Dip Quips – Stupidity in Advertising

Dip Quips are bad ideas in various forms of advertising, where the organization using the commercial, slogan or sign hadn’t thoroughly considered what their message means.

The word “Dip” is slang for an unintelligent being or sub-standard performance.
A Quip is a witty or clever statement, often involving puns or amusing similes.

Church Signs

The more progressive churches often have witty and amusing comments on their front signs like “Staying in bed shouting ‘Oh God’ does not count as going to church” and “Having trouble sleeping – we have sermons to help”.

Don’t let worries kill you. Let the church help.
Worries shouldn’t get to have all the fun, the church wants to help kill us, too.

Accidental Innuendos
Here’s some seemingly innocent church signs that can easily be considered sexual.

  • Love doesn’t rub it in. Love rubs it out.
  • Need a change? Try a missionary position.
  • Forgiveness is swallowing when you want to spit.
  • Adult movie night – Passion of the Christ.
  • A four inch tongue can bring a six foot man to his knees.
  • Easter comes once a year. How often do you?
  • Today’s sermon – the Peter in me.

Fire Safety

I was a volunteer firefighter for twenty years before retiring due to physical disabilities. In the fire service I learned a lot about fire and safety. I am internationally certified in firefighting, vehicle rescue, instructor and safety officer, plus many more credentials. I have the fullest respect for emergency services.

Flickering and blinking lights are signs of future electrical fire.
We’ll pretend that holiday decoration lights don’t blink and decorative electronic candles don’t flicker. This is like saying rain falling on your roof is the sign of a future flood.

A failed ballast in a fluorescent fixture will often cause the light to blink and there is a chance of the failed ballast overheating; resulting in a smoke or fire condition. A nearly dead fluorescent bulb will flicker and blink too, but there is virtually no risk of fire hazard with a dead bulb.

What this dipquip fails to mention is that if there is an electronic burning odor, popping or zapping noise along with the blinking and flickering, then it is probably a symptom of a hazard. By the way – disconnecting the power source to the device is usually sufficient to prevent fire until the device can be repaired or replaced.

Working smoke detectors are the “key” to fire prevention.
No. Working smoke detectors are key to fire detection. If you’ve got smoke, you have fire – whether it is smoldering or open flame. At that point you aren’t preventing fire, you are detecting it and you need to react.

I have no idea why they put the word key in quotes.

Smoke detectors are only effective if occupants leave the building.
Perhaps this is intended to answer the philosophical discussion of “If a tree falls in the woods and there is no one around to hear it, does it make a sound?” – If no one is present in a building, then the smoke detectors will work.

Looking at the assumed real intention of this message, people should leave the building if the smoke detector(s) sounds. Absent is the fact that the cause of the alarm activation should be investigated. Is it a false alarm due to burned food or malfunctioning detector? Is it an electrical short in a device that can be simply unplugged? Or a small fire that can be easily extinguished? Evacuation is a safe choice, but it is not always the only or best choice.

One in five smoke detectors fail to work.
At a quick glance, this doesn’t say anything positive about smoke detectors – you apparently can’t rely on them. Perhaps we should install a few extra smoke detectors for redundancy, since there is a 20% failure rate.

The reality is that the “failures” are due to multiple reasons including the age of smoke detectors, improper installation or failed batteries.

  • Smoke detectors should be replaced every ten years. As they age, they become less reliable.
  • The location of a smoke detector is essential to its function. Poor placement may prevent or delay detection of smoke.
  • Replace smoke detector batteries at least annually. More frequent is best to ensure adequate electricity is present to sound the alarm for an extended period, especially for smoke detectors that have alert lights.

Smoking is the leading cause of fire death.
Smoking may be the leading contributing factor to fatal fires, and a leading cause to cancer related death, but it is not the cause of fire death. Mind you, smoke inhalation from the fire is a significant cause of death in a fire – smoking a cigarette, cigar, pipe or water is likely not going to kill you during the fire.

There are three causes of fire – men, women and children.
Being of Catholic upbringing, I’ve been told that God made man in his own image, but I’m not certain a lightning strike, sometimes referred to as an act of God, causing a fire does not qualify as being caused by a man, woman or child. Despite the contractor making a mistake however many years prior, which eventually resulted in an electrical fire, counts as being a fire caused by man, woman or child.

Ignoring the inaccuracy in the fire departments sign – since there are other causes – I can’t figure out what they are trying to say.

Smoke alarms detect fire. Sprinklers extinguish it!
For the record, some smoke detectors can detect fire, but the most common household units only detect smoke. I’m not sure the relevance of sprinklers in the statement. Smoke detectors do not trigger sprinkler systems – which is good, because we can’t afford to repair the house from water damage every time we burn something in the kitchen.

Business Slogans

Today’s Network for Tomorrow’s Business
Translation – Yesterday’s network for today’s business
A very large financial processing host used this slogan on their terminal logon screens and other communications for several years. There is nothing like promoting your outdated technology for use to operate the critical functions of your business.

Honorable Mention – God Grows It We Mows It
Ignoring the grammatical error, this is a cute slogan that deserves an honorable mention.

We’ll beat their price by XXX or it’s free
I’ve seen lots of businesses with signs and slogans that promise that if they can’t beat a competitor’s price on products, else they would give the product away. You can wager that they are not going to give the product away, that’ll be a total loss. They will beat the competitor price by the advertised amount. Of course, there is the other side of this promise – they only sell products branded by them. Nobody else sells the product, so there is no price matching necessary.

Actually there are a lot of big name stores that contract with manufacturers to make a variation of products which that store will sell themselves, and no one else can have it. Naturally, this variation will have its own model number and it will not match products sold by other companies. Now they don’t have to match or beat the price.


Dip Quips
Stupidity in advertising

Big Box Gorillas
Insurance companies can be fairly intimidating in the first place. One insurance company has a series of commercials where people are shown doing “normal” things, like hanging with family or getting a massage. The left wall of the room starts moving towards them, making the room smaller and smaller, damaging the contents of the room and presumably harming the inhabitants. The wall is part of a big blue box featuring the company name. The big insurance company crushes people’s lives.

Another insurance company starts their commercial with two guys talking in a man cave. As the conversation progresses, the man cave turns more and more into looking like the insurance company’s leisure space. This further demonstrates how this insurance company not only intrudes into its clients lives, but assimilates them.

Dishonesty in Car Sales
A rapidly growing used car chain has a commercial about dishonest car dealers lying about the down payment. While helping the victim buyer escape, their van isn’t moving because it was booted. A vehicle only gets booted when the owner doesn’t pay large value of parking and camera violation citations.1 I’m not sure I want to do business with someone that doesn’t have the integrity to pay their tickets.

Hamsters Driving Cars
For a period of a few years, an automobile manufacturer advertised their cars by having hamsters drive and ride in the cars. Although hamsters are cute little animals and are often used as pets – they are rodents like mice, voles and rats. Does the manufacturer really want to tell their prospective customers that they consider them low-life pests?

No Regerts
A candy manufacturer is promoting mistakes that occur while people are eating their candy. Including a tattoo artist incorrectly spelling a word on a tattoo and apologizes, “I’m Sorry I was Eating a …”. I guess eating that candy bar makes people stupid and careless. Perhaps it’s from the diabetic shock brought on by all that sugar.

Pay For What You Need
An insurance company advertisement has an actor who keeps flubbing his lines. The tagline for the advertisement is “Pay for what you need” – with the intention of only charging for the services which someone wants or needs, rather than paying more for services that are not needed. Let’s ignore the fact that most insurance companies let you choose the services which you are purchasing. The Dip Quip here is that they are demonstrating “You get what you pay for” – a detriment to the message the insurance company is attempting to purvey. I personally would hesitate to patronize this company, based on this commercial, because their service may be reduced as a reflection of the lower price.

T-12 isn’t anything
A mechanic is working under a car when an insurance mascot joins him under the car and asks questions. In response to one of the mascot’s questions, the mechanic says “T-12 isn’t anything.” Although your typical star-bit set comes with T4 through T10 and then increments of 5, the rare T12 certainly does exist.

I’m pretty good with comparisons
An insurance company, that often boasts about their ability to help compare rates with competitors, featured a commercial where one spokesperson is claiming to be identical to another one. The spokesperson and their “twin” are different height and hair color, with different facial structure and facial hair – even their body structure and skin tone was different; the only similarity between them is they were both male. I am not prepared to accept any insurance comparison from a company that doesn’t understand what “comparable” actual means.

Said No One Ever
As I flip through my favorite photography magazine, I am about half-way when I am approaching sickness of seeing the “Said no one ever” type advertisements – and then one occurs on the television. These were cute when someone said it once in a great while, but now advertisers, not just memes on Facebook, are putting it in their ads. Lame!

Safe Driving Discount
Another insurance company has been heavily soliciting through television commercial, lately. The spokesperson is driving the car, having a conversation with a potential customer. He’s describing all the benefits of the insurance coverage, including the disappearing deductible and discounts for safe driving. Ironically, he is looking at the passenger for extended periods of time, rather than keeping his eyes on the road. So much for safe driving.

Three “P”s
For over a year, I’ve seen a commercial for a life insurance company selling their budget policy. They offer an exclusive “Three P’s” program that is “Price you can afford”, “Price can’t increase”, and “Price that fits you budget”. Aren’t the first and third “P”s the same thing?

Other Signage

It was bound to happen, stupidity in business signage that doesn’t fall under the other categories. This section sums up the rest.

Due to possible allergic reactions please do not remove peanuts from store
The borders of this chain restaurant, that offers complimentary peanuts to its patrons, must be magickal. If the peanuts leave the store, people might have an allergic reaction to them; however, this is apparently not a problem while inside the store.


Besides the initial advertisement that inspired content within this article post; opinions, sarcasm, and similar comments expressed within this article are my own and not sponsored or influenced by other persons or organizations.

Quotes and images included within this article fall under the Fair Use guidelines provided by United States Copyright Law and Fair Dealing found within International Copyright jurisdictions.

  1. For example … New York City – $350, Philadelphia – 3 violations, Austin – 4 violations, San Francisco – 5 violations.

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