No wonder U.S. stars don't want their foreign commercials seen in America. Kim Cattrall went from HBO's "Sex and the City" to tea bags in this truly awful U.K. spot for Tetley tea. In the ad, by London shop Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy, Cattrall consults her British `Auntea' on how to get a man, and strokes a packet of Earl Grey tea suggestively.
2. Unilever's Lux in the City
Further cashing in on "Sex and the City," Unilever re-launched Lux soap in Europe last spring with a banal spot from J. Walter Thompson coinciding with the airing of the show's final episodes. After showering with Lux, a woman avoids a line at a club by hopping into a limo and emerging as Sarah Jessica Parker, whose only appearance is a quick prance down the red carpet.
3. Subway upsets `fat' America
"Why are Americans so fat?" asked this German promotion for fast food chain Subway, as part of a movie tie-in with the McDonald's-bashing documentary "Super Size Me." And why is a U.S. company so unpatriotic? demanded enraged Americans. Subway International pulled the campaign, including a fat Statue of Liberty holding a bag of fries, a week later.
4. Audi graduates to Hoffman
This re-creation of the end of "The Graduate" is the best use of a U.S. celebrity in a foreign commercial this year. In a spot from Saatchi & Saatchi, Frankfurt, Dustin Hoffman once again rescues the young bride. As they drive away laughing in an Audi 6, she says "Thanks, Dad" and he replies "You're just like your mother."
5. Sony Corp.'s non-PC station
Don't try this non-politically-correct stunt in the U.S. Whybin/ TBWA and Sony Corp. introduced the "slim-line new look" PlayStation2 game console in New Zealand by dispatching two dwarves, Selwyn and Rotha, to ambush 11 major radio stations. Kiwis took notice: PlayStation sales after the stunt were eight times higher than the previous week.
6. `El Pais' towering ad error
Even Spaniards were appalled by their biggest newspaper. El Pais` ad campaign in September used before-and-after 9/11 shots of the World Trade Center to promote three months of free access to elpais.com. The copy read "A lot can happen in a day. Imagine what can happen in three months." El Pais printed a page-one apology.
7. Pepsi's battling pop stars
In the "Gladiator" spot, Britney Spears, Beyonce and Pink were supposed to battle to the death in Rome's Coliseum before evil emperor Enrique Iglesias. Instead, they drop weapons and sing "We will rock you." The crowd cheers and a lion eats Iglesias. The AMV BBDO, London, spot was rumored to be breaking in the U.S. on the Super Bowl but ran only in Europe.
8. Aniston for Barclay's Bank
Bored with the celebrity life, Jennifer Aniston, who is inexplicably living in a London flat, crawls through an opening under the kitchen sink and finds herself in a pottery studio. She uses her Barclay's Bank Barclaycard to pay for a pottery lesson and clay flies all over. Bartle Bogle Hegarty, London, captures the personality of her "Friends" character Rachel in this U.K. spot.
Carter Products and London's Viral Factory invented the Trojan Games, a sexual Olympics depicted at trojangames.co.uk. The three videos purporting to cover the vault, judo, and weight lifting events as a form of sexual coupling at the fictitious 2003 Bucharest Olympics won gold at the real Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.
10. Virgin goes the extra inch
Virgin Mobile's idea of an attention-grabbing way to demonstrate its commitment to customer service was a U.K. commercial in which a lavatory attendant in a swanky nightclub unzips a man's fly and then holds his penis while he urinates. This spot by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/ Y&R, London, holds the U.K. record for most complaints.