Boring billboards, awkward song and dance routines and random hashtags – who hasn’t seen an advert at some point that they feel they could have done a bit better? Because despite the advertising and marketing industry being packed to the brim of big personalities who hold our creative community to a high standard, every year there are inevitably a handful of ads which miss the mark.

Red & Yellow Creative School of Business is now turning the lens inwards to take a look at some of the not so stellar advertising that has come out over the course of 2020. These are the ads that have seemingly arbitrary hashtags; the ones that we skip over or block; and the ones that feature influencer partnerships that make no sense.

Introducing the ‘Ag Shame ;)’ Ads of the Year, a light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek campaign that reminds us to remember to laugh at ourselves every once in a while, and not take things too seriously. 

“This campaign is not about pointing fingers, but rather about learning and embracing our mistakes, and moving onwards and upwards. There cannot be a single creative or client alive that has not messed up at some point, but who has then learned from the experience and become stronger,” said Taryn van Heerden, Head of Marketing at Red & Yellow.

“As an education provider, it is important for us to embrace this as a learning experience. That’s why the campaign is not about the ads, it’s about the stories behind them,” she continues.

The nomination categories have been carefully selected by industry professionals, people who are all too familiar with these common mistakes, having done many of them themselves. Categories include:

  • The “Perfect ad for a bathroom break” category 
  • The “Most skippable YouTube ad” category
  • The “What’s that billboard for again? ” category
  • The “Best use of a random hashtag” category
  • The “Most obvious use of a paid influencer” category
  • The “Make people dance for no reason” category

“The one thing I learnt very early on in my career in advertising was to become accustomed to criticism, because bad ads happen to the best of us. This campaign is as brave and fun as the industry itself should be. It’s time for people to share their thoughts on who nailed it in 2020… or in this case, who didn’t. If the youth think they can do it better, they now know where to go to start their careers in advertising. Red & Yellow needs fresh talent, and so does the industry that we all love so dearly,” said Ahmed Tilly, Creative Consultant and judge of multiple industry awards including the Loeries, Cannes and New York Festival. 

The goal of this project is to inspire a new generation of thinkers, planners and business leaders to follow a career path within the creative industry. So, those who think they can do better, can visit to apply to join Red & Yellow Creative School of Business. Red & Yellow offers a variety of degrees, advanced diplomas and higher certificates, as well as popular online short courses and national certificates. 

In the spirit of growing new talent and paying it forward, Red & Yellow is also offering one of their highly acclaimed online short courses to the value of R16 500 to one lucky creative thinker. Go to to find out more about how you can apply for this amazing opportunity.  

The ‘Ag Shame’ ;) Ads of the Year campaign runs from 20 January to 20 February 2021. Everyone is encouraged to visit and add their thoughts on which ads made them think “Ag Shame ;)”. 


NOTES TO EDITOR: Red & Yellow School of Creative Business.

Red & Yellow Creative School of Business is a CHE-accredited private higher education institution headquartered in Cape Town, South Africa. It is an established cornerstone of the South African marketing, advertising, design and business industries, teaching its students to think creatively and equipping them with the critical commercial and 4IR skills that they need to thrive in a digital world.

Established in 1994, the Red & Yellow Creative School of Business offers degrees, advanced diplomas and certificates in marketing and commerce, digital marketing, user-centred design, graphic design and art direction, copywriting, digital content creation, as well as business and corporate offerings. The school also offers a range of popular online short courses and national certificates, and its highly-regarded corporate training team works with some of Africa’s most well-known companies to deliver innovative, customised programmes focused around 21st century skills. 

Red & Yellow has deep, longstanding ties with industry and works with leading brands and agencies throughout Africa to ensure its students and alumni are always world-class and work-ready. Its students are regular nominees and winners at local and international awards ceremonies, including the Loeries, Pendorings and D&ADs. 

The school’s alumni include business leaders who have achieved remarkable career success, across the continent and internationally, such as Jason Harrison and Faheem Chaudry of M&C Saatchi Abel; Veli Ngubane at Avatar; Dorcas Onyango at Coca Cola; and Steph van Niekerk at Grey JHB, ranked as South Africa’s No. 1 Creative Director and No. 1 Copywriter in 2019.

In addition, Red & Yellow is a member of Honoris United Universities, the pan-African private higher education network focused on educating the next generation of African leaders and entrepreneurs with industry-ready skills. 

For more information, please visit