance ( and profitability) in the blink of an eye!


Look around you. In your daily life, you may have encountered numerous poorly done advertisements. Pick one example of an ad that you find annoying or irrelevant. Identify the reasons why it feels that way (e.g. why do they have a scantily clad lady in a burger advertisement?) List all the reasons you can think of. Suggest improvements for each critique.


Analyze the effects of an advertisement that fails to make the intended impact


The reason an advertisement that fails to deliver or worse – fails completely – is usually because it is so far off the mark about what the consumer wants or needs. Sometimes the advertisement also fails to even acknowledge what the consumer wants! This oversight can end up costing you and your business. When poor publicity emerges, businesses could be portrayed as irresponsible, dishonest or appear to be only looking out for their best interests. Although it is possible to make a good name for your business on a local or national scale, doing so can be an uphill battle, especially in the face of poor publicity. These are the possible consequences of poor advertising:

Loss of Trust

Poor publicity can come in the wake of an exposed lie or inaccuracy. Sometimes advertising is used to pump up businesses’ capabilities and consumers’ expectations. Expectations can be carelessly overblown, revealed as false in the form of poor publicity and lead to disappointment and a loss of trust. If you make a mistake with your wording that makes your brand look unprofessional, then your customers might think that you seem more untrustworthy, and therefore choose to avoid purchasing from you in the future.

Effects on Sales

In general, poor publicity negatively affects sales. Companies that are virtually unknown can at times experience a boom in business after poor publicity, but they are the exception

Damaged Brand Equity

Brand equity can suffer long-term damage as a result of poor publicity. This is especially evident for companies that must recall their products because of safety or health hazards. In such cases, even if only a portion of a product’s supply is recalled, buyers are likely to avoid the brand altogether for a period.

Damaged Brand Association

Brand association refers to the deep-seeded attitudes and feelings a customer has toward a product or company. When brand association is negative, negative attitudes are more likely to come into a consumer’s mind before positive ones. This can lead to poor publicity, and poor interactions between customers and organizations.

Poor Advertising Is Expensive

Not only does poor advertising waste money on the campaign that you created in the first place, but it can also drive away customers that might have otherwise made purchases, or even contribute to the loss of valuable clients

Alienating Potential Customers

Advertising is a tricky business, as it requires you to appeal to a target audience, without alienating other customers. For instance, if you consider your target audience to be middle-aged men, then it’s important to make sure that you don’t create ad copy that might suggest your products aren’t suitable for older men, or women.

False Expectations

The wrong image used in an advertisement, or even the wrong set of words could create false expectations for your company. While it might be tempting to hype up your company as much as possible, it’s also crucial to make sure that whatever your advertisement offers, you can carry out the promises that your advertisement makes!


You are a marketing manager for a Welfare Group and have been given the responsibility of facilitating the advertisements for an upcoming dental camp. One of the well-connected volunteers involved is campaigning to sell her cousin’s glass jewellry at this camp and insisting you add a blurb about the jewellry in your advertising content. Explain to her why this is a poor idea. Talk about some of the above consequences that would result from posting such an irrelevant advertising message.




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