NEW YORK (MainStreet) — By now most of us know about the remarkable business card of Cheng Guangbiao, a Chinese billionaire who made the news recently for his unsuccessful offer to purchase the New York Times. For anyone who hasn't seen it yet, take a look here. It's a remarkable piece of work caught somewhere between performance art and outright lunacy. Next to his contact information and corporate details, the card also proudly introduces Guangbiao as "China Moral Leader," an earthquake rescue hero and one of the county's top ten most honorable volunteers.
It's probably for the best that Guangbiao failed to purchase the Times since, among other goals, he'd vowed reforms to the paper's excellent coverage of China. Still, in honor of Guangbiao's marvelous train wreck of a business card we here at MainStreet decided to go out and find some of the worst and weirdest business cards on the rest of the Internet. Here are our top results.
Jokes aside about starting off this list with a bang, the condom card is the result of a Romanian advertising agency trying to help a local divorce lawyer get an edge on the competition.
This business card has everything a businessman could want: suggestive placement, lurid colors and of course silhouettes of prospective clients in a variety of suggestive poses. Of course, that only really works when the business in question is pornography. For everyone else, allow me to suggest a simple rule of thumb: NSFW should not apply to your card.
I started off thinking this card was obnoxious. Then I decided it's kind of a little sad. Then I realized it's infuriating, because in less time than it took to read this sentence, it stuck Carly Rae Jepsen's anthem to teen indecision ponging around in my skull.
It won't go away, and I blame, you Mr. Italian Guy.
Look, my track record with women gets described charitably as "a cautionary tale," so ordinarily I'm not the best one to give out advice on meeting the fairer sex. Yet even I know that step one of meeting a girl is mustering up the courage to talk to her. Do not ask her out via note, and do not deliver your unsolicited number, risk rejection and actually ask for hers.
Above all else, though, and I can't believe I actually have to say this, do not quote teen pop lyrics when trying to meet women.
I have no words.
The Bad Parking Card
Bad parking often inspires muttered threats of violence, typically after passing two spaces gobbled up inconsiderately by a single vehicle. For sane people, that's where it ends. You drive by, mutter imprecations under your breath until another spot opens up, then park the car and head off to plot dark things for the slowest person in line at the Starbucks.
Into this void steps the hero we need, not the hero anybody in his right mind should want. The You Suck At Parking cards not only let you insult total strangers (in the comfort of total anonymity of course, because who'd want to take credit for this), but they also let you threaten this human being you've never met. Because petty, anonymous malice always makes everyone's day a little bit better.
Not to be outdone, last September Kickstarter funded the Nice Parking Job business cards, a slightly less violent stab at accomplishing the exact same thing: passive aggressively pissing off strangers. I suppose everyone needs a hobby.
I get the impulse to design a business card with a bit of flair, and putting in a little something special can really bring a card to life. There has to be a limit, though, and I think we just found it.
This doctor's inflatable business card (useful for parties, open houses and the inevitable collapsed lung) fails two of the most basic elements for a useful card: you cannot store it and no information is readily accessible. Balloons don't fit easily inside any wallet, even flat, and I'd much rather find a new doctor than inflate the whole thing every time I want to make an appointment.
Of course, since these business cards belong to an asthma and allergy center, odds are I'd need care long before I got it blown up anyway. So perhaps the system works. One way or another I'll wind up with a doctor.
Quick question: what's worse than handing out a bunch of balloons to asthma patients? If you answered "targeting business cards for liquor home delivery to alcoholics" then congratulations, you're both an accurate and profoundly disturbed individual.
My faith in humanity and I want to believe that this card is not real. The picture, of course, argues otherwise.
The best that can be said of this clearly foreign business card is that perhaps it represents a mistake of translation, by somebody who misunderstood "alcoholic" to mean "someone who drinks a lot." If so, I take back my objections. Until I know better, though, it remains on the list.
On the front I have no idea what's going on with this business card. There's a dog who might not particularly like me, or maybe he does. I can't properly tell. There's something involving black shadows -- that much the card makes very clear both linguistically and visually. Not understanding "Cane Corso," I'll put on me; evidently it's a breed of Italian hunting dog, so we can assume that if I had this business' card I'd know that.
Still, the cluttered, vaguely menacing front of this card doesn't stand out so much as the reverse which contains a long, light-on-dark tribute to the owner's former Mastino war dog. (There we go again with the menace.)
I don't criticize this couple's decision to memorialize the dog. The word "pet" is far too loose a term for an animal that becomes family in every meaningful way. Taking the back of your business card to write a loving tribute to your dead friend however? I'd feel less like a customer than the potential member of a cult.
I think I love this card most of all. This multimedia producer has created a card filled with wonderful moments, from the RAPBOT label on his own tech'd out face to the random shining sports car on back. Why does a media producer need a sports car on the back of his business cards? These are the kinds of questions you don't need to answer when you have what appears to be a laser targeting scope on your forehead.
Still, at a certain point, you can't argue with results. Part of the point of a business card is to keep people talking and, well, here we are. Well played, Mr. Rapbot.
The Legal Eagle Card
We round out our list with a tip of the hat to my old profession: a final entry courtesy of the lawyers in the bunch.
The back of this criminal defense attorney's card looks like something a terrified law student would vomit out after getting picked up for publicly indecent acts. On the balance, it's a good crib sheet for someone who needs to know his rights right now. You know what it's not good for? Its intended purpose. Unfortunately, for anyone besotted and sorry enough to rely on this card, simply handing a slip of paper over to the arresting officer will automatically trigger... nothing.
If you knowingly invoke any of the rights listed on this card, of course they immediately apply. You know what you don't need if you've got the presence of mind to invoke anything though? A "Dear Officer" card.
—Written for MainStreet by Eric Reed, a freelance journalist who writes frequently on the subjects of career and travel. You can read more of his work at his website www.wanderinglawyer.com.