It’s February at the time of writing, so you know what that means – love is in the air. And a bunch of cringe-worthy products are beginning to line the shelves. But while they’re bad enough, there are plenty of design fails and marketing mishaps that are even worse. So, we’ve compiled a list detailing 40 Valentine’s Day disasters. Brace yourselves.
40. Engagement dinner box
Fireworks, flowers, a limo and so much more – Pizza Hut appeared to go all out with the engagement dinner box. And it cost a whopping $10,010! Though what’s the extra $10 for? Well, that’s the “dinner” part of the deal. Nothing says “I love you” like cheap pizza.
39. Valentine’s split
First off, if you’re shopping at Office Depot for a Valentine’s Day gift, you might be single by the time we hit February 15. You’re taking a huge risk! And the store isn’t really helping itself with gaffes like this one. “Show some love” indeed.
38. A night out
Valentine’s Day and romantic meals – name a more perfect combination. But the location is absolutely key. For instance, we don’t see a night at Hooters setting the right mood. Unless ten free chicken wings float your boat. What an offer!
37. ‘I death you too!’
Stuffed toys are always a big hit on Valentine’s Day. Then again, they’re not all perfect. Take this cute sloth which appeared on Reddit. He appeared to carry a rather ominous message thanks to a questionable typeface. Come to think of it, where did he get that heart?
36. Call a vet… quickly
Whoever decided to stick a pug on the front of a Valentine’s Day card deserves every raise going. It’s a great idea – just look at this little guy. He’s so cu… wait. What’s going on with his face? Why’s his tongue down there? Call a vet, stat!
35. An untimely ad
We’ve really got to hand it to Fred C. Lowther. Of all the newspaper ads to run near Valentine’s Day, he went with this one. Pretty bold thinking – wonder if he had any takers? Anyway, we can’t wait to see what he’s got planned for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
34. The ‘Sweat-Heart Sweet-Shirt’
Struggling for gift ideas ahead of Valentine’s Day? Well, you can definitely do better than this misguided monstrosity. The “Sweat-Heart Sweet-Shirt” might be an interesting play on words, but the design is a disaster. The models surely knew it, too. After all, look at their faces!
33. Valentine’s plant
On paper, a bamboo heart plant sounds like an ideal present for Valentine’s Day. It’s a bit different to a generic bunch of flowers at least. So, it’s too bad that this one appears to be pretty dead. What a sad sight!
32. Planning ahead
In your opinion, what’s the perfect gift for Valentine’s Day? A box of chocolates? Some jewelry? How about funeral preparations? Wait, what? Yes, this newspaper ad claims that your partner will be thrilled with the idea. We’re not too sure ourselves, though.
31. A tasty broken heart
Let’s be honest here: no one wants a broken heart on Valentine’s Day. But what if it’s made of chocolate like this one? Talk about a highly questionable design! Imagine buying that for your partner – or anyone for that matter.
30. Movie night
Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride, An Officer and a Gentleman – those are just some of the romantic movies from Richard Gere’s career. So of course, this store opted to stick the decidedly dark thriller Unfaithful at the front of their Valentine’s Day film stall. Top work.
29. Mixed message
“Hello love:” sure, it’s not the most creative message in the world, but we’ve seen worse. Then again, the pink heart on this glass which made its way onto Reddit really doesn’t look like an “o” – especially compared to the one below. So it seems to say “Hell love.” Not so romantic now!
28. “Will you be my McWife?”
A romantic dinner at McDonald’s might sound like a non-starter, but the fast-food chain really tried to reel couples in with this marketing campaign. It even suggested that the restaurant could be the perfect place to propose on Valentine’s Day!
27. Sample text
Now, there are potentially two explanations for this. There was either a big mess up at the printers, or a certain Mrs. Sample Text got the personalized message she wanted for Valentine’s Day. They’re both plausible. Anyway, look at those cute owls!
26. ‘This isn’t lingerie!’
We imagine that the Nakshatra diamonds company must get pretty busy around Valentine’s Day. Mind you, with ads like this, there are bound to be a few confused customers. Earrings laid out like lingerie? What’s going on here? Stick to the diamonds guys – leave the marketing to someone else.
25. Questionable compliment
Design fails are one thing, yet this a bona fide design disaster. Who in their right mind would buy a Valentine’s gift with the words “You smell” plastered on the front? Sure, this packaging uploaded on Instagram then says “Sugar sweet” underneath, but it’s too late. Plus, it’s a puzzle. Doesn’t scream romance, does it?
24. Romance and grammar
How hard can it be to create a banner spelling “love” for Valentine’s Day? Well, it’s a tricky task if this effort posted onto Reddit is anything to go by. Maybe they ran out of v’s? Or could this be the latest bit of text speak? “Laugh out loud everyone.” Yeah, let’s stick with that.
23. ‘Roaches are forever’
Sponsoring a wild animal is a pretty cool idea, right? We wouldn’t say no to that as a Valentine’s Day gift. But naming a cockroach after your partner? What kind of present is that?! And for $10 no less! The Bronx Zoo should go back to the drawing board on that one.
22. The perfect card
At first glance, this Valentine’s Day card is a grammatist’s nightmare. But what if the designer found a way to make this message possible through a time paradox? Yeah, give that some thought. Doesn’t excuse the misspelling of “you,” though.
21. A tight fit
As Valentine’s Day approaches, you’ll see more and more signs advertising it at your local stores. Yet this one which was posted onto Reddit could honestly use some work. Just look at it! Oh well, at least they had 11 days to fix the jumble.
20. Stick to watches
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before, but doesn’t an upturned heart resemble a butt? Ah, you have. Someone should tell Swatch that this Valentine’s Day campaign isn’t all that clever, then. Sorry guys! Better luck next year.
19. ‘Did you read this?’
As an idea, a Valentine’s eye chart sounds like it could be a pretty sweet gift. Too bad this was the result. Sure, the message itself is fine enough, yet that second line is a killer. Do you really want to give your partner anything with the word “ho” on it?!
18. ‘Fancy a hug?’
The Bear Hugs Mugs range should’ve been a big hit at this shop, but what’s going on here? That really doesn’t look like an arm. In truth, this Valentine’s cup wouldn’t be out of place on the top shelf at a very different store.
17. The Adults Meal
You’ve all heard of the McDonald’s Happy Meal right? Well, how about the Burger King Adults Meal? It even comes with its own toys! Mind you, as the name suggests, kids should go nowhere near it. Thank goodness they’re not sold by the same chain, then – imagine the potential mix-ups.
16. That’s no heart
If you like listening to music with your partner, then earphone splitters could be the perfect Valentine’s Day gift. This one’s even shaped like a heart… or is it? Given the angle you’d need to plug it in, it resembles something else. And the color? Oof. That’s no heart!
15. A timeless message
Baked goods and Valentine’s Day – it’s a combination that works pretty well. And it is even better if you can add a personalized message. But the store here made an x-rated slip-up with this giant cookie. Sort your s’s out, people.
14. ‘You got me what?!’
Oh, crabs. We feel for this poor crustacean. Imagine if you shared a name with pubic lice. The association alone would be soul-destroying. We think Little Critters Pets is selling the former for a cut-price here. Well, we sure hope so.
13. Put out a hit
A Valentine’s Day sale at the local store sounds like a good idea. So, it’s too bad this was the marketing they went with. And what’s actually being advertised here? You’d be forgiven for thinking it was a hitman’s newspaper ad. “High prices are rubbed out” indeed.
12. Unromantic rental car
We don’t know about you, but we’re never using a Thrifty rental car again after seeing this advert. Yes, the company seemed to actively encourage couples to get busy in their borrowed vehicles on Valentine’s Day. Let’s hope the interior gets scrubbed when they come back!
11. That’s a lot of meat
At this supermarket, giving your Valentine meat takes on a whole different meaning. Stop sniggering back there! Yep, huge pieces of steak were packed together in heart-shaped containers to mark the occasion. That’s the romantic dinner sorted, anyway. What’s for dessert?
10. ‘Are you trying to tell me something?’
If you just so happened to visit this store while searching for a Valentine’s Day present, we hope you didn’t walk down this particular aisle. “Gifts your love will love”? Pah! You’d be spending the rest of your life sleeping on the sofa. And that’s a best-case scenario.
9. Words are hard
Pillows might not be the most traditional Valentine’s Day gift, but an accompanying romantic message could score you a lot of brownie points. Unless, of course, you bought this particular cushion – brought to us by a Reddit user. Even the model’s laughing at it! Talk about a grammar fail.
8. ‘Get a room Cupid!’
Much like Christmas and Easter, Valentine’s Day has its own commercial figurehead as well. Of course, we’re referring to Cupid. The little cherub is everywhere in February! Yet in this case, that’s not a good thing. What’s he doing to that heart?! Look away kids.
7. ‘I’ll just have a sandwich, thanks’
Yes, Subway sandwiches are delicious, but some of the chain’s workers could learn a thing or two about wordplay. In this instance, they went all in on the low-hanging fruit to mark Valentine’s Day. Let’s hope customers didn’t get the wrong idea.
6. For the single ladies
Single on Valentine’s Day? Well, a Tescos shop pushed the boundaries of suggestion by marking up a box of cucumbers for the event. Take a look at this shot uploaded by a Reddit user, and just imagine the looks you’d get for picking one of these veggies up. “I’m making a salad at home, honest!” Of course you are…
5. That’s a heart?
A Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup in the shape of a heart? Sign us up! That’s Valentine’s Day sorted for this year. Unfortunately, this particular product didn’t look the part at all. In fact, its shape resembled something else entirely. How romantic.
4. Take a hint… or not
IKEA’s marketing and advertisements are usually on point, yet this newspaper ad was rather questionable. A free crib for every baby born nine months after Valentine’s Day?! Talk about an unsubtle hint. And imagine the conversations. “Sorry we need to go home, we’ve got a deadline to hit for November.”
3. Naughty squirrel
Look at this squirrel in this pic posted on Twitter – it’s so adorable! And it comes with a box of chocolates. The perfect Valentine’s Day gift, right? Well, not quite. Read the message on the box. Oh Walmart. Using that word in that context has a very different meaning!
2. ‘What a beautiful gorill… oh’
A “Musical Valentine Pal.” Sure, we can dig it. The gorilla’s particularly cool. Hang on. Is something protruding from that heart? At a certain angle it looks like… oh dear. For clarity it’s actually a propeller, but the design is awful!
1. Special offer
Looking for a good deal on your Valentine’s Day dinners? Porn’s might be the place for you. Yes, it’s a real place. Anyway, a Reddit user saw this banner outside the restaurant one year with a list of special offers. Half-price if you eat with your wife and girlfriend?! Do they pay for the hospital treatment after?