Worst Product Design & Print Advertisement Of The 21st Century

What Are They Selling?

Phallic perfume bottle ad Donna Karan

There is subliminal advertising. Then there is the advertising trying to be subliminal, yet it’s not. It’s a step above subliminal, painfully obvious and the equivalent of blunt force trauma.

It hits so hard that if you turn the page without stopping, you will stop and say “wait a second, what did I just see?” And then turn back a page to double-check.

No, this product shown above is not from the Adam and Eve sex catalog.

I’m not quite sure which magazine this ad appeared in possibly Vogue or an in-flight magazine.  It ran sometime in the early to mid-2000s.

When I saw it, I tore it out, saying to myself this has to be a joke no one would believe this.

Donna Karan phallic perfume ad

Donna Karan Phallic Perfume bottle ad text (click to enlarge –  no pun intended.)

But it’s real. I folded it up showed it to a few friends. Then I saved it in my shoebox full of oddities with the funny poem, the wooden nickel and a mood ring. While cleaning this week up I came upon the shoebox. Emptying it out, I unfolded the glossy paper and said to myself this has to be shared with a wider audience.

The ad is for a bottle of perfume made by Donna Karan. And it’s called?

“Heart to Heart.” No kidding. Maybe I’m crazy but I don’t see any aortas or ventricles here.  A more appropriate name would have been, “Richard and the Twins” or “Pecker Nuts.”

Did the product designer have a dual purpose in mind?

The question is would any woman want to pull this phallic symbol out of their handbag?  In public?

The ad says supplies were limited.

15 or so years later after the perfume came out, a quick search of the internet revealed no photos of this bottle. So either the perfume was a failure or a secret treasured keepsake for the few lucky enough to own it.

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