30 Freakiest Ads of 2009 | Adweek 30 Freakiest Ads of 2009 | Adweek
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The 30 Freakiest Ads of 2009 Roller-skating babies, Hitler, 9/11 exploitation, rat poison and more

It's the most wonderful time of the year—time to look back at the oddest, creepiest, quirkiest and downright freakiest ads that we covered on AdFreak this year. We've selected 30 spots from all over the world that truly left us with that not-peaceful, uneasy feeling. The majority are PSAs—their freaky means apparently justified by humanitarian ends. The list is also heavy on the U.K., another reminder that we can always count on the English (and the Welsh) for a solid dose of depravity. So, here's to the freakiest of 2009, and more of the same in 2010.


White Castle30

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"Exotic Dancer"
Zimmerman, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Click to view. Mmm, White Castle pulled-pork sandwiches. Just what you crave after watching a female pig dancing suggestively on a stage and then pulling a lever that douses her in an explosion of tangy barbecue sauce.

Dentyne Ice29

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"Squid"
McCann Erickson, Bangkok, Thailand
Click to view. This unsettling spot has it all: a cheating husband, a jealous wife and a giant, horrible squid. The sea beast represents the man's sushi-breath from a secret after-work dinner. The wife smells it when he gets home and flies into a rage. So, the man pops a Dentyne Ice and, with more anger than seems appropriate, breathes a big "Ahhhhh" into the woman's face. Weird.

Lay's28

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"Happy"
Juniper Park, Toronto, Canada
Click to view. With its catchy song and playful attitude, this Lay's spot seems harmless enough. Until the end, when our hero gives up the struggle to remain a human being and becomes a mindless dancing balloon like everyone else.

Diesel helmets27

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"Quique the Head"
Shackleton, Madrid, Spain
Click to view. Freaky in a fun way, this Diesel video tells the poignant tale of Quique the Head, an Argentinean man born without a body but with plenty of hope and attitude—and a Diesel helmet that protects him when he rolls off tables and down stairs. The tabloid-style announcer outdoes himself with lines like: "Quique's head is not only full of strangely arranged organs, it's also full of dreams." How true.

McDonald's26

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"Are We There Yet?"
DDB, Stockholm, Sweden
Click to view. DDB Stockholm remained king of the weird McDonald's commercials with this spot, in which the prototypical childhood car-trip question takes on a sinister aspect.

New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation25

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"Blob"
Colenso BBDO, Auckland, New Zealand
Click to view. An expanding, grody pink blob takes over a suburban home and eventually smashes through the windows in this breast-cancer awareness spot.

Palm24

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"Déjà Vu"
Modernista!, Boston
Click to view. Actress Tamara Hope creeped out plenty of viewers with her ghostly turn in this Palm campaign. Luckily, she's trapped on a rock and worshipped by a dancing orange cult, and can't come hunting for you.

Tabasco23

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"Singing Pepperonis"
TracyLocke, Dallas
Click to view. If you put Tabasco sauce on pizza, you're in for a real treat, as small faces will erupt from the pieces of pepperoni and sing for you like a barbershop quartet. Bizarre entertainment right on your dining-room table.

PlaneStupid.com22

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"Polar Bears"
Mother, London, U.K.
Click to view. Polar bears fall from the sky to splattery deaths in this PSA, which tries to make some point about airplane emissions. For extra discomfort, how about a blatant 9/11 Falling Man reference?

Apoliva21

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"Seasons"
Forsman & Bodenfors, Gothenburg, Sweden
Click to view. Sure, this spot for Apoliva personal-care products was a little eerie. But Swedish people lost their minds over it. More than 100,000 people joined a Facebook group called "I am scared of the girl in the Apoliva commercial." A rep for the company told a Swedish newspaper: "We definitely weren't prepared for this reaction. It was never our intention to scare people."

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AdFreak is your daily blog of the best and worst of creativity in advertising, media, marketing and design. Follow us as we celebrate (and skewer) the latest, greatest, quirkiest and freakiest commercials, promos, trailers, posters, billboards, logos and package designs around. Edited by Adweek's Tim Nudd. Updated every weekday, with a weekly recap on Saturdays.

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