Guerilla and social media marking campaigns all dream of going viral – a la Old Spice Man on a Horse – but some advertising really strikes out. Below is a look at two particularly bad unfortunate ad campaigns that resulted in more bad press than good. Let this be a lesson that for every Old Spice man on a horse, there is also an Aqua Teen Hunger Force bomb scare.

Mafia Wars: Leading to Wars with City Hall

 No more than a few weeks ago, the video game maker Zynga was advertising for its Mafia Wars Las Vegas expansion pack.  Allegedly, this company authorized an ad agency to plant fake $25,000 bills on the sidewalks of San Francisco.  The plan was for pedestrians to pick up said bills, and find the address of the Mafia Wars website, where they could get information on Mafia Wars: Las Vegas. However, the City of San Francisco did not take the marketing tactic very well – and reported that the cleanup effort was of great expense to the city.  The San Francisco’s city attorney’s office is now officially investigating the incident.

“The Last Exorcism” and Chatroulette: Two iffy things that did not go great together

 Everyone’s favorite random video chat website Chatroulete was seemingly the perfect medium on which to promote the Lionsgate horror film The Last Exorcism.  Its complete anonymity lents itself well to beginning short-lived interactions with strangers.

Playing off of this random notion, the marketing team behind The Last Exorcism decided to show a taped video to those connecting to it on the Chatroulette .  Subsequently, they released a video on their YouTube channel showing the “best of” reactions of those watching the exorcism video. In the clip, a female begins gesturing to remove her clothing, when suddenly her eyes roll back and she screams into the camera before the screen goes black. Meanwhile, the viewer is expected to look at the reactions on the male’s faces – which show notable distress.

While the Chatroulette “social experiment” service is currently down, the videos were released as part of a marketing campaign to drum up excitement for the movie. However, this is not the first YouTube video in this movie’s marketing mix. A few weeks ago, a website called Church of Saint Marks appeared online with supposed “information” on exorcism. Meanwhile, the site actually featured one of the main characters from the movie, Reverend Cotton Marcus of the fictional Saint Marks Church.