Here are the most irritating ads from the last 15 years

Bang! And the dirt is… “Aaaaaargh! Leave me alone”

Since ITV launched in 1955, television ads have been infiltrating homes, manipulating minds and warping desires.

The Holy Grail for advertisers is coming up with a simple idea that gnaws its way into society’s collective unconscious like a parasitic maggot.

One minute you’re thinking, “hmm, I could really do with cleaning my house”, and the next minute, literally all you can think of is a shouty man huffing “Bang! And the dirt is gone!”

That’s the maggot in your brain. That’s the insidious and magical effect of advertising.

Now, revealed for the first time in a study undertaken by Toluna for car purchasing company The Car Buying Service is the list of the top 10 offenders from the past 15 years.

So prepare yourself for a journey through a nightmare world of consumer despair.

10 Hive – Active heating (2014)

In at number 10 is a hellish vision of what the future of existence may hold. Elephants using taxis as roller skates, making origami from a slice of beef pastrami – it’s a psychedelic drug come-down in irritating rhyming couplets. But then, how interesting can you really make a thermostat?

9 Boots – Here come the girls (2007)

This one isn’t that bad actually. Oh wait, except for the shameless portrayal of women as make-up obsessed thieves. They’re stealing one another’s make-up, fighting for space to preen themselves in mirrors, and dangerously overloading electrical sockets to run their hair driers and straightening irons. This is all occurring as part of a build-up to an office Christmas party. Meanwhile, the men are eating tiny shrivelled cocktail sausages and wearing miserable old shirts and ties. Gender stereotypes eh? A sure-fire way to sell anything.

8 (2009)

Wow. This one is just a banging hard-house dance refrain with execrable graphics. Watch it once, it’s not that great. Watch five times, and it’s a wonder you haven’t ripped your own head off.

Nonetheless, the effectiveness of the jingle cannot be under-estimated. I literally can’t think of anyone else who I could sell my car to. Oh wait, I haven’t even got a car! That makes it 100% more irritating than it already was.

7 HotelsForYou – Anything for you cupcake (2013)

Staying in a hotel with your partner is considered by many to be one of life’s supreme luxuries. Here it has been reduced to a lurid tropical catastrophe by way of Birmingham. A couple wearing what can’t be graced with the term “clothes”, are deciding where to stay. The woman is particularly picky, while the accommodating husband replies “anything for yow cupcake”, to every preposterous whim she utters. Luckily, it makes up for some of the sexism and snobbery by being quite funny, once. But please, let’s burn this from the surface of the earth.

6 Halifax ISA ISA Baby (2010)

After Halifax mega-star Howard shot to global acclaim following a turn in a musical ad, the company has been trying to repeat its success. This attempt is a spectacular failure. “ISA sounds a bit like ice” must have been what the geniuses at the ad company thought. What song has “ice” in the title? This is piddle.

5 – Compare the Meerkat (2009)

Respect where respect is due – insurance is incredibly dull and meerkats are not. After having this astounding revelation, the ad company then let itself down by making the resultant advert eye-gougingly annoying. But its effectiveness did lead to a spate of reprehensible fools using the word “simples”, after they explained anything. You can’t argue with that in terms of brand awareness.

4 Gladstone Brookes – PPI Compensation (2014)

“The banks have set aside millions for PPI compensation, but you’ve still done nothing about it,” begins the smug git in this patronising and misleading ad. The company behind this dross looks like they could’ve done with a bit of money themselves. This is a low-budget affair, which does nothing to instil confidence in the viewer. On the plus side, the advertising standards authority pulled this one because of some of the claims made. Good job.

3 Cillit Bang – Barry Scott (2007)

This advert is basically just a man shouting in a kitchen. “Hi I’m Barry Scott,” he yells, “and I’m here with Jill, who uses Cillit Bang Grime and Lime.” The bizarre combination of words is almost sexual, but that is destroyed by the sheer sterility of the scene. There’s no love here. It’s all about killing. Killing germs, and exterminating lime scale.

2 Wonga – Puppets (2012)

This one quite rightly got people’s goat, due to the use of puppets which, it is claimed, made the pay-day loan merchant appeal to children. In addition to this controversy, the puppets themselves are hideous caricatures of senior citizens. Get them off the screen.

1. Go Compare – Gio Compario Coffee Shop (2009)

I just feel sorry for everyone involved in this advert, as well as for those who’ve suffered horribly when it’s burst from the television. You can’t make buying insurance exciting, no matter how much opera and wiggly moustaches you bundle together. Perhaps this is why this one is the worst – it’s a crushing vision of the sheer desperation for attention that companies today have.

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