10 Follies

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1. Mideast quagmire, take 1

Boeing Co., Bell Helicopter/Textron and the National Journal were in full apologetic retreat after an ad ran for the CV-22 Osprey aircraft showing Special Forces rappelling onto a building painted with the Arabic words "Mohammad Mosque." The ad, from TM Advertising, Irving, Texas, was headlined, "It descends from the heavens. Ironically, it unleashes hell." Separately, UPN and U.K. network Sky Sports pushed World Wrestling Entertainment to drop its Muhammad Hassan character after bombings in London.

2. Mideast quagmire, take 2

A Volkswagen net ad showed a suicide bomber blowing himself up inside a VW Polo. Particularly vexing for the automaker was the fact it did not create the ad. VW threatened legal action, and the spot's creators, a duo know as Lee and Dan, apologized. They had previously created legitimate ads for Sony and Ford.

3. Waved off

Waves of anger-and buck-passing-followed an e-mail offer for "Special Tsunami Fares" on Singapore Airlines. The ad, including the image of

people fleeing a giant wave, was sent on behalf of a travel agency called Millennium. The firm blamed its agency, Wizie. Wizie in turn said it merely sent out the e-mail, and initially said the client approved the content.

4. Finger-pointing

Wendy's must have gotten pretty tired of "finger food" jokes in 2005. But the fast-feeder got the last laugh. Anna Ayala, who claimed in March to have found part of a human finger in a bowl of Wendy's chili, ended up

being charged with grand larceny.

5. Big headache

The "big idea" can have large, unpleasant results. Snapple simply wanted to set a Guinness record when it hauled a 17.5-ton, 25-foot-tall frozen treat into Manhattan on the first day of summer. Before a crane could lift the Snapple-cicle into place, it melted and police had to close off streets.

6. Signs of the times

Two Austrian artists, to drive home the omnipresence of advertising,

covered outdoor signs and ads along a busy shopping district in Vienna with bright yellow fabric. Christoph Steinbrener and Rainer Dempf sought sponsors for their $245,000 project, and major support came from the chamber of commerce. Local merchants were pleased with the attention the coverings attracted from curious shoppers.

7. Without-a-home media

They're not exactly your usual concept of street teams, but they do work along highway on- and off-ramps. Ben Rogovy, 22, trademarked the term Bumvertising for his tactic of employing the homeless in Seattle to advertise his Web site, PokerFaceBook.com. The panhandlers stand along busy roads holding up Mr. Rogovy's sign. He pays them in food, drink and cash.

8. Holiday mammaries

Several Clear Channel Communications radio stations in Florida, Detroit and St. Louis ran a "Breast Christmas Ever" contest during the 2004-05 holiday season. Prize? free breast-enhancement surgery. The National Organization for Women joined the outcry against the promotion. The group said on its Web site: "The same radio network that sponsored pro-war rallies and banned the Dixie Chicks is risking women's health and safety."

9. Pitcher and milk

The Florida Marlins suspended a batboy for six games after he took a dare from former Marlins pitcher Brad Penny to drink a gallon of milk in less than an hour without throwing up. The boy downed the milk but took more than an hour to do it. The Milk Processor Education Program offered to give the batboy $500, the original amount of the dare, along with lost pay from the suspension, if he promised to drink the recommended daily amount of milk.

10. New (ad) page for Larry

Larry's last chance for happiness may have been a newspaper ad. The sorrowful husband, known to the public simply as "Larry," ran a full-page ad in the front section of The Florida Times-Union asking his estranged wife to return to him. The ad department at the 160,000-circulation daily wouldn't reveal Larry's identity to a reporter for the Jacksonville, Fla., paper, but Larry did tell the reporter he resorted to the $17,000 ad after his wife of 17 1/2 years didn't respond to a gift of five dozen roses.

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