Gone are the days of the good ol’ door-to-door salesman. Today, in a world full of distractions, advertising agencies are constantly struggling to hold their customer’s attention. Some try the traditional method of offering coupons and discounts, while others come up with innovative marketing campaigns and commercials to go viral. With the latter though, there’s always a risk of it backfiring spectacularly.
Today, we’ve compiled a list of just that. Here are some of the most bizarre commercials we’ve ever seen, which make you question, “What did I just watch?”
1) Animatronic Humpty Dumpty
Selling chocolates to children should be one of the easiest and simplest things in the world. So we have no idea why the folks at Ferrero commissioned this back in 1983. Starring in the ad for the Kinder Surprise Eggs is Humpty Dumpty, but it’s not the cute thing we’ve seen in the kid’s poem. What we got instead was an animatronic Humpty made out of human flesh and limbs; we are sure this one gave families a lot of nightmares back then.
2) The Banana Man
There’s a whole different list of weird Japanese commercials we’d like to make someday. For today, the one which takes the cake is this ad from Dole. The commercial starts with a man — we assume he is made out of bananas (cue banana hands, ears, and a little moustache) — who fights gangsters and cheers up sad-looking women by shooting bananas out of his nose. Maybe he’s the hero we deserve, but not the one we need right now.
3) Levi’s Hamster
There’s an unwritten rule that you never kill an innocent animal on screen. We think Levi’s, however, never got the memo. In this strange 1998 ad, Levi’s wanted to emphasize its originality, so they told the story of Kevin, a hamster who grew bored of his cage and then died. Now, what does this have to do with selling jeans? We’re wondering that ourselves.
4) Little Baby’s Ice Cream
Remember the Pale Man from Pan’s Labyrinth? What if he was staring directly into the camera, while a voiceover inspired by American Psycho plays in the background? No, this wasn’t some art-house experimental film, instead, it’s meant to be a harmeless ice cream commercial.
Back in 2011, Little Baby’s Ice Cream released a small batch of specialty ice cream. And to promote it, they took the help of art-house filmmaker Doug Garth Williams. He thought the best idea to do this was to make a ad that has a humanoid creature made of white “ice cream,” eating the contents of its own head using a spoon. Why? Let us know if you figure it out.
5) Ontario’s WSIB
If you thought the ice-cream man commercial was disturbing, how about a montage of Final Destination presented in the form of PSAs? Or at least that’s what Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board thought was the best way to promote workplace safety. Credit where credit is due though, unlike most of the entries on our list, this one at least did its job.
6) Alinamin V
Did you think we were done with Japanese commercials? Back in the ’80s, many Hollywood stars flocked to Japan to make some extra bucks. The only catch here was you had to feature in some of the bizarre commercials ever put to film. One of the most iconic ones involves includes this ad where a bottle of energy drink transforms into a scantily clad woman, before the Arnold Schwarzenegger bursts from her head, laughing maniacally. No, we’re not making this up.
7) Hyundai’s Hydrogen Car
Back in 2012, Hyundai launched its first commercially available hydrogen-powered car, the ix35. But instead of focusing on the technology, the Korean brand went for pure bizarre and disturbing. (Trigger Warning) The commercial featured a man attempting suicide via inhaling the exhaust fumes from the car but he fails. Why? Because the ix35 produces water vapour instead of dangerous gases.