Oops! 12 Head-Slapping, Hilarious Newspaper Advertising Fails

Where an advertisement is placed on a newspaper or web page can make all the difference in whether that ad gets a response or not. Fair or unfair, readers associate advertisers with whatever stories of photos appears alongside their ads. That’s just how the human brain works.

And look, we know putting together an online news site or an old-school, physical newspaper is tough job. Deadlines come fast and furious and sometimes — in fact, all the time — important decisions need to be made in the blink of an eye. Sometimes, those decisions come out wrong.

And sometimes, they come out horribly, terribly, hilariously wrong.

Journalism blogger Jim Romensko has been writing about the news media since the 1980s, and has authored his blog since before the word “blog” was invented. In addition to his incisive commentary and reporting on the news industry, he also likes to compile ad placement fails. So with a big hat tip to Romensko, here are 12 head-slappers from the department of unfortunate ad placement.

(Well, 13, counting the unfortunately placed travel ad in The Belfast Telegraph, above.)

All of these extremely poor decisions in ad placement are authentic, by the way. No Photoshop need apply.


Is this a commentary on why they endorsed him? Or…

Poor Ad Placement 1


This is either poor ad placement — or perfect timing!

Poor Ad Placement 2


And at cheaper prices than Safeway!

Poor Ad Placement 3


Yeah, story about the Boston Marathon bombings? Not a great place to plug pressure cookers.

Poor Ad Placement 4


The trend in newspapers to sell stick-on advertising produces some highly unfortunate results, like this…

Poor Ad Placement 5


…and this.

Poor Ad Placement 6


Not technically an ad, but this one was too unfortunate to pass up.

Poor Ad Placement 7


Always a good public service for a paper to let us know who’s a tool.

Poor Ad Placement 8


You go, El Paso! It is ALL good!

Poor Ad Placement 9


No comment on this one…

Poor Ad Placement 10


Or this one…

Poor Ad Placement 11


Sadly, it is indeed possible to take too many happy pills.

Poor Ad Placement 12

What’s the most unfortunate juxtaposition of advertising and news that you’ve ever seen?