AdVent - best horrible line wins!

We've all been there, when your client or boss says something incredibly stupid in he heat of the moment.
Lines like "What's the latest I can approve this and still have it ASAP?". Classics like "Perfect! See changes." and such - well Jim from and myself want you to AdVent!
Tell us the stupidest lines you've ever heard, and get a chance to win a 20pack from Jewelboxing, the professional-grade, short-run DVD/CD packaging system.

Best two stupidest lines win a 20pack from Jewelboxing- so you can make a great looking send-off portfolio or reel and get the heck out of that agency. ;)

The best (of the worst!) two lines will be judged by Jim Coudal and Myself on the 9th of Feb - That's Monday in two weeks folks. Get your advent on and tell us what the stupidest thing you ever heard was. To participate, simply leave a comment with the lines. I'll email the chosen two, make you sure to check your mail on Monday the 9th.

Everyone wins, as everyone who enters will receive something!

Adland® is supported by your donations alone. You can help us out by buying us a Ko-Fi coffee.
Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
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tlevitz's picture

I feel guilty about this as these were nice people but, what the hey.

My old agency was hiring a designer and the process was frustrating (including one who said her design school "didn't teach page layout programs" after I asked her why she set a job in system fonts and used faux bolds and italics; then she couldn't figure out why stuff was defaulting).

The CD had insisted the recruitment ad include something to the effect of "grasp of spatial relations a must." Enter the candidate who went through the requirements and addressed the spatial relations issue by saying:

"I get along with everybody."

AnonymousCoward's picture

We do allot of work for Christian org's...

"It's only Jesus and money"

"We want something uplifting... You know, like Jesus on the cross!"

AnonymousCoward's picture

If you want to be a good graphic designer you have to learn to use spell check!

AnonymousCoward's picture

Actually, the phrase was "You're as quick as a tack!", ooooops, sorry.

AnonymousCoward's picture

After over-using my Mousing Hand to the point of numbness, I explained to my boss of 5 years I would like to take Workers' Comp and let things heal.At the suggestion he commented, "Yeah, but you could still work though. I mean 'they' don't have to know!"I quit the same day.

AnonymousCoward's picture

I had spent countless hours of laborious keyframing and tweening for an overly complicated flash intro that the client insisted they have, once I got the stupid intro done I made it transition into the main page of the site with a photo of the CEO on the main page and a few paragraphs of "lorem ipsum dolor sit amet" next to it. It was probably some of the best work Id ever done and I couldnt wait to show the client so I called him on the phone a few minutes after I sent him a link to the site.

"Hey what does this paragraph say?"
"Its in latin, it doesnt mean anything, now about the site..."
"Hold on my brother speaks latin let me call you back."

AnonymousCoward's picture

My boss' boss was asking if something ridiculous could be done by the end of the day, I glanced to my boss for a nod of approval and his boss says "I don't give a fuck what ----- thinks."

AnonymousCoward's picture

In the heat of anger sometimes phrases get jumbled, such is the case here......"You're as quick as tack!" (It really happened, won't be lived down too easily either)

AnonymousCoward's picture

"Too complicated. We need to beat them [the customer] over the head with the 2x4 of simplicity."

AnonymousCoward's picture

"don't use black for our website because it takes longer to load"

when part of a newsletter had greeked text fpo, the client called and said, "could we see the whole thing in English?"

AnonymousCoward's picture

A few year back, my grandfather was dying and I'd told my boss to expect me to be taking berevement time in the next couple weeks.

About 2 weeks later on a Monday morning I receive a phone call at work that he had passed away. I book a ticket to fly up to Iowa that evening (Jewish funerals are next day), and tell my boss that I will be gone until Friday. First, he acts surprised, like he had no idea this was coming. Then he tells berevement is only 1 day. I remind him that the employee handbook says it's 3 days for immediate family, which includes grandparents. He then tells me that he only took 1 day when his grandfather passed away. I repeate that nonetheless the policy is 3 days.

He storms off to HR or the office director's, and comes back a few minutes later and mumbles something about that it is 3 days, but I can't leave early today. Now the only direct flight to Iowa is at 6pm, and flights connecting through Chicago or St. Louis would be logistical nightmares with the risk of missing the funeral, so I don't have much of a choice in the matter and tell him so. He then storms off to his office and mutters loud enough for me to hear, "Our billability this month will be shot to hell!"

Oh, the compassion! My grandfather just died and all he's concerned with is billable hours!

AnonymousCoward's picture

Project Coordinator to Web Designer:
Can you make the following changes?
Web Designer makes changes...
Project Coordinators response:
That's terrible! Do you want me to reassign it?

AnonymousCoward's picture

Another new word:

Client: "Can you enlargen that? And make it red?" He asked that just about every time I showed him something. Okay, so maybe I did make things a little small and blue on purpose just to get a good laugh later on.

AnonymousCoward's picture

AD tells AE that "We can't run our new ads in the Superbowl because we don't want them to get lost in the clutter."

Robblink's picture

Boss: I don't like the way this is written.
Me: I got the language from the client's website.
Boss: I knew that!
Of course she didn't.

AnonymousCoward's picture

OK, this is the God's honest truth. I have the emai in my inbox to prove it:


Yes, in all caps. Come on people, that's a winner.

AnonymousCoward's picture

Made-up word alert..

"Can we change the opaqueticity on that?"

AnonymousCoward's picture

"Vacation time? You get weekends off, what's the problem?"

serious statement from boss when reviewing our vacation policy

brandonbarr's picture

At her previous agency, my wife Trudy was in a strategy meeting with her supervisor, two executive creative directors, the media director and the president of the agency. This was before we were married, so she was still "Trudy Loper". She had been at the agency a year or so and worked with everyone in the room a lot.

Anyway, they met for about an hour and half on Trudy's main account, a DTC pharm client. As they were winding up the meeting and preparing another followup meeting, the president of the company looked at his datebook and asked loudly:

"Trudy LOPEZ? Who in the hell is TRUDY LOPEZ?!?!?"

The two creative directors hit the floor laughing as my wife sheepishly rose her hand.

junyr's picture

I build Web sites as a hobby. I'm not bad, but not professional. I have taken classes and understand schemes and what fonts and ideas not to do. Like wise, I have seen many of the same problems ("Can I have this and this and that and this as a seperate link from the main page?," "I like it, but the color and the design is all wrong, oh and so is the text," etc.) but many are for free.

My favorite though is the gentlemen friend of mine (whom I'm working pro bono for) who asked me for a green and red design with white text. Not a dark green or maroon, but a bright kelly green and cherry red. He then had the balls to ask why it looked so christmas when I presented him the proof.

AnonymousCoward's picture

Overheard walking past a designers desk:

"I am not branding it! I am giving language that speaks to it as a gift set!"

(not so much stupid... but a horrible example of overused design clich

AnonymousCoward's picture

Comment from the legal department on an advertisment layout containing the Yin/Yang symbol:

Did we design this graphic here or buy the usage rights?"
brandonbarr's picture

More from Trudy:

After a client meeting, where the client briefed us on 5 projects, AE asked: So if you had to prioritize, which project would be first.
Client: They're all top priority!

AE: So when's this project due?
Client: ASAP, but after (insert project), (insert project), (insert project), and (insert project). Can I see first drafts tomorrow?

Client: We need three weeks to route the flash pages.
AE: And we've got less than two to create them?

Programmer (day project is due): I just want to let you know that the timeline on this project was too tight.
AE: All I did was assign dates to the schedule you gave me. Then, I gave you a week to approve it.
Programmer: It was still too tight.
AE: (storms out of room)

Acct Dir (March): We're going to list you as an AE in the new business pitch. That's where we see you going anyway.
ME (in account coordinator days): Okay.
Acct Dir (Sept): We're working on your promotion.
ME: Too late. Another agency just gave it to me.

AnonymousCoward's picture

"Why dont you just start over, but do just as good of a job as the first."

Written on paper: "A+ Revise."

AnonymousCoward's picture

"Why dont you just start over, but do just as good of a job as the first."

AnonymousCoward's picture

My boss wanted to me print our logo on clear stickers, so she can stick it to these cheap black promo folders. "Just print our logo in white on these clear labels by 2:00." A simple task. As I explain that printing in WHITE isn't going to work, her answer "Get the printer tech to add more white ink and get it done!"

AnonymousCoward's picture

While receiving changes to a self-promotional brochure, the President of the agency tells me "It needs to POP more, try using 100% magenta, more exclamation points and add at least two starbursts. That should do it."

Sure, magenta on yellow really makes a statement. Don't hire us!

AnonymousCoward's picture

In Nov. 2002, my company (a dot com electronics retailer) laid off about 50% of the employees right before we launched a major addition to our website. So the day before Thanksgiving we have an all company meeting where they thank us for "hanging in there" through the tough times and launching the new additions to the site.

To thank us, they present each of us with MP3 players. The then CEO then proceeds to tell us how "---____, the portable audio merchant got a great deal on 10,000 of them at 3 cents a piece."

Wow! The dedication and attempts to keep morale up for the entire company was worth less than a McDonald's Value Meal.

adrants's picture

Agency makes big presentation to supposedly big client. At the end of presentation, client says, "I only have $5,000." To which agency exec responds, "I can't take a shit for $5,000."

AnonymousCoward's picture

AE: Can you make the guy on the cover look more like a data manager? Maybe you could put some glasses on him or something.

AnonymousCoward's picture

We had a lunch meeting in a boardroom at the first ad agency I worked at. A director of our department, who I'd not yet met, was to join us. He was late. So we started eating.

When he finally arrived, my creative director boss introduced me to the director. I had a sandwich in my left hand, so from my seat I held out my right and we shook hands, to which he responded:

"You should stand when you shake my hand. I am me."

What that means, I still don't really know. "I am me?"

AnonymousCoward's picture

While working as a copywriter for a discount stock brokerage firm's in-house ad department, I asked the marketing manager (the owner's daughter), who the firm's target audience was.

Her reply, "We feel that everyone is in our target market, because everyone invests."


First of all, not everyone invests. Do poor people invest? Even many middle class or wealthy folks don't bother to invest.

Second, it was a 'discount' stockbrokerage firm. Many millionaires would never consider putting their money with a discount firm, but prefer to stick with big names like Merril Lynch.

Third, is there a product or service out there in which 'everyone' is the target market?

The company was OLDE Discount Stockbrokerage. They went belly up due to too many lawsuits against them. H&R Block bought them out in '99.

AnonymousCoward's picture

While employed as an in-house designer for a telecommunications giant, I was tasked with a quickie shirt design for the international marketing department. The design centered on a mercator globe because I had to show every country where we conducted (or hoped to conduct) business. The head of the international marketing group reviewed the design, and his honest to god comment was:

"Looks great, but can you make Africa smaller? We don't do a lot of business there."

Ok, one more, same job, but this time the quote is from my boss (while devouring her birthday cake), after I had worked there for 3 years...

"When's your birthday? You've had a birthday since you've worked here, haven't you?"

AnonymousCoward's picture

During a planning meeting:

"But it's not just a tax center. It should be a Disney Land tax center."

*blank stares*

AnonymousCoward's picture

This one takes the biscuit for me though.....we requested a quote from a printer to quote us on a calendar we were producing, and we sent out our January month through to them as an example of what we wanted and said "price us up a calendar based on that"..........they came back to us and gave us a VERY VERY good price which we agreed and had the Calendars all printed when they rang us (after Printing) to say, "we had only quoted you on January!!!".......because we all know there is only 1 month in a calendar year isn't there!.......thats why the years are going so fast!.......classic u must agree

AnonymousCoward's picture

one of the best I got, was a client really freaking out for weeks on end that she couldn't view the website we designed and uploaded for her, she said (yelled) "when i type my company name in the box at the top it doesn't go anywhere, yet if i type google in there, that appears!"

When i went to see what she was flapping her gums about, to my amusement it was the fact that she was typing her company name (spaces and everything) directly into the browser address bar.....hence no finding of the ADDRESS!...."but google works!"...yes thats right!!!!.....tut tut

Dabitch's picture

aw, man, no man! sick freaking sunofa-botch. dangit. idiot. what a bad boss.
clueless would be the word.

Robblink's picture

This conversation took place a few years ago....

Me: So, how did you like the Superbowl commercials this year?

Creative Director: Nah, didn't watch them......

brenthahn's picture

"Make it more real... like 'Close Encounters.'"


caffeinegoddess's picture

AE: What is this huge stack of papers?
CW: Those are the mechanicals.
AE: Oh.

made me laugh anyway

caffeinegoddess's picture

AE: The client loved it.
Me: That's great.
AE: They'd just like to change the line. And the visual.
Me: That's all?

AnonymousCoward's picture

CD to copywriter: "I'd like your headline if it were smart."
AE to creative team: "Let's get together to discuss our approach before we meet to plan next week's meeting."

alex's picture

Client (on seeing brochure visual): I like it, but could you put a little more design into it?

Holger Wilcks's picture

Situation: Meeting with the Marketing Manager of our supermarket client.

Task: Ads for the grand opening of a new supermarket.

The USP for the supermarket was, that they had special substores: A baker, a deli, a cheese stall, a fish stall, a butcher etc.

Supermarket Marketing Manager Guy had one comment about the copy: "Could we delete the word 'cheese', it has such negative connotations!"

AnonymousCoward's picture

Client - I trust you, but how can you guarantee that this will work?

AnonymousCoward's picture

New Client- "I want something fresh and hip. Something that nobody has seen before... Like Fight Club."

AnonymousCoward's picture

Don't cha just hate clients who want to squeeze as much information as possible into a print ad to the point that the core message is lost in rubbish info!

Client : But there is still lots of white space around the margins.
Me : How about I fill your room with furniture and you climb,crawl,squeeze your way to your desk...that is if you find your desk!

The ad ran with a further 50% reduction in the original copy.

AnonymousCoward's picture

Another one:
Boss (of a Belgian agency): The artist Folon is World-famous here in Belgium!

EliasVail's picture

We were waiting for a courier to pick up a package to deliver across town. The boss said, "What time is the 2:00 pickup?"

AnonymousCoward's picture

I have a client who is a commitment phobic.

It would be a nightmare getting him to signoff on projects. Having said that he would want the agency to proceed with the projects prior to sign off. So on one occasion I locked him in the conference room, handcuffed him to the chair and slipped the stack of cost estimates infront of him. He sat there amused at first coyly stating "I am not sure about signing off on these estimates at this stage?".

To that, I dangled the keys to the handcuffs under his nose and said, "Take your time and think this over. Afterall, the more time I spend waiting for you to decide is the more time I clock into my timesheets against your account!".

He signed off all of the estimates and miraculously his commitment phobic nature disappeared.

Robblink's picture

For my money, I think the TFA story's the best one so far!

Creative Director to Copywriter: If you don't come in on Sunday, don't bother coming in on Monday. (He was joking, but only slightly).

Art Director talking to the Agency President in the men's bathroom, standing by the urinals.
AD: Hey, great new business pitch, huh? We did really good work. I think we're really going to win the account.
AP: What the fuck do you know about advertising?

The art director has been working there for three years.

Female Media Director commenting on an Assistant Media Planner's mini-skirt: I have underwear that's longer than that skirt!

Female Associate Media Director commenting on an Account Manager's mini-shirt: That skirt looks more like a hankerchief.
Me: Achoo!

Sputnik_Barconi's picture

(The following is written in present-tense, but obviously isn't referring to my current employer - Heavens to Betsy no! It's about a different guy, in a different place and a different time. Yeah. That's the ticket.)

Our boss is dangerously colour-blind, yet for some inexplicit reason adores full colour ads in the local newspaper ($ perhaps?).

He also hates hates hates it when we do a black and white ad.


"Because the black plate'll shift and knock everything out of register."

We've tried to carefully and tactfully correct him on his thinking, but he's a hardwired and defensive sum'bitch who goes into either spaz or "cut direct" mode before our words have a chance to take effect.

So nowadays, to make work life easier for ourselves, we just reassure him that with today's cutting-edge newspaper press technology, the white plate will shift right along with the black plate, keeping everything in the b/w ad crisp and clean.


AnonymousCoward's picture

When working at a big PR agency, I had a Sr. VP on an account for a major computer/software company tell me to set up a new directory to house a newsletter hosted on one of our domains when we made some last minutes edits.

She made me do this because some people from the client had seen the less than final version, and they were "importantant people who we can't be telling them to reload their browser!" to see the final version. I tried to explain that I simply meant to hit the reload/refresh button on the top of the browser window--not reinstalling software--but she just didn't get it.

AnonymousCoward's picture

"Make this part purplier."

I love invented words. {sigh}

adrants's picture

Part of above comment. After agency exec says, "I can't take a shit for $5,000," client shoots back, "What does TFA (name of agency) stand for, the three fuckin assholes? (three agencu execs were present)"

AnonymousCoward's picture

"If you're going to do something for free, you might as well get something out of it."

Dabitch's picture

It's gonna be hard to top that "black jumps out of register"-idiocy but I gotta try (this is making me laugh so much by the way, all the comments are ace!).

After me, and the rest of the all-female team have finished presenting the neato female targeted campaign shilling a femme-product, full of injokes only adult females would understand the male client says:

"I don't think the target will understand this, I mean, I don't get it, and I have a girlfriend."

(naturally, he opted for simple chocolate ice-cream craving gag we've all heard to death in the end, but that's another sad story.)

AnonymousCoward's picture

My top 2.

I was working for a major motion picture studio at the time and was having lunch with a group of highly paid executive women, who can be best described by the types of cars they drove, all large black SUV's. They were talking about how they all saw the movie 8 Mile over the weekend.

"It just showed me how even poor people in bad areas can solve their problems by singing"

The other one was a similar client who wanted more for her website

"Can you give it a little more of this?"
Then she started rapidly opening and closing her hands in mid-ar.

AnonymousCoward's picture

Client: When you present, you know, the ads always look so nice on the black boards.
Me: Yes, well, that's how ads are usually being presented.
Client: Well, then let's actually *print* them with a thick black border in the magazines!
Me: (speechless)

aiiobo's picture

oh my god, that's the dumbest thing I have ever heard.
my agency suddenly looks great to me, after reading all these horror stories.

Robblink's picture

Boss: (frustrated after a few unsuccessful tries) How do I use this fax machine?
Me: You have to press "9" before the fax number to dial out and you place the fax face down in the machine.
Boss: Yeah, I knew all that. I just wanted to be 100% sure.

alex's picture

Just back from a meeting, where the following exchange occured:

AE: I'm not quite happy with the design. Could you tweak it a bit for me?
Me: In what way?
AE: I think it should look more corporate.
Me: But they haven't got a corporate syle yet.
AE: I know that.
Me: So what do you mean?
AE: It needs to look more corporate.
Me: In what way?
AE: You know. Clean and corporate.
Me: Clean? You think this looks dirty?
AE: Now you're being difficult. It needs to look clean and corporate.
Me: When you say 'clean' what are you seeing in your mind?
AE: White space.
Me: Right. So by 'clean' you mean you want more white space. Okay, can we cut the copy down?
AE: No.
Me: Drop the point size?
AE: No. They want it in 10pt.
Me: Then I can't give you more white space.
AE: But that's what I want. It needs to be cleaner and more corporate. Why don't you try using a sans serif font for the copy? That might make it more coporate.


claymore's picture

LOL. The mystery of el facsimile machino was more widespread that you might think. Back in the mid 90s, I worked the graveyard shift at Kinko's to supplement my meager freelance income (and work on my projects during the night, since I didn't own a computer at the time - hey, it was North Dakota). My favorite two incidents were 1) the bloke who wanted to send his fax double-sided to save on the transmission charge, and 2) the marketing graduate who insisted that I send her resume so that it would come out on the other side on resume paper (recycled grey cotten linen, if I remember correctly).

And while I'm at it, off-topic and all, you couldn't help but love the old school Kinko's customers who wanted their originals mimeographed, correlated, duplexed, dittoed, or insisted that I give them the carbons from the copy process, for security purposes. Oy.

michielk's picture

AD (me): "It's not a space, it's a gap."

If art directors can't laugh at themselves, who can they laugh at? I mean other than clients, CDs and AEs.

AnonymousCoward's picture

Thought of one more: the boss who was okaying the final copy of an e-newsletter by reading it in Notepad. She kept calling me and saying that she only had the first part and that "the words (were) running off of the screen".

After several frustrated phone calls, I freed myself up from the task at hand to physically go to her office, where she repeated herself and pointed to the air to the right of her screen.

She didn't have the Word Wrap feature turned on, so she could only see the first line of the text.

I had to bang my head against the wall after that one. She would also try to click and edit web pages as if they were Word documents and get really frustrated that she couldn't edit the Web. Why couldn't she type over a word if she clicked on it?!

AnonymousCoward's picture

From another job: I had a boss who was in her fifties who, when she wanted me to fax something for her, would say, "Make a copy of this and then fax it, will you?"

I think she really imagined that faxes traveled by osmosis or something, so you'd better keep a copy since the faxed copy turned into a million tiny particles so it could travel to the recipient!

AnonymousCoward's picture

From the idiot boss: "Does anyone know if there's FILM in the digital camera?"

CaptainBOB's picture

Let's see stupidist thing my boss has ever said to me would probably have to be "Well, ok Chad, when can you start?"

AnonymousCoward's picture

Sad but true.

We have a client whose name is S. Blow and he was in the process of testing our creative and DM strategy skills so he would feed us with several smallish projects.

At a end of year account planning meeting our head of department comments in respect to this account - "When are we going to get a proper blow job!!!!".

AnonymousCoward's picture

My boss (seriously) : "That logo looks pretty good! Just put a box around it and you're done."
Me: *sob*